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National Volunteers' Week: St John Ambulance volunteer saves life of 18-month old baby

National Volunteers' Week is an annual celebration of the 21 million wonderful people that spend their time making a difference across the UK. Read about how volunteer Jason Rutter saved the life of 18-month old Lawson Smith

At St John Ambulance, we’re proud to say that tens of thousands of those 21 million spend their time volunteering for the nation’s leading first aid charity. Between them, that generous group of people spent around 1,000,000 hours keeping the public safe last year by providing first aid cover at events. That’s not including the thousands of our volunteers that provide other vital services!

Trying to comprehend just how many hours that really is can seem hard, so here’s some help:

  • • It’s the same as driving from Land’s End to John O’Groats 49,834 times
  • • Paula Radcliffe running her world record marathon 443,077 times
  • • Or sitting down and watching Titanic 307,692 times - which is a lot of car journeys, a lot of running, and a lot of sofa time.

Jason Rutter. Credit: Manchester Evening NewsBut what those crazily big numbers don’t show is all the people treated, the countless acts of kindness, or the lives that have been saved.

One of those lives saved was that of 18-month old Lawson Smith. Fortunately for Lawson, teaching assistant and St John Ambulance volunteer Jason Rutter was on hand to help the toddler after he suddenly started choking on a sweet during a routine shopping trip with his mum. With the knowledge and the confidence to act, Jason stepped in, slapped Lawson on the back and dislodged the sweet – saving his life as a result.

After the incident, Lawson’s mother, Katie, recalled: ‘I just went into a panic and froze. I couldn’t really do anything. He just said ‘your little boy will be fine’, and walked away. I just remember saying ‘thank you so much’. We can’t thank him enough for what he’s done. Nothing compares with saving someone’s life. To him it was just day-to-day routine because he volunteers for St John Ambulance but to me it’s the most important thing in the world.’

Jason’s take on it all was: ‘It was only afterwards I realised it could have gone a lot differently. Without the training I got with St John Ambulance I don’t think I would have been as confident.’

And this is what Volunteers’ Week is all about: celebrating stories like Jason’s and simply saying ‘thank you’. Thank you to Jason and thank you to everyone who gives up their time to make a positive difference to other people, their community and society as a whole.

Your donation could help support volunteers like Jason

Photo credit: Manchester Evening News