Basingstoke first aiders

Pat Bethal receives award

Basingstoke's St John Ambulance first aiders have been honoured for their astonishing voluntary service.

Awards ceremony

Pat Bethel, from Basingstoke, who now runs the Youth section of St John Ambulance Hampshire, volunteered for a total of 2000 hours last year.

Mrs Bethel, who is a midwife, volunteered for 40 hours a week – the equivalent of a full time job. She joined the charity 17 years ago when her daughter Dawn became a cadet.

Our aim as a charity is to make the difference between lives lost and lives saved.

Pat Morris
Commander, St John Ambulance

Dawn now runs the children's Badger and Cadet groups in the town and her son Reece is the county's deputy Badger of the Year.

Dame Mary Fagan, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, presented the awards.

Stalwart Basingstoke volunteer David Smith was also honoured for devoting 70 years to the charity – he joined in 1940 at the age of 19.

Mr Smith, who was unable to attend the ceremony, has been a loyal and conscientious member of St John Ambulance. He commands deep affection and respect from fellow members – indeed they say it is a privilege to know him and work with him.

He has seen many changes – not least the Basingstoke headquarters.  He has helped the division move four times – starting out at the Methodist Church Hall in Lower Church Street, then to Victoria Street followed by May Place and finally to Knights Park Road five years ago.

Other local members honoured were Julie Matthews, from Oakley, for 12 years service. Natalie and Matthew Hilton, also from Oakley, received certificates for providing support during the severe winter months.

Commander of St John Ambulance, Pat Morris, paid tribute: 'Our aim as a charity is to make the difference between lives lost and lives saved.

'Our dedicated volunteers, do make the difference to people's lives.'

Last year, St John volunteers in Hampshire gave over 180,000 hours to the charity.