St John volunteers ready for Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival

One of the biggest events on the Gloucestershire calendar has come about once more and St John Ambulance volunteers are gearing up to be there. Some of the best jump racing in the world happens each March at the Cheltenham racecourse when the Gold Cup comes to town.

Over the course of the week from 11-17 March the best jockeys compete in 25 races over the course of these action packed 4 days. This hugely popular community event attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year – including many international racing enthusiasts.

We are never short of volunteers to staff the first aid points and ambulances at the festival as there is a great atmosphere and it is a really fun duty to cover.

Andy Cumming
Operations Manager for St John Gloucestershire

New this year will be an additional ambulance on the course to provide first aid cover to the members of the public who watch from the course on the inside of the track.

'We plan our presence carefully so we can offer a quick response to any incident, anywhere on the racecourse – whether that's an injured jockey or racing fan,' said Andy Cumming, Operations Manager for St John Ambulance Gloucestershire.

'The additional ambulance will help us to spread our teams evenly across the ground and the cycle responders are very useful members of the team because they can get promptly to areas where perhaps a land ambulance could not reach because of the crowds.'

In 2004 St John Ambulance volunteers treated a whopping 982 casualties for everything from cuts and bruises to cardiac arrest. In the years since then several hundred more race day fans have been treated by St John first aiders and trained emergency response volunteers.

As the population of the community inflates so drastically, St John Ambulance's assistance to Great Western Ambulance Services is vital for making events like this happen.

For more information on the Cheltenham Gold Cup visit the official race page at And for more on St John Gloucestershire and their role in this great event contact Heather Ferneyhough by email or at 01452 858224.