Lessons in life saving from the fourth plinth
On Tuesday 14 July at 11am St John
Ambulance Hertfordshire member, Alan Popplewell, became a work of
art with a difference by demonstrating first aid to around
200 people from the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, as
part of Antony Gormley’s ‘One & Other’ project.
As the nation’s leading first aid provider, St John Ambulance
aims to teach as many people as possible vital first aid skills and
raise awareness of the importance of first aid nationwide.
Those taking part in the ‘One & Other’ project can take
whatever they can carry up onto the plinth and Alan chose
to take a manikin known as Resusci-anne. He used his hour in the
spotlight to demonstrate techniques such as cardio-pulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) and the recovery position.
Having been offered a place on the plinth it wasn’t difficult to decide how to use my 60 minutes in the spotlight since St John Ambulance has been an essential part of my life for over 20 years and is a quintessential part of British life.
St John Ambulance volunteer and fourth plinth volunteer
60 minutes in the spotlight
‘When I first read details of the Plinth project I was excited
by Antony Gormley’s vision to explore the idea of Britishness,’
‘Having been offered a place on the plinth it wasn’t difficult
to decide how to use my 60 minutes in the spotlight since St John
Ambulance has been an essential part of my life for over 20 years
and is a quintessential part of British life.
‘It was a fantastic experience. I wasn’t sure how many people
would be watching or paying attention but I was pleased – and a
little bit nervous - by the turnout. Hopefully I’ve helped spread
the message of the importance of first aid and everyone has learnt
something useful today. It really is a wonderful project; it’s not
every day you get to learn something practical from a work of art
and feel part of something special.’
People of all ages took part including a group of school
children from Westminster Academy and adults like Carolyn Parker
from Richmond, who was on her way to visit the National Portrait
Gallery. She said: ‘It’s a very good idea. I just thought there
would be someone standing up there like a statue but it was
participatory and he was very clear.’
Members who go the extra step
Brian Wingate, County Executive Officer of St John Ambulance
Hertfordshire said, ‘We are delighted that Alan has been selected
to take part in this exciting project. First aid is such an
essential skill and Alan’s commitment to the aims of St John
Ambulance is fantastic.
‘Sometimes people hear the word ‘volunteer’ and don’t realise
that all our volunteers are highly trained and
professional - they’re good at what they do, and
what they do is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of thousands of
people a year in their local communities,’ continued Brian.
‘It’s members like Alan, who go the extra step, who are what St
John Ambulance is all about.’
Alan has been a member of St John Ambulance for 22 years and has
been on hand to provide first aid at events ranging from concerts
at Knebworth House, and Watford Football Club matches to
national events such as the London Marathon,
Notting Hill Carnival and the Queen’s Jubilee.
‘One & Other’ will be screened live, 24 hours a day on Sky
Arts online and on the One & Other website.