Tuesday 19 March 2024: Teenager Malachi Hutchful has scooped the title of St John Ambulance’s National Cadet of the Year 2024.

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The 16-year-old from Leicestershire, who is a prefect at South Charnwood High School, was selected from 36 of the charity’s superstar Cadets - all of whom had won district competitions - to earn their place at the national final at Ingestre Hall, Staffordshire, over the weekend of 16-17 March.

The young finalists faced challenges to test not only their exemplary first aid knowledge but were also questioned about their passion for volunteering in their community, and leadership communication and teamwork skills.

Malachi, who is also an Explorer Scout and has recently completed his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award, said, “Becoming Cadet of the year is a huge achievement for me and means I can act as an ambassador for St John Ambulance, promoting the amazing work of the charity and encouraging others to become involved.”

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During 2023, more than 1,700 St John young people gave an estimated 56,500 hours of their time supporting their communities with first aid and care alongside adult volunteers.  The Cadet programme (10–17-year-olds), plays a huge role in developing the next generation of health professionals, volunteers and lifesavers.

Malachi, who hopes for an eventual career in medicine, said, “I have been a Cadet for over five years through the Hinckley Cadet unit, virtual Cadet meetings during Covid lockdowns, volunteering at events and attending training courses. I have made a wide circle of friends. I am comfortable chatting and engaging with people of all ages.”

Malachi hopes his new role will help him encourage more young people to consider volunteering with St John.

He said, “Volunteering at events has allowed me to develop an understanding of the preparation, planning and aftermath of our first aid cover. At the Leicester half marathon, I was given the opportunity to act as shadow treatment centre manager. The role gave me an insight into how to effectively run a treatment centre.”

Malachi will now represent St John Ambulance at high-profile events and ceremonial occasions.

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St John Ambulance’s Chief Commissioner, Ann Cable, Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Kal Parkash, Coventry and Warwickshire District Manager, Roy Jarratt, and National Cadet of the Year 2023, Kyle Dean-Curtis formed the panel of assessors for the National Cadet of the Year final. 

Awards were presented by Chief Commissioner, Ann Cable, Chancellor of the Priory of England and the Islands of the Order of St John, Rear Admiral Simon Williams CB CVO, and Commissioner – Youth, Kevin Munday. 

St John Ambulance Chief Commissioner, Ann Cable said: “Malachi has shown determination, wide-ranging knowledge and exceptional ability throughout this selection event and thoroughly deserves his title as National Cadet of the Year.

I’d like to congratulate him for such an impressive performance over the weekend and I look forward to seeing the positive impact he will make in the region as the voice of all the other Cadets there. Well done!” 

In addition to the National Cadet of the Year award, the Regional Cadets of the Year were also named. 

They are:  

East Midlands - Niamh O'Brien

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East of England - Hannah Perry

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London - Finn Mason 

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Northeast - Basmala Swed 

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Northwest - Jennah Miah 

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Southeast - Emily Dowsett 

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Southwest - Mollie Drakeford 

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West Midlands - Isobel Bartram StJo 144.jpg

This team of Cadets have a key role in making sure the voices of young volunteers are heard at the highest level in St John and also represent St John Ambulance at ceremonial occasions.

St John Ambulance youth programmes range from those aged 5-25 years and rely on volunteers and donations.  Ask Us how you can get involved and find out more at www.sja.org.uk.