Record year for St John helpers

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VOLUNTEERS at a first aid charity gave up more than 6,000 hours of their own time to help tend wounds at events here in Hastings and St Leonards.

The local branch of St John Ambulance smashed all previous records in 2010, with an extra 13 members helping to swell the charity’s activity to unprecedented levels. In fact, compared to 2009, the time given up by volunteers increased by 74 per cent.

The division’s delighted superintendent, Roger Burton, said: “This has been a record year for us with more events covered and more hours volunteered than ever before. Our dedicated volunteers gave up thousands of hours to caring for casualties with everything from minor injuries to life threatening medical conditions.

“On many occasions their skills were the difference between lives lost and lives saved.”

The unit’s two emergency ambulances, a familiar sight around the town, were used to provide first aid treatment to 283 patients last year.

Another 123 local people were driven, mainly to and from the Conquest, under the charity’s Patient Transport Service - which runs in tandem with the NHS and helps ferry people to hospital and doctors appointments.

And, while most of the town ground to a half, the charity’s ambulances and volunteers worked flat out during the snow crisis, responding to a host of emergencies including rushing a woman in labour to hospital.

Other call-outs the volunteers helped on included treating children who had been playing on a roof which collapsed and a patient showing signs of an imminent heart attack being taken to hospital in one of the charity’s 4x4 vehicles. Volunteers also helped provide first aid cover at a string of local events, including Hastings Bonfire and the Pride festival in nearby Brighton.

Anyone interested in joining should head along to one of the charity’s weekly meetings, which take place every Monday at 7.30pm in the ambulance station in Bohemia Road. Alternatively email adults@hastings.sja.org.uk for more information.