A Day With St John Ambulance at Cheltenham Festival

he has a good point I’m a big sports fan… massive. I generally would be happy to watch any sports. Football and boxing have got to be my two favorite but when it comes to atmosphere and excitement, horse racing really gives these two a run for their money (pun intended).

buy Maxalt from india So imagine my delight when St John Ambulance (SJA) kindly invited someone from the Wesser team to observe the final day of the Cheltenham Festival! I was dead chuffed and set about deciding which scarf to wear with my carefully put together Cheltenham attire. I arrived bright and early to the racecourse. It’s very different at that time in the morning, with the bright sun falling across the grounds and a small buzz of people arranging the final bits for the final day. I was greeted by Kevin Dickens – a Community Fundraising Coordinator, who is my main liaison with the charity in South West England – and he introduced me to Beth, an advanced First Aider who was happy to answer my hundreds of questions.

The main base where I met them was actually rebuilt not so long ago; when it was, SJA volunteers were consulted on how it should be built to such a degree the building entrance was moved 90 degrees for easier access. In this main treatment centre you would find four beds, two doctors, some nurses, a handful of paramedics, advanced first aiders and the emergency transport guys. The ambulance crew is also based out of this centre and it’s all to look after the public and staff (jockeys have a separate private treatment centre). Rick Dean, a nurse, was one of the main people to influence this and he explained that the treatment centre could treat pretty much anything except for a major trauma.

Top of the agenda of the day was the morning briefing which I felt privileged to listen in on. Straight up, you notice how jovial everyone is (considering over the next 12 hours they will be giving first aid and, possibly, saving lives). It’s good humored and jokes were in abundance. What also struck me was the ages of the volunteers, with maybe a 50 year spread from youngest to oldest. As well as the enjoyment the guys obviously get from what they do, their instructions are clear. What amazed me the most was the code words used for preparation for evacuation and if an evacuation is cancelled. I of course cannot give this confidential information away but it was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes of one of the country’s biggest sporting events.

Other privileged highlights were seeing the control centre with its banks of computers monitoring each and every face coming into the grounds. The control centre has police, ambulance, fire and three different security firms – not forgetting the mighty SJA! Also seeing what is the busiest helipad in Europe over those four days is also quite something; you actually see a mechanical bird landing every five minutes to drop off another celebrity!

The SJA Cycle Response Units have everything a normal ambulance has but on a bike! These guys impress me no end, being as fit as I could only dream of. Riding a bike with flashing lights and all the equipment to save a life.

Overall, what struck me the most though was the amount of hours given up over the four days of the Cheltenham Festival; 42 volunteers each day, giving up to 10 hours a day. That’s over 2,000 hours given up without even thinking about the preparation hours and the meetings afterwards. It’s a huge event for SJA but they handle it with the same great attitude and professionalism as any other events. These green jacketed men and women truly are heroes – on call and ready for anything from heart attacks and broken bones to infected corns and people who have drunk one to many glasses of champagne!

If I had won some money too, it would have been a perfect day, but I will settle for truly inspirational one.

 

Article by James Dennis – Snr Fundraising Campaign Coach

Why do I do this job?

So the question of the day……

Why do I do this Job?

I think it’s a question that’s asked of many in any line of work; for some it’s money, for some it’s a passion, for others it’s a belief in doing the right thing, for me it’s a combination.

I did my own first aid training at the age of 6 as it was a necessary part of me growing up with family that had disabilities and were at times in need of those skills. So, for me I have a true belief that every child should have the knowledge to save a life.

St John Ambulance are the very reason I am still alive today.  I never thought I’d be in need of first aid but nothing brings your life into more focus than nearly losing it. At the age of 22 I had the idea of getting fit and decided bike riding was the way to go, I lived in beautiful coastal North Wales so scenic routes to work and getting fit bonus. But, one serendipitous morning in April my life nearly came to an abrupt halt when my heart decided well for want of a better expression it didn’t like me very much. I count my stars everyday that those lads drove out of the depot early that day because it they hadn’t I would not be here today. If it wasn’t for the training St John provides in the workplace the man that saved my life would not have been able to do so, the St John paramedic that took me to hospital much to my disgruntled displeasure as I wanted to go to work would not have been called and the last 10 years of my life would not have happened.

For the last 2 years I’ve been a fundraiser and developed into a team leader. I’ve put my skills to use in life changing situations. I’ve provided training to others and I’d like to think I’ve saved lives. Yes I’ve raised money for an amazing charity but for several reasons: 1) It’s the right thing to do. 2) I truly believe in the cause and what we accomplish on a daily basis and 3) probably most importantly for me, without people like us St John would not be able to continue to save lives.

So why do I do this Job?  Because I’m a product of the skills, determination and necessity that is First Aid.

Everyone has a reason for things they do in life and what they let influence their paths in life. What will your legacy be?

Article by: Gill Murnane – Wesser St John Cymru Wales – Team Leader

Becoming a Fundraising Team Leader

I remember feeling like I wasn’t really ready for the Team Leader role, it took a lot of belief and support from those around to even begin to feel like I could fill those boots that seemed so big. The element that attracted me to the role was that sense of importance, knowing that you can help and guide someone to bring out the best of them not only in the workplace but also as an individual. I loved the idea of creating and building a strong team of individuals and living and working in harmony.

The training I had with Compliance and Best Practice Manager – Joey proved how my vision could be possible. It taught me so much about the admin side of becoming a Team Leader and what the role entails but most importantly elements you learn over time like positivity, ‘ask don’t tell’ approach (which by the way, is SO hard) and even how every individual learns in different ways, and how to cater to them.

Since this training, I have felt completely supported in the process of becoming a Team Leader and I have never felt alone. I know I have support from James (Snr Campaign Coach), Joey and Leanne (Fundraising Campaigns Assistant) in the office whenever I need some assistance with something I may not know or have forgotten. Team Leader is a fantastic responsibility and can provide you with great life skills and also bonuses when you and your team do well! Lead by example and they can only follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article by: Faye Lightfoot – Wesser Waltham Abbey Team Leader

 

A life-saving cold caller!

It goes without saying; there are times when knocking at people’s doors trying to gain supporters and donations can get tough. There are occasions where sometimes the rejection and comments can get to you, especially when you’ve done this job for a long time. But there is one thought that has come to my mind several times. And it’s this very thought that keeps me going despite whatever reactions I may get from day to day:

We knock around 100 doors every day, 5 days a week. We speak to around 175 people per week, and give them a First Aid Guide. What many of us may not think about is: we don’t know, and may never know how many lives WE have saved just by the act of giving that first aid guide to someone. Because, we don’t know how many of those estimated 175 people a week may actually end up reading that guide and using the information they learned to save a life. And if it wasn’t for you or me giving them that guide – that life may not have been saved.

When you think about that – it really hits home that we are not just doing a job knocking at doors and trying to get donations from people – we are all LIFE SAVERS.

So if you’re feeling low or not doing so great – just change your thoughts… you’re not going out to work – you’re going out to save lives!

Article by: Scott Morrison – Team Leader – Wesser Beckington Fundraising Team