Schools triumph in final of national first aid competition

Schools comp junior winners 08

Pupils from Chester Park Junior School in Avon and Drayton Manor High School in London have won the Junior and Senior finals of the St John Ambulance National Schools' First Aid Competition.

The final took place at the Natural History Museum in London on Tuesday 1 July. Awards were presented by Heartbeat actor and ex-St John Ambulance youth member, Steven Blakeley.

The competition

The two four-strong teams, and their trusty reserve, steamed through the regional heats over the last few months to reach the national finals, facing competition from 10 other schools on the day. The pupils were judged on their ability to give first aid to casualties at staged, but realistic incidents, such as an asthma attack and a fall onto glass. The competition aims to help children develop life skills, work as a team, learn how to perform first aid and, ultimately, save lives.

An exciting day

Danielle Futcher, 11, from Chester Park School, was over the moon about their win: ‘It’s the best feeling ever; I can’t describe it. All the hard work has paid off.’

Senior winner, Jazzmin Arundell, 13, was equally thrilled, saying: ‘We’re just so happy. We really enjoyed the day and are thankful to everyone who organised the competition. We also really enjoyed the training. We didn’t all know each other before and we’ve all become really good friends because of the competition.’

An admirable achievement

Awards were presented by Steven Blakeley, who stars as PC Geoff Younger on ITV’s Heartbeat and was a Cadet who took part in first aid competitions himself. He said: ‘It’s really important that school children are learning first aid. I used to compete myself so I know it can be nerve-wracking and to produce the goods on the day is very admirable. All the teams have done extremely well to reach the final and I’m delighted to celebrate their success with them.’

This year 113 schools from around the country took part in the competition. All participants learned their first aid skills through the Young first aider training pack, St John Ambulance’s comprehensive first aid training course taught in schools.

Importance of first aid

Ruth Christmas, Training Officer from St John Ambulance, who organised the competition, said: ‘These young people prove that learning first aid is fun. It also improves communication skills and teamwork and helps them look after their friends or loved ones if they’re hurt. We know that several of the finalists have already been called on to put their training to good use and we’re very proud of them and everyone who has taken part.’

The winning schools collected prize money of up to £1000 to be spent on equipment for their school, and the team members also received individual plaques as prizes.

The competition will take place again next year. Find out more about courses for young people.