Volunteers from St John Ambulance Cymru have been honoured for their exceptional volunteer work as part of a special Investiture Service on Wednesday (September 8).
The service, which is held every three years and organised by the International Order of St John, honours extraordinary volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty.
Ruth Lewis of Gorseinon and David Gardner of Newtown were both awarded a Dame and Knight of Grace (respectively), the highest accolade from The Most Venerable Order of St John Hospital of Jerusalem, for their services to St John Ambulance Cymru.
Knight and Dame awards are only granted to members who have made an outstanding contribution to the Order. They're judged on a wide range of specific criteria which relate to the values of the Order which include respect, excellence, diversity and unselfishness.
The Grand Prior, His Royal Highness, Duke of Gloucester led the service held in the historic 12th century Priory Church of St John, London. The service included the Installation of the new Chancellor of the Order, Dr Gillian Willmore.
Ruth has dedicated her life to St John both in Wales and England, volunteering for over 35 years and has been recognised for the invaluable support she provides to others in her county of West Glamorgan.
As a passionate supporter of the St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, Ruth has helped raise over £8,000 for the hospital which treats patients with devastating eye conditions in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Ruth was instrumental in the creation of a Grand Prior Award subject about the hospital which has been delivered to hundreds of young people through our youth programmes in Wales.
Ruth is a trained nurse and has given hundreds of hours of service every year including, through her overseas visits, the teaching of lifesaving first aid skills to thousands of people and inspiring many others to do the same.
David joined our charity in 1967 as a Cadet, and has been an exceptional volunteer throughout his 54 years of service.
An inspirational leader, David has been an outstanding influence on his peers. He regularly gives 850 hours of his time each year to support his local community and has led on the first aid cover of high-profile events such as the Royal Welsh Show and the National Eisteddfod.
He has fostered vital links with the local Fire Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service by leading and developing highly regarded cycle and motorcycle response teams serving the rural area of Powys.
David’s determination and passion shines through all his actions, leading him to become a qualified Emergency Transport Attendant; the highest qualification available to a volunteer within St John Ambulance Cymru as a non-healthcare professional. As well as his St John role he is also a first responder with the Welsh Ambulance Service.
“This is a great honour and recognises the decades of service and altruism of both Ruth and David not just in their local community but nationally and internationally too.
We’re incredibly proud and truly grateful for the service they have given on behalf of our organisation, and we’re delighted they have been recognised by our international Order for their commitment and altruism.”
Prior for Wales, Sir Paul Williams
Priory for Wales and Vice Chair St John International Youth Advisory Network, Karl Parker (Deeside) was also in attendance and gave a reading at the service.
More information about the Order of St John can be found here.