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St John's Regional Cadet of the Year

Anneliese Jay, an A Level student at Godalming College, has been named as St John Ambulance Regional Cadet of the Year (London and South). She took the title at a two-day contest, which saw the best of the first aid charity’s young volunteers from across the country take part in a variety of tough tasks.

The competition, held in Stafford on Saturday and Sunday (25-26 February), is designed to stretch the cadets’ abilities. It included a wide range of subjects such as communication, team work, presentation, working with the media and social skills.

With thousands of cadets across the country, the 31 competitors in the weekend’s contest had already shown a high degree of excellence and competition was fierce for the regional and national titles.

Anneliese, who joined St John Ambulance’s Guildford Cadet Unit four years ago, will now represent fellow cadets from across London and the South at public and St John Ambulance events.  

Anneliese said. “I’m delighted to have won the regional title – each year the competition seems to get tougher, so it’s a huge achievement for me. I’m looking forward to representing my region over the next year and will take every opportunity to gain as much experience as possible, whilst raising awareness of the importance of first aid.”

Anneliese is no stranger to being in the running for an award. Last year, she and her classmate and fellow cadet Freddie Horton, were shortlisted for a St John Ambulance Everyday Hero Award and also won the community award in the Surrey Super Stars Award. As students at Rodborough School at the time, they identified a need for an automated external defibrillator (AED) at the school. They pitched the idea to their headteacher, who backed the project, and they then galvanized support from their classmates. Within three months they were able to buy and install the equipment, which has been put in place at the front of the school and is available for community use too. 

Along with the AED they were also able to purchase training mannequins and other equipment sufficient to teach classes of 30 pupils at a time. The school ran first aid training sessions, during which every Year 9 pupil was taught first aid, including CPR and using a defibrillator, and all the senior school and teaching staff were taught the essential skills too. 

Jo Gardner, Regional Youth Manager, said: “First aid is an important skill for people of all ages to learn and Anneliese will act as an excellent ambassador for this message. 

“Her support will help us to encourage more young people to learn some basic life saving skills and potentially be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

St John Ambulance cadets are aged 10 to 17 and besides first aid they learn a huge range of other important life skills as they work towards their Grand Prior award – the highest award a cadet can achieve.

Subjects range from cookery and animal welfare to sports and photography. Older cadets can put their first aid and other communication skills into practice by providing first aid to the public at events or teaching first aid to other young people and adults.

St John Ambulance has over 26,000 youth volunteers in the country and believes that every young person should have the opportunity to make a real difference in their community; to speak out on what matters to them and to help others in need of support and development.

For more information on St John Ambulance, including how to make a donation, volunteering opportunities, and details of training for the public, schools and businesses, visit www.sja.org.uk  or call 08700 10 49 50.

Photograph by St John's Ambulance