St John Ambulance volunteer night

Charity St John Ambulance is to hold an open evening in Wetherby to encourage people to join its volunteer unit and learn the first aid skills that could help save a life.

The Wetherby Adult Unit will demonstrate vital first aid skills at the event on Friday 18 July at 7pm, at the Wetherby Methodist Church, Bank Street.

The organisation, which has 38,000 volunteers in the UK, is keen to welcome over-18s with no or little first aid experience, as St John Ambulance volunteers are given first aid training free of charge.

They would have the opportunity to use their skills across a wide range of events from the Wetherby races and Headingley cricket matches to festivals and local community activities.

Volunteers are also invited to get involved with fundraising, administration and youth events.

Unit manager and advanced first aider, Ryan Hudson, said he was hoping to attract at least double the unit’s numbers, which have shrunk to five after volunteers had left for university or new jobs.

The unit meets Tuesdays at 7.30pm.

Ryan, 24, said: “We have a fun, busy patch here in Wetherby and Leeds and really urge more people to join us.

“I think it’s really important to learn the basic skills to save somebody’s life should the situation arise.

“Once trained, we hope the volunteers will be able to put in enough hours to attend about 10 events a year, which isn’t difficult.

“It’s great to help people, it improves interpersonal skills and there’s a great social side here, too.”

The Garforth primary school teacher has already used the first aid skills he learned with St John Ambulance when a woman cut her leg getting into a car at a festival at Harewood House.

Although the cut looked minor, the woman was taking blood-thinning drugs that caused it to bleed heavily. With his first aid knowledge, Ryan averted a more serious situation by stemming the flow while arranging for an ambulance to take the woman, in her sixties, to hospital.

Visitors to Friday’s open evening will be able to start their application process and be DBS-checked if they bring the correct identification documents.