Cadet force success at national first aid awards

Posted on September 29, 2017

Eh Katie Piper Craig Derrigan Rav Wilding Small

The CCF had cause to celebrate following a successful evening at the St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes Awards 2017, where the nation’s life savers and first aid champions were recognised in a special ceremony.

Mark Goatcher, a School Staff Instructor (SSI) with the City of London Academy Islington CCF, won the Workplace Hero Award for saving a teenager’s life in March this year.

Mark was in his office when one of the cadets ran to his door, looking fearful and very agitated. He said ‘Sir, you’re needed right now in the playground’. Realising straight away something serious had happened, Mark ran outside and found a 13-year-old student had collapsed. One of the other cadets had placed him into the recovery position, but Mark quickly assessed his condition, established he was non-responsive and wasn’t breathing. 

Mark said: “I watched and listened to see if he was breathing, but I could tell immediately he was in a bad way. I started CPR, whilst another member of staff called an ambulance. I think I did around seven minutes of CPR before the emergency services arrived at our side. Given the seriousness of the situation, there were five ambulance vehicles on site, including a Doctor; they took over from me, in what was a highly charged and rather emotional situation.”

A defibrillator was used to shock his heart, before he was taken by road to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he was in the Intensive Care Unit for some time.

Fortunately, after being in an induced coma, the pupil has made a good recovery and has had an internal defibrillator fitted to prevent any further problems. He’s also returned to school, initially on a part-time basis, but he has now returned full time.

Mark is a trained first aider and teaches, amongst other things, the St John Ambulance accredited ‘Youth First Aid’ course to the cadets.

On winning the award, he said: “I'm very proud of the result. I work in a school and first aid is such a vital skill for young people to know. I think it should be on the curriculum.”

The CCF had further success after Lucton School, Herefordshire, won Organisation of the Year for their impressive first aid school programme.

Lucton’s CCF takes the lead in first aid activities across the school, where 90 per cent of staff are trained, including teachers, support staff and minibus drivers.

Contingent Commander Major Craig Derrigan, and the school’s primary first aid trainer, said: “It's absolutely fantastic for Lucton and it's nice to help raise awareness of the importance of first aid.

“Teaching young people first aid skills is vital, because we're creating the nation of life savers that we need.” 

St John Ambulance’s annual Everyday Heroes Awards, celebrate the nation's life savers, honouring community heroes, organisations and members of the public who have used first aid to help others.

The star studded ceremony was hosted on Thursday 28 September 2017 in London by TV presenter and best-selling author, Katie Piper, who as an acid attack survivor and a parent understands the importance of having life saving skills.

She said: “I feel very privileged to host the St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes Awards, I know from personal experience how important it can be to know what to do in a first aid emergency and act quickly.”

Steve Hargreaves, regional director for the nation’s leading first aid charity, said: “It’s right that we take the time to recognise these truly remarkable people on a national stage as stories like Mark and Lucton School’s really show the difference first aid can make.

“They are an inspiration and should all be incredibly proud of their achievements. I would urge everyone to download the St John Ambulance app, go to our website, or find us on social media, because first aid is so easy to learn and it could help you save a life.”

More about the awards ceremony can be found on the St John Ambulance website.