Stephen Fox

Joined 1969

Felling Combined Cadet Division, Gateshead

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Black and white photograph of a young boy in uniform with his arm in a sling. Beside him to the left is a girl
Ambulance Cadets practising First Aid, c.1960s Image courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John
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I certainly do, I recall very, very clearly. I found out about St John Cadets, I didn’t know it was Cadets initially but what happened was at school one day, during the morning break in the playground where there was a group of us standing together, chatting as you do. One of the other boys said would anybody like to come to a First Aid class, ‘cos he was going to go to this First Aid class and he was just asking if anybody else wanted to go along as well. And my mother for quite some time before that had been saying to me at fairly regular intervals, why don’t you go and learn First Aid, that would be a very useful thing to learn. And I suspect that she did that because she’d picked up on the fact that I was interested in the body and how it worked, she was probably keeping an eye on what I was reading. And in actual fact, an old First Aid manual had appeared in our house, from where I’m not too sure but I know I had two uncles who had some involvement with St John in terms of them being trained in First Aid for their work, so I think this was probably one of their old First Aid books. So I’ll never get to ask her but I suspect she’d noticed that I was taking an interest in this sort of stuff, picked up on it and was encouraging me to learn First Aid. So when the day came at school when this chap said, who wants to come to a First Aid class, before I even realised what had happened, the word, “yes”, came out of my mouth followed by, “I’ll come”. And that was how it all started, so we went to this First Aid class on whichever evening of the week it was, I think it was a Monday or a Tuesday and the First Aid class turned out to be a First Aid class but it was leading to the formation of a new Cadet division as units were called then. So the kids who went through that First Aid class became Cadets at the end of it. And that was how I got into St John.

Excerpt courtesy of Stephen Fox