In 1887, the St John Ambulance Brigade was formed. Unlike its predecessor, the St John Ambulance Association, which was established in 1877 to provide standardised First Aid training and supplies, the Brigade recognised the need for the provision of free medical assistance wherever crowds gathered. Today, these uniformed volunteers are still seen attending local and national events such as music festivals and sporting occasions. Amongst these volunteers there are often Cadets who, working alongside their adult counterparts, manage treatment centres, support communications and administer First Aid. It’s not just official duties though, there are lots of celebrations and social events to attend as well. From Unit discos to Cadet takeovers at Alton Towers and even royal receptions at Buckingham Palace to honour outstanding Cadet achievements. The largest of these celebration events was held in 1987 and saw St John Ambulance take over Hyde Park in London to celebrate the centenary of the St John Ambulance Brigade.
St John Ambulance volunteers are perhaps best known for providing First Aid cover at public events, but there are also lots of social events and celebrations too!
From the collection:
Poster for Cadet 70th Birthday Party Challenge
In this poster Cadet divisions are challenged to come up with the most interesting or ingenious way to hold a birthday party to mark 70 years of Cadets. Suggestions include: ‘entertaining 70 year old members of your local community’ or ‘holding a party in an unusual venue’. The competition was won by Blackwell B Winning Colliery Quadrilateral Division, Derbyshire who held a party underground at Clipstone Colliery.
St John Youth anniversary mugs
Over the decades, many souvenirs have been produced to mark and celebrate milestones in the Cadet and Badger programmes. These have often been designed with input from the Cadets themselves.
The Great St John Party Mouse
The Great St John Party in 1987 was held in Hyde Park to celebrate 100 years of the St John Ambulance Brigade, with royalty present and the cooking of a record-breaking 9-mile sausage! Numerous souvenirs were produced for this legendary event including this cuddly mouse wearing a badge which reads ‘I was at the Great St John Party’.
Bertie Badger figurine
Bertie Badger is the mascot of the St John Ambulance Badgers in England and Wales, a programme for young people aged 5-10. Officially launched in 1987, many Cadets start their St John journey as Badgers and work towards badges in different subjects, including First Aid. Badgers who complete 9 badge subjects become Super Badgers and up until around 2009 were awarded a porcelain Bertie Badger figurine of this design, manufactured by Wade Ceramics.