Guernsey joins national St John Day events in London.

Representatives from St John Ambulance Guernsey have been in London to take part in a series of events to mark St John Day.

Andrew Henton, the Knight Commander, David Hodgetts, SJAG Board member and Nikki Harrison, the Chief Operating Officer of St John in Guernsey were accompanied by volunteers Jackie Pattimore and Darryl Bye.

The Guernsey guests took part in the national Service of Commemoration and Rededication at St Paul’s Cathedral which was attended by the Lord Mayor of London, Lord Prior, Prior of St John and almost two thousand guests representing St John branches across England, the Islands and internationally.

On Saturday the Guernsey members also took part activities and demonstrations in London’s Paternoster Square, where the public were able to learn life-saving first aid skills. There was also a display of modern and historic ambulances which included an appearance of St John’s 1929 Model ‘A’ Ford vehicle.

The London visit also coincided with the annual general assembly of the Priory of St John, which the Guernsey representatives were invited to attend. The 2019 St John Day had extra significance this year with the launch of a new strategy for the future direction of organisation, which was presented to stakeholders by the Chief Executive, Martin Houghton-Brown at an event at Mansion House in the presence of the Lord Mayor of London.

The new national strategy will see the organisation reaching more communities and helping to meet the health challenges of this generation. There are also plans to pioneer a young responder programme and helping thousands of young people play an active role in the health of their communities. Mental health will also become part of first aid training and the charity will continue to develop its role as the nation’s ambulance auxiliary.

The trip also gave the Knight Commander and Chief Operating Officer the opportunity to meet with key figures from St John.

Chief Operating Officer Nikki Harrison said: “The St John Day events were not only a lively celebration of the fantastic work of St John, but also a good reminder to us that we are part of an international organisation working to improve the lives of others. The trip gave us the opportunity to meet with key figures from the Priory of St John and update them on future growth of the charity in Guernsey and hear about the wider strategy going forward, which Guernsey will play an import role in delivering locally.”

Volunteer Jackie Pattimore added: “It was amazing to learn more about St John’s past and hear about the future strategy and how we are moving forward. The atmosphere in St Paul’s Cathedral was amazing too with so many members from across England and the Islands coming together, but the best bit was the praise we got from people at the Priory about the work we are doing in Guernsey. We were very humbled”.

St John’s Day is held on the nearest Saturday to 24 June each year, a date that marks the birth of St John the Baptist.