|30 Sep 2022
Mark Clayton started volunteering with St John Ambulance before he had even started in the Senior School of Hymers College. He was 10 years old when he joined in 1994, a year before he started at Hymers College. He told us about his volunteering and experience helping at Her Late Majesty The Queen's funeral.
I've been a volunteer with St John Ambulance since 1994 (I joined Hymers in 95!) and over the years, have been fortunate to be involved in a number of national events.
Now that I'm a critical care and air ambulance doctor, my particular skillset is relatively rare within the organisation and I've become increasingly likely to be deployed at events outside of our local area to provide that senior level of medical cover.
When the late Queen died, St John put into action a well documented plan to provide medical cover for the duration of the period of national mourning and the state funeral that would follow.
As part of Operation London Bridge, I was deployed to provide cover to the Mall and Hyde Park on Saturday (17 September), the queue for the Lying in State on Sunday and was exceptionally privileged to be based inside Westminster Abbey on Monday 19 September for the funeral itself.
As part of the security effort surrounding the event, all medical personnel had to be appropriately accredited and in possession of the correct wristband. On my arrival in London on Saturday morning, I first travelled to the accreditation centre where Lucy was in charge of verifying identities and distributing the relevant wristbands. We got chatting and my Hull accent gave me away as a non-local volunteer almost immediately. Lucy picked up on this and asked where I'd travelled from. On learning that I'd come down from near Hull, she volunteered that she lived in Beverley and, as often happens at these points, we started talking about who we might mutually know (East Yorkshire really doesn't seem to be all that big!) before establishing by a roundabout fashion that we were both Old Hymerians of a slightly different vintage! Lucy had been one of the original sixth form girls when the school had ceased to be boys only and we enjoyed reminiscing about our respective times at the school.
It was a wonderful example for me of just how small the world can be, especially when volunteering for a national organisation like St John.
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