Sidmouth’s shrinking St John Fellowship pushes for members

PUBLISHED: 11:00 11 February 2017

St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1995-03-16SH. Photo Simon Horn

St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1995-03-16SH. Photo Simon Horn

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A group of former first aiders with dwindling membership is giving itself another year to see if it can boost its numbers.

Logo on the St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1998-03-16SH. Photo Simon HornLogo on the St John Ambulance Hall in Sidmouth. Ref shs 1998-03-16SH. Photo Simon Horn

The St John Fellowship is for retired St John Ambulance staff and anyone else interested in the charity, but ill health has seen membership in Sidmouth fall by a quarter in the last 12 months.

The organisation supports an eye hospital in Jerusalem that saves the sight of thousands of people every year, which the town’s branch raised £500 for in 2016.

Secretary Brian Johansen, a brigade member in Sidmouth from 1985 until he retired as a superintendent in 2012, said: “It would be a shame if we had to fold - we’ve been going for many years.

“It’s for all ages – even cadets can join. If a member falls ill, we’ll send them flowers.

“We also support member welfare as and when needs arise.”

He said the decision to see if the branch can boost its numbers was made at its annual general meeting last month.

St John Ambulance sold its Blackmore Drive hall last summer, so the fellowship and the cadets both had to relocate.

The fellowship now meets in Abbeyfield Court for its monthly talks. In April, they will hear from John and Mary Nunn, the charity’s area representatives, who will be speaking about the eye hospital in Jerusalem.

The branch also hosts coffee mornings and other events throughout the year, plus trips for members – but their falling numbers have recently made booking transportation unviable.

For more information on the group, contact Brian on 01395 577568.


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