Chief Ambulance Officer attends Festival of Remembrance

Guernsey’s Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Mapp had the honour of being part in the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall at the weekend.

It was the first time that a Chief Officer from St John Ambulance Guernsey had been asked to represent the wider emergency services of the British Isles in the Muster.

Mark Mapp said: “It is a rare opportunity to be invited to be part of such a prestigious national event. It was an absolute honour to represent the national ambulance service as well as and St John at such a special occasion.”

Reflecting on the visit to London he added: “The weekend has been an emotional roller-coaster. There were tears, there was sorrow, there were moments of remembrance and reflection mixed with moments of joy and almost disbelief that I was part of such significant event.”

The annual Royal British Legion event which was attended by Her Majesty the Queen and other members of the Royal Family and watched by millions of people on the BBC, remembered significant anniversaries, including the centenary of the secret services, the Berlin Airlift, the D-Day landing and other conflicts of 1944.“Listening to stories from veterans of past conflicts and more recent campaigns was extremely moving.I was especially touched by the story of Private Jeff Doherty who was killed a few days after his 20th birthday by a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.”

The Festival of Remembrance featured military bands, a performance from the Chelsea Pensionsers and musicians including James Blunt, Leona Lewis and Jeff Goldblum.

Meanwhile representatives from St John also placed wreaths at the Smith Street War Memorial in St Peter Port during the Bailiwick Act of Remembrance on Sunday. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the emergency ambulance service by Senior Officers Dave Welbourne and Steve Ford, while Alan Stevens and Joshua Blanchard represented the charity’s volunteer and youth sections.

The St John standard bearer was Tanya Goubert, with Guernsey’s Deputy Chief Ambulance Officer Dean de la Mare carrying the ambulance service colours.

For the first time, large poppies were also displayed on the front of some of Guernsey’s ambulances. Two vehicles from the emergency ambulance service and one voluntary vehicle have been decorated with the emblem of remembrance. St John would like to thank Dowding Signs for supplying the poppies for the vehicles.