ANYONE who has seen the Little Britain sketch showing St John Ambulance volunteers giving mints to a man having a heart attack might be forgiven for not quite trusting their expertise.
But mum and daughter Barbara and Mary Robinson, who are the team behind Worksop’s St John badgers and cadets, can safely say they’re having the last laugh.
One of their charges, Bryony Rose, has just been to Buckingham Palace to receive her Grand Prior Award from the Princess Royal, St John’s Ambulance chief commandant.
To achieve the Grand Prior cadets have to gain 24 badges, which usually takes about four years.
Bryony, of South Parade, Worksop, has also been chosen as the Notts Lord Lieutenant Cadet of the Year 2011.
She said: “St John’s is like the only place I’ve ever achieved anything. It’s such a big part of my life, they’re like my extended family.”
“Going to Buckingham Palace was a really good experience and the Princess Royal talked to everyone and asked us about the Grand Prior award.”
Bryony is studying health and social care at North Notts College and says her St John training has come in useful.
“I want to go into nursing and the experience I’m getting with St John will all help,” she said.
“I joined the badgers when I was six and after four years I was the only one left in the sett. I was on my own for many weeks before a publicity campaign got us some new members.”
“The best times I’ve had have been with St John.”
Barbara, 46, of Blyth, is a leader at Retford but is also caretaking the Worksop badgers, which takes children from five to ten years old.
The youngsters have been celebrating after coming second in a safety competition held at Nottingham University.
Barbara said: “I’m so proud of them because they had to deal with a complicated scenario of a young casualty who had suffered a scald from a kettle and then had an asthma attack.”
“These very young first aiders demonstrated how knowledge of first aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”
“One of our badgers re-dressed his teacher’s hand after she had injured it and she said it was better than the original dressing, and he was only five. It just shows what even young children can do if they are given the chance.”
The badgers learn skills like how to cope with major bleeding, asthma attacks, choking and how to treat diabetics.
When they move up to cadets, run by 21-year-old Mary, they start doing more advanced skills like CPR.
Not bad for 25p a week for badgers and 50p for cadets, with a free uniform thrown in.
During the severe winter weather, St John’s 4x4 vehicles ploughed through the ice and snow around North Notts getting district nurses to people in need.
Mary, who works as a community staff nurse in Retford, said: “When we’re out fundraising it’s surprising how many people come up to us and tell us about the time they were treated by someone from St John.”
“We’re teaching life skills. How many people would know what to do if they saw someone collapse in ?
* For more information about joining the Worksop St John Ambulance call Barbara on 07732 768312.