National competition tests first aid skills
Two friends who met when they were St John Ambulance Cadets dazzled judges with their life savings
skills and first aid knowledge to win the St John Ambulance UK
First Aid Championship.
Darren Whitehead and Peter Connelly, of Jim Whitehead Training
in Grimethorpe, Barnsley, beat off stiff competition from
20 other teams during a series of rigorous tests
at the championships in Rugby, Warwickshire.
St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity,
hosted the 61st annual finals of the UK First Aid
Championship as a challenge to first aid teams from industry and
voluntary organisations throughout the country to demonstrate their
competence in a variety of realistic first aid
I’m really proud of them both – this is a brilliant competition and extremely well thought of.
Founder of Jim Whitehead Training
Darren and Peter impressed the judges with their cool, calm
attitude and expertise, and Darren also scooped the trophy awarded
to the best individual – a trophy presented for the first time in
1979, when the winner was Darren’s father Jim.
‘I’m really proud of them both – this is a brilliant competition
and extremely well thought of,’ said Jim, the founder of Jim
Whitehead Training, a personnel training company.
‘Being a colliery town, Grimethorpe has a long history of first
aid, and these two lads have been friends since they joined the St
John Ambulance Cadets together when they were just boys. We are all
former St John Ambulance members and have tremendous respect for
‘It was great to see Darren accept the individual trophy as
well. The first time that was ever presented, it was to me back in
1979. I went on to win it twice, and it makes me very proud that
Darren has followed in my footsteps.’
Following on the next day was the Young Grand Prior Competition.
Rachel Cull, Jodie Ainscough, Tommie Aspinall and Stef Stephens
beat off stiff competition from 29 other teams of young people aged
13 or over to take the acclaimed national first aid title.
The competition proved more popular than ever this year with
increased numbers taking part. It attracted nine young adult teams
aged 17-24 and 21 youth teams aged 13-17. They travelled from
all over the UK to take part and were put through
a series of rigorous tests at the championships in
Participants in the UK First Aid Championship were
selected from the top first aid and health and safety
personnel in their respective industries. All of them held
a Health and Safety Executive-approved first aid at work
certificate and had already won first aid competitions to qualify
for entry to the championship. The competition has a youth section
with the younger teams coming from every major youth organisation,
all having successfully completed the St John Ambulance Young first aider course or similar youth first
Darren and Peter’s win came after months of training to make
sure they were ready for anything. The competition is tough and St
John Ambulance brings in volunteer actors from the Casualty Union
to be the patients, with extremely realistic injuries and
Linda Coude, the administrator for the adult competition, said:
‘The standard of expertise and level of training demonstrated at
this championship was once again very high and showed the
commitment and dedication within business and industry to health
and safety issues. The aim each year is to encourage first aid in
the workplace and to help first aiders train for any eventuality,
focussing on those who volunteer for the benefit of others.’