Volunteers recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in Birthday Honours for services to COVID-19

Mat Hill.jpg

Two volunteers from St John Ambulance Cymru Mat Hill, from Newport, and Jack Gibbins, from Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, receive British Empire Medals (BEM) in recognition of their outstanding contribution towards our front line response efforts and support of the NHS in Wales across the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mat Hill

Mat has volunteered with us for nearly twenty years since joining as a Cadet in his home town of Bridgend.

As part of his role as Paramedic Operations Officer with South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Mat is responsible for incident command at large and complex, multi-agency incidents.

From the outset, Mat has continuously searched for ways to make a difference, improve strategic approaches and operational standards across both his professional and volunteer efforts.

During his time with us, Mat has undertaken an extensive range of roles including an operational volunteer, Deputy County Training Officer and his most influential volunteer role to date, National Operations Officer, where he has excelled since his appointment in 2016.

Taking the lead in emergency preparedness, resilience and response, Mat's drive, diligence, clinical knowledge and experience have ensured our strategies continuously provide excellent support to our partner agencies, the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust and local health authorities across Wales.

Most notably, Mat holds the role of COVID-19 Strategic Lead, chairing our Strategic Co-ordination Group, and continues to play a cruicial role in strategic leadership, advice, guidance and in ensuring our volunteer response strategy is at the forefront of decision-making.

Jack Gibbins

Jack joined us as a volunteer aged 18 where he was based in Haverfordwest. In his nine years serving our charity, he has been an extraordinary volunteer.

Having served in several key roles including County Operations Officer for Dyfed, National First Responder Officer and Acting National Operations Officer - where he serves in his current role - his dedication and enthusiasm consistently shines.

During the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, Jack’s response to the call to arms has been inspirational. This has been demonstrated through his position as our Tactical Lead; responsible for the tactical planning and response of our volunteers across Wales during the peak of the crisis.

With a strong grasp and understanding of the finer details required to provide practical support of the highest calibre to our partner agencies, Jack, who has also been a Community First Responder for the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust since 2011, chaired and continues to deliver through our Tactical Co-ordination Group.

His focus and calm, coupled with his eloquent efficiency, lead to increased confidence in our ability in supporting our partners both on the ground and at Wales’ field hospitals.

“On behalf of our entire organisation I want to thank both Mat and Jack for their outstanding service to their work both professionally and as volunteers of St John Ambulance Cymru.  We’re delighted their dedication and visionary leadership has been recognised today.


Mat’s commitment to volunteering on top of his day job is outstanding and he regularly dedicates up to 40 hours a week to support us, whether it be through winter pressures or during our busy event seasons, Mat plays a pivotal role in ensuring some of our biggest responses run smoothly.


Jack’s role across the pandemic involved and continues to involve a significant time commitment and he continues to go over and above what would be expected as a volunteer while maintaining his full time career as a Senior Production Electrician for BBC Wales.


We are truly grateful and are both proud and delighted Jack and Mat have received this honour recognising their commitment and altruism for their work with us,” 

St John Ambulance Cymru, Chief Executive Officer, Helen Smith

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020 awards 1,495 honours to people across the whole of the UK for their outstanding contributions to UK society.

Healthcare and social care workers make up 14% of the List, for contributions as diverse as setting up the COVID-19 hospitals to delivering medical care on the frontline.

The majority of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List was compiled before the ongoing pandemic. The List was deferred in order to consider nominations for people playing crucial roles during the first months of the COVID-19 effort and has prioritised frontline and community heroes who went above and beyond their duties to help others.

These recipients are, like Sir Captain Tom Moore, outstanding examples of the many contributions continuously being made right across the UK, and symbolic of the collective national effort.

The full honours list are available here

Published October 9th 2020

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