Kash Mahmood portrait I love it, especially the training side of things. If I could, I would teach St John every day of the week, I enjoy it that much

I grew up in the 1970s and 80s in Liverpool. My parents came over from Pakistan in the 1960s as migrant workers and I was born in 1968. One of my earliest memories was of the 1981 race riots – at the time we lived in the middle of Toxteth, it was not a good time to be caught up in the middle of that – but Liverpool is a very unified city, a family city. I've stayed in Liverpool, although now I’m just across the water on the Wirral, with most of my family still on the Liverpool side. 
I was lucky that my parents pushed me and my brothers into traditional Muslim roles: you have to be a doctor or a lawyer. I wasn't bright enough to be a doctor, so I went down the law route and I’m now a family law solicitor.  

My Mum is so proud of me, not just because I've got my own business but also because of all the work I do with St John Ambulance 
We wanted my youngest son to get involved in something different and his mum saw the St John advert for cadets, so he joined the Bebington Unit. I used to drop him off and bring him home again. It was in a building with a narrow doorway, like a shop entrance, so you couldn't really see anything until you got upstairs – I had no idea what was going on inside. I remember the Area Manager, Danny Chu, who was always really, really infectious with his teaching. 
When the unit moved to Bromborough was when I got more involved. Margaret Redman, his Unit Manager, asked if I wanted to join as a parent helper. As soon as I saw the work they were doing with young people I knew this was for me. Part of my reason for joining St John was to do something different from law and volunteering gives me that new lease of life. 

My primary role with St John is Youth Leader, but I am also a First Aider and have recently qualified as a Trainer and Assessor. Over 2020 I have been delivering the COVID-19 module and the new Care module.   As we are in local lockdown, seeing friends and family has been difficult so I feel very lucky I can still see my ‘St John family’. 

Kash Mahmood with young volunteers
Kash out on a day trip with members of his unit 

There are two types of first aiders: those who attract casualties and those who don’t. I'm one of those that don’t, which is a good thing! My most serious casualty was at an event when two elderly people fell over backwards, hitting their heads on the ground. I had to ensure that they didn’t move their head for over 2 hours while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.  

Most events I am paired up with the new volunteers. I’m good at hand-holding during their first time out and I always encourage them to treat casualties. I show them the ropes, get them to think through what’s happening and help them to stay calm in stressful situations. 
What do I learn from young people? It’s the shared sense of achievement

If I show them something, for example the recovery position, and they get it right , I'm thinking – well that's something I've taught them how to do. It is a bit selfish but I get a lot of pleasure out of it. I also I like seeing them enjoy themselves. Cadets are often quite shy when they first join, they stick to themselves but within no time they’re part of our big St John family. It’s not just first aid, there are a lot of soft skills we use.  

I absolutely adore teaching and I get amazing feedback from the learners. I think there is nothing better than teaching new people how to save a life." 

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