First aid at Europes biggest fair
The Hoppings, Europe's biggest travelling
funfair is on Newcastle Town Moor from June 20-28 and is
world famous for its big rides and traditional
fairground attractions and come rain or shine thousands of people
go along each day.
Amongst those crowds keeping a reassuring eye on everyone's
wellbeing are the dedicated team of volunteers
from St John Ambulance Northumbria, who turn out year after year to
keep fair goers safe with their first aid
It's one of the biggest first aid duties undertaken by
Northumbria each year, and in 2008 there will be a constant
presence of 12 first aiders on duty for the whole time that the
fair is open, working on a rota system to cover the 30-acre
The operations co-ordinator and assistant commissioner for St
John Northumbria, John Purvis, has worked closely with the police
and fair organisers to organise the coverage, in a partnership that
goes back many years.
He said: 'We've had everything you would expect and plenty of
things you wouldn't at the Hoppings over the years – not least the
weather which has brought sunburn or, like last year, bumps,
sprains and bruises from falling over in the mud and rain.
'Safety is the main consideration of everyone involved with the
event and we all want it to go smoothly, ensuring each person
attending has a great time and enjoys the atmosphere. But when you
get that number of people gathered in one place it's sheer
probability that someone will hurt themselves or be taken ill, and
that's why we are there, trained to deal with the first stages of
A St John Ambulance volunteer will be in the Hoppings control
room the whole time, working alongside the police and stewards. St
John first aiders will also man a high visibility medical post on
site close to the main entrance, while even more volunteers cover
the site on foot to make sure nothing is missed.
Mr Purvis said the training undergone by all St John volunteers
was rigorous and detailed, adding: 'All of our volunteers are
highly experienced first aiders and this is vital because you never
know what to expect with crowds of this size.
'The weather could give us either a dustbowl or a mudbath and
the casualties we deal with vary just as much – from cuts and
grazes to heart attacks and broken bones.'
The Hoppings is one of Newcastle's most popular annual events
and has been held in the last week of June since 1882.