St John Ambulance volunteer awarded MBE

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A DEDICATED St John Ambulance volunteer from Hailsham became a Member of the British Empire (MBE) at Buckingham Palace on December 14.

Margaret Skinner, 78, of Lansdowne Drive was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List earlier this year.

She has devoted 63 years of her life to the nation’s leading first aid charity and given more than 20,000 hours of voluntary service to her local community since becoming a St John Ambulance Cadet in Hailsham when she was 15.

Mrs Skinner said: “I joined because I wanted to learn first aid – I thought it would be very useful because you never know when you might need it.”

Mrs Skinner ran the Hailsham Cadet division for 39 years after becoming its superintendent in 1960.

She has put her first aid skills into practice at hundreds of public events in Sussex over the years – from Glyndebourne and the Chichester Festival to Arlington Speedway where she organised first aid cover for 30 years.

Royal recognition was first given to her when she was invested as a serving sister of the Order of St John in 1969.

She went on to become an officer sister in 1990. Membership of the Order is granted in recognition of exceptional charity service and must be approved by Her Majesty the Queen, its Sovereign Head.

As a cadet leader, she oversaw no less than 87 young members of her unit gain their coveted Grand Prior awards – the highest awards St John Ambulance Cadets can receive.

Mrs Skinner said: “St John Ambulance has been my life and I dread the day when I have to give it up.

“It’s a great way to help your local community, meet new friends and acquire all sorts of knowledge which will be useful in everyday life.”

Mrs Skinner would like to see younger people sign up to St John Ambulance. St John Ambulance has more than 1,000 adult volunteers and more than 700 youth members in Sussex.

To find out more information call 01273 371 500 or visit www.sja.org.uk