Volunteer is work of art
On Tuesday 14 July St John Ambulance
Hertfordshire member, Alan Popplewell, will become a
walking, talking work of art, by stepping onto the
fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, and demonstrating first
aid to the crowd, as part of Antony Gormley’s ‘One and Other’
The fourth plinth
The so-called ‘empty plinth’
has been as such ever since it was built in 1841 by Sir Charles
Barry who intended to display an equestrian statue on top of it
before funds ran out and the statue could not be completed.
Finally, nearly 170 years on, the plinth is about
to be turned into an exciting artistic experiment.
For 100 days from 6 July, 24 hours a day,
without a break, one person every hour will have the opportunity to
make the plinth their own and Alan has jumped at this as an
opportunity to demonstrate the importance of first aid and the work
of St John Ambulance to the public. Alan’s moment in the spotlight
is at 11am on Tuesday 14 July and everyone is encouraged to join
him and learn.
‘It’s members like Alan, who go the extra step, who are what St John Ambulance is all about.’
CEO SJA Hertfordshire
Demonstrating to the masses
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 need for such skills
nationwide. Those taking part in the ‘One and Other’ project
can take whatever they can carry up onto the plinth and Alan will
be using his chance to demonstrate the cardio-pulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) technique.
‘When I first read details of the plinth
project I was excited by Antony Gormley’s vision to explore the
idea of Britishness,’ said Alan.
‘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. I’ve enjoyed every moment of that time and welcome this
opportunity to try to convey my enthusiasm to a wider audience,
while hopefully sharing some useful information on basic first aid
and life-saving techniques.’
Initiated by the sculptor most famous
for the Angel of the North, the project is ambitious to
say the least. Applicants were invited to apply from all over the
country and will be represented proportionally having been chosen
by region. Alan is among one of the lucky 334 from the South East
of England to be taking part.
The importance of volunteers
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 and Other’ will be screened live, 24
hours a day on Sky Arts online, and on the One and Other