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The Museum of the Order of St John secures funding to commemorate First World War volunteers

Surgical Ward

To mark the 100th anniversary of Britain entering the First World War, today the Museum of the Order of St John has received £69,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project which will tell the amazing story of Veronica Nisbet, a St John Ambulance volunteer.

Commemorating Veronica’s story

As a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse at the St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital in Étaples, northern France, Veronica Nisbet was one of 45,000 St John volunteers who worked to save soldierslives during the First World War.

To honour their brave work, the Museum of the Order of St John will retell Veronica’s moving testimony in a digital format. This will help bring to life what it was like working in a theatre of war and highlight the importance of our work in the past, as much as our work today.

Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: "The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaped every corner of the UK and beyond. The Heritage Lottery Fund has already invested more than £57 million in projects marking this Centenary".

Hannah Agass, Learning and Access Officer at the Museum, said: "We're delighted to have received this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will enable us to commemorate the work of thousands of St John men and women who offered their support to the armed services".

Exploring our wartime heritage

Working in collaboration with staff at the Museum, our St John Ambulance Cadets (10 to 18-year-olds) will learn new skills as they explore the wartime legacy of the charity they volunteer for and create an interactive learning resource based upon Veronica’s memories.

The resource will be completed in September 2015, the 100th anniversary of the first group of patients arriving at the Hospital in Étaples, to be available in the museum as well as online.

The generous funding will also enable the museum to increase public access to the fascinating First World War materials in its St John Archive, including diaries, photographs and official correspondence.

Sue Bowers said, "Volunteers taking part in this project will have the unique opportunity to see the conflict through the eyes of their wartime counterparts and create a digital legacy to preserve their memories".