I have been a member of St John Cymru-Wales for 20 years now. I started in 1998, when CPR was taught to the song “Nelly the Elephant" and there were just 15 compressions.... times have changed!
I have had many experiences over those 20 years, from national camps in Pembroke to meeting Warren Gatland in 2018. One of the highlights was being invited to meet Princess Anne in Buckingham Palace in 2009.
It was one of the earliest times I went to 'The Big Smoke' (London) on my own, in my black and white Number One uniform.
I travelled by train from Newport with another member from St John Cymru Ystradgynlais. We made our way to a building, where we all gathered, before marching to Buckingham Palace. During that time, we were grouped together and practiced how to bow and curtsey.
I believe we had to practice bowing or curtsying to Marion Powell and Mike McClay which was certainly a novel experience. We were eventually marched round to the palace and lined up outside the iconic iron gates. We were lined up in ranks of two to march across the forecourt of the palace.
When we entered the palace, I just remember thinking the doors were ridiculously big, from floor to ceiling in height. Meeting Princess Anne herself was quite surreal, talking about our volunteering experiences at the organisation. We were even lucky enough to be fed by the palace kitchens too which, was amazing.
If I hadn’t been a volunteer for St John Cymru I would never have had that opportunity. It’s something I will never forget. St John is now a huge part of my life! I volunteer for them in my spare time as well as working for the organisation. I wouldn’t have it any other way.