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St John Ambulance Cymru honours its volunteers at Llandaff Investiture

Paul Griffiths, OBE, KStJ, new Prior for Wales

On Saturday, 3rd June St John Ambulance Cymru held its Commemoration, Rededication and Investiture Service in Llandaff Cathedral.

The Priory for Wales of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem is the Welsh branch of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem which traces its origins back to the Knights Hospitallers in the Middle Ages. The Annual Investiture Service acknowledges those who have selflessly given their time to support St John Ambulance Cymru and their local communities.

The service marked the first year HM King Charles III has personally sanctioned admissions and promotions within the prestigious Order.

Dr Dale Cartwright, CStJ DL

At the service Dr Dale Cartwright, CStJ DL was promoted  to Commander of the Order being presented by the Grand Prior, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester. Dr Cartwright joined St John Ambulance Cymru as a cadet at the age of 13.

He said, “In addition to learning essential first aid skills, I gained many interpersonal skills including communication, teamwork and leadership.

As a doctor, I now have the opportunity to give something back to St John in terms of the clinical skills and experiences that I can share with others.

I was completely surprised to receive the news that I was being promoted to the position of Commander.

It is a huge honour, and I think I read the letter back a few times before it sunk in.

The letter arrived the morning after my daughter was born so it was the icing on the cake at a time of great joy.”

Dr Aled Davies and Darren Murray

The charity’s Head of Community Operations, Darren Murray, was also promoted to Officer at the Service..

He said, “ St John Ambulance Cymru is an important part of my life, having been a volunteer for coming up to 14 years.

What started off as ‘something to do’ and an attempt to keep my first aid skills up to date, quickly progressed into giving hundreds of hours a year as a volunteer.

This has now turned into my career as I approach my first anniversary as Head of Community Operations.

I was honoured to have been put forward for promotion to Officer.

Whilst we don’t volunteer for the accolade, to know someone has taken the time to submit a nomination and that it has been accepted is very humbling, and something I am grateful for. “

Also made Officers were Kate Arnold, Richard Brake, Stephen Cook, Kathleen Eardley, Beth Francis, Mark Gordon, Ieuan Healan, and Sian Howell.

Lee Brooks QAM, Dr Aled Davies, Dr Anthony Dew, Joseph Griffiths, Rebecca Jolliffe, Carl Neale, Gavin Rees, Aron Roberts, Martin Thompsonand Marion Thompson were made Members of the Order.

This year’s event was also significant as the organisation welcomed its 11th Prior, Paul Griffiths OBE KStJ.

Paul Griffiths joined the Gwent St John Council  in 2016, becoming it’s Chair the following year. His commitment to serving the communities in Wales is evident, through his 29 years of public service in the Police.

The newly appointed Prior for Wales, said, “I begin my tenure as Prior for Wales humbled by the selfless dedication our St John People have shown to those in need in communities across Wales.

The motto of the Order of St John is Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum, For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity. We believe that our people represent the very best of humanity, and it is important for us to acknowledge the huge role they play in making sure we can continue to be there for everyone, anytime, anywhere.

I am delighted to see their efforts recognised at our Annual Investiture Service, and I look forward to many more of these events in the years to come.”