Acton Volunteer Scoops Royal Order for Service with St. John Ambulance
22 years of dedicated service from Alex McBride
Local resident Alex McBride, from Acton, was invested as a member of the Order of St John at a special ceremony held in the historic Grand Priory Church in Clerkenwell, London, yesterday.
The Order of St John is a Royal Order of Chivalry and each investiture is approved by Her Majesty the Queen, its Sovereign Head. The honour of becoming a member of the Order is granted to those who have shown exceptional service to its key foundations – one of which is St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid organisation.
Up to 150,000 people die each year in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live. St John Ambulance believes no one should die because they needed first aid and didn’t get it and the work of volunteers such as Alex is crucial in being the difference between lives lost and lives saved.
Alex has been a volunteer for St John Ambulance for 22 years and was admitted to the Order as Officer Brother. He was presented with the Order’s insignia by Rodney Green, the Prior of the Priory of England and the Islands, who was appointed in the prestigious position of Prior only this month. The Prior is the Chairman of the Priory of England and The Islands (part of the Order of St John).
Alex is currently Staff Officer Operations Central at the district’s headquarters and started at the Paddington Division. He lists among his most memorable duties the funerals of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.
He was also on hand to deliver first aid assistance after the Paddington train crash and the 7/7 bombings.
He said: ‘I am so pleased. I thoroughly enjoy my work at St John Ambulance and working with the other members. I particularly enjoy the ceremonial part of my role.’
His current duties involve helping to organise military parades, including events for Anzac Day, Dunkirk Veterans and the Irish Regiment.
The Prior, Rodney Green, said: ‘I’m delighted to invest Alex into the Order of St John. He was honoured in recognition of his dedicated service to St John Ambulance, which is committed to making sure no one dies through a lack of first aid training. As one of the charity’s 40,000 volunteers, his work is integral to its work in communities across the country.’
The investiture ceremony takes place three times a year. Around a hundred people from communities across the country are invested on each occasion, the majority of whom are St John Ambulance volunteers.
The Order of St John is one of the world’s oldest charities and traces its origins back 900 years to the Knights Hospitaller and the first Hospital of St John in Jerusalem in 1078.