Thousands of young people across the country volunteer for their local St. John Ambulance group. We spoke to two young people who volunteer in Nottingham.

James Tiisler, of Loughborough started volunteering for St John ambulance seven years ago and has attended many events at the Nottingham Forest ground and the Motorpoint Arena.

James said that he finds volunteering to be very rewarding but he often sees the negative effects of drugs and alcohol.

He said: “I sometimes get to see the state some people can get themselves in because of excess intoxication by alcohol and drugs, which can lead to some unsightly outcomes.

“I have also had to deal with gruesome wounds and some nasty-looking dislocations.

“In one situation a man had dislocated his ankle and it was quite clearly deformed so we gave him some pain relief and called an ambulance.”

He said that the feelings that he would get while helping a patient were very strong and explained that something just takes over.

He said: “At the time, while you’re in ‘the zone’, it can be a mix of adrenaline and some anxiety but afterwards you look back and feel really proud that you’ve been able to help them and get them the appropriate care they needed as quickly as possible.

“I feel most proud when I’m at an event stood in view, often at the front watching the crowd, and then also when I am responding to a patient.

The Loughborough local stated that he would often see situations where people would become aggressive towards staff.

“I have been involved where patients have become upset or aggressive towards staff but haven’t received any direct abuse.”

When asked what he would like to do in the future he said: “I plan to start with the local ambulance service in the near future and continue volunteering at events with St. John Ambulance.”

Photograph by Abbigail Cross
Photograph by Abbigail Cross

Abbigail Cross, now aged 20, started volunteering for the St. John Ambulance Cadets when she was only 13 years old.

She said: “On a normal event day she would go and sign in and then the cadets would be split into groups with one radio per group.

“The small teams would then watch over the crowds, looking through the masses, to make sure everything is going according to plan.”

Abbigail’s father took over the Hucknall branch of St. John ambulance in 2011 and he suggested that she should give volunteering a try.

Abbigail said: “I started working with my dad as soon as I reached the age of 18.

“I work as a youth leader which means that I guide and develop the skills of young volunteers who help out in the Hucknall area.

“I am very proud to be able to work with my dad, doing something we both love.”

When asked what her proudest moment as a St. John volunteer was, the Hucknall resident said: “It was a big deal for me when I got a thank you letter from one of the people that I helped.

“Knowing that someone has taken the time to send a letter to the office and for it then to reach you makes you feel a great sense of achievement.”

St. John Ambulance promote the training of young people and teaching first aid in schools.

The 20-year-old said that it is quite scary that only one in ten people know how to do basic first aid.


According to the St. John Ambulance website 77 per cent of people do not know how to administer CPR and 57 per cent of people do not own a first aid manual.

She added: “It is something that doesn’t take very long to learn at all.”
“It could make a massive difference in a situation when someone needs help, it could be life or death.”

When asked why young people are important for St. John ambulance, Amir Mahmood, regional student volunteering officer in the East Midlands said: “Young people are an essential and imperative component of St John Ambulance as they will shape the future of the organisation and of first aid awareness.

“As an organisation, we passionately campaign for first aid to be included on the national school curriculum as it is a skill that can be the difference between life and death.”