Andrew Hayward

Joined 1968

Exmouth Cadet Division, Devon

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Black and white photograph of a boy wearing a black uniform and looking to the camera over his shoulder. On the sleeve of his jacket are badges that read St John Devon. In the backgrouynd are windows of a house.
Ambulance Cadet Andrew Hayward, Exmouth Division, Devon, 1978 Image courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John (PHA6678) (Picture credit: Exeter Express & Echo)
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I do remember going to quite a scary motor-cross, you know, with full high-powered motorbikes and things, and nothing awful happened in the sense of serious injuries, but they came off their bikes a lot and had to be sort of picked up and dusted off and checked over. I don’t recall anything, but the potential for really serious injury would have been there on that type of thing. Um, and, you know, there was no air ambulances or anything of that ilk, we would have been it. But obviously as a youngster, you’re not in charge, so the adults would have been there to sort it all out, but I don’t ever remember anything sort of particularly traumatic happening. The only time I remember, when we were going with ambulances, anything at all kind of difficult was when somebody – I think they’d had a heart attack and then drowned in the swimming pool. So, again, you see, by modern terms, if that call had come in now, they’d have – here you’d have a paramedic crew, quite possibly with that story an air ambulance, people with highly advanced skills, and in Exmouth in 1970-something you didn’t, you had St John crew, nobody had invented, well, they might have invented defibrillators in hospitals, but certainly not out of hospital defibrillators, and actually, as I remember, I don’t think there was anything anybody could have done for that chap but we went as a, you know, two St John volunteers and a Cadet in an ambulance to try and deal with it. I remember that, I remember the chap floating in the water, but I absolutely don’t remember being troubled by it, and you’d think, as a I don’t know thirteen year old or something, you should be troubled by it really, but, no. There was no – see, if you’d got, I’m sure now, if you’d got involved with that, there would be all sort of discussion afterwards and counselling and worrying about how you’d react to it. Nothing, absolutely nothing, there wasn’t even a cup of tea involved, as I remember. That was the way though, that wasn’t considered unusual or anything, it was just, oh well, there you go, and crack on. I don’t remember having nightmares or losing sleep or anything. So, I’m not suggesting that’s a good way of dealing with things, but it’s different that’s all, and times have changed. But that’s the only what you might consider traumatic event that I remember.

Excerpt courtesy of Andrew Hayward