Two dedicated volunteers from the St John Ambulance Guernsey charity and two long serving paramedics from the Emergency Ambulance Service have been admitted into the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.
Paramedic Officer Andy Adam is appointed as an Officer of the Order of St John. Volunteers Josie Guille and Liz Johnson are appointed as Members of the Order, along with former Paramedic Tutor Graham Le Maitre. The appointments were sanctioned by the Sovereign Head of the Order, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Josie Guille, a former Head of Youth, started volunteering with St John in 1989 when her daughter wanted to join Badgers. She went on to become Superintendent of the Phoenix Division and Treasurer of the Parents and Friends Group, which raised thousands of pounds in funds for the youth sections. Josie is now a member of the St John Voluntary Ambulance Reserves and an active volunteer event first aider.
Josie said: “I feel really honoured and surprised. It has been quite hard not to say anything to people before it was announced. I have put in a lot of hours over the years, but the reward is seeing young people progress through Badgers and Cadets. A lot of them have in fact gone on to be nurses, work in healthcare or become paramedics. To me that is the reward.”
Like Josie, Liz Johnson also got involved after her children saw a poster for Badgers. “At the time there was a waiting list because St John didn’t have enough adult leaders, so I started helping out – just for a few weeks. That was fifteen years ago and I didn’t expect to still be here fifteen years later,” Liz explained.
“I feel honoured, surprised and humbled by the appointment. I really enjoy my time with St John. It is lovely seeing the children grow and develop. It gives me a sense of satisfaction helping the community like this”, she added.
Graham Le Maitre, retired from the Emergency Ambulance Service, as Guernsey’s longest serving paramedic earlier this year after 39 years in the job. He joined ‘Ambulance and Rescue’ in 1981, having previously been a member of the St John Juniors as a child. As a teenager he took part in first aid competitions and after a short career as a radio engineer realised his dream of working on the ambulances. Graham served on the cliff and inshore rescue team and also worked for St John Training Services, a role he has continued since retirement. Graham has trained thousands of islanders in life saving first aid skills over the years.
Graham said: “I was very surprised when the letter from St John dropped through the letter box and I opened it to find out that I had been invited to become a member of the Order. I have to say it was quite a humbling moment. It also was a great pleasure to find out also that long time St John friend Andy Adam was also honoured with the award of Officer of the Order”.
Paramedic Station Officer Andy Adam also has a long history with St John, having been a junior member as a child and then an adult volunteer first aider. He joined the professional ambulance service in 1985, initially with the Patient Transfer Service. Andy was a Principle Instructor of the cliff rescue team and led the training of other team members as well as being involved in many challenging rescues. He is now responsible for Major Incident training and co-ordinating and training the Volunteer Reserve who support the operations of the Emergency Ambulance Service when faced with severe demand.
Andy said: “At a young age I started out in the St John Cadets competing and winning the National Finals. This prompted me to make a career change and paved the way to a diverse and interesting career with the St John Ambulance and Rescue Service. It has instilled a passion for helping others and I feel that I’ve made a difference to people’s lives, whether that be through attending patients or training the voluntary ambulance reserve. I have been lucky to enjoy the camaraderie of an extended family during my 35 years service and feel honoured and proud to be awarded and appointed as an Officer of the Order of St. John.”
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem – commonly known as the Order of St John – has its roots in a hospice in Jerusalem in the 11th century. Today the international charity provides health care and support in more than forty countries through a dedicated team of around 250,000 volunteers and staff.
An individual can be admitted to the order for outstanding service to St John in recognition of achievement, notable or selfless service or inspiration and encouragement to others. There are five Grades of membership Member, Officer, Commander, Knight or Dame and Bailiff or Dame Grand Cross.
St John Ambulance Guernsey CEO Nikki Harrison said: “We are very lucky to have such dedicated unpaid volunteers like Josie and Liz. They have dedicated hours of their own time to support the youth activities of St John and the wider aspects of the charity. They are inspiration to others.”
Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Mapp said: “I have had the honour of working alongside both Andy and Graham. They have given a huge part of their lives to the service of our community through their work with the Emergency Ambulance Service. They have both been a great asset to St John, inspiring many volunteers and professionals and truly deserve this recognition.”