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County Service of Thanksgiving for the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem & St John Ambulance (posted 9 May)

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The Sussex County Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the work of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem and St John Ambulance

Members of St John Ambulance
Members of St John Ambulance

On Saturday 7th May 2016, at 3.00pm, a service of thanksgiving was held at Chichester Cathedral to celebrate the work of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem and St John Ambulance.

Approximately five hundred people including the Lord-Lieutenants of East and West Sussex, the High Sheriffs of East and West Sussex and the Mayor and Mayoress of Chichester joined the Dean & Chapter of Chichester Cathedral and the Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner for this special service.

The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem - commonly known as the Order of St John - has a unique combination of features and has its roots in a hospice founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century.

The Order first came into being in about 1080, when Benedictine monks established a place of care in Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims.  The brothers and sisters (commonly known as Hospitallers of St John) who looked after these pilgrims quickly evolved into a religious order which provided care to the poor and sick of any faith.

The Bishop of Chichester, The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner & member of the St John Ambulance
The Bishop of Chichester, The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner

The Order is now a major international charity, accredited at the United Nations, which provides first aid, health care and support services in over 40 countries around the world through a dedicated team of around 400,000 volunteers and staff.

Alongside first aid training and delivery, other examples of the Order's work throughout the world include: a mother and baby programme across sub-Suharan Africa; a blood transfusion service in Papua New Guinea; a cliff rescue programme on Malta and the national ambulance service in New Zealand and parts of Australia.

In England, the Order has its wholly-owned subsidiary St John Ambulance, where each year over 250,000 people learn life saving skills.  St John Ambulance volunteers play a vital role in safeguarding others and preventing loss of life in communities around the country. 

Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem and St John Ambulance Service of Thanksgiving
Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem and St John Ambulance

They treat 88,000 people a year at events and transport more than 140,000 patients to and from hospital.  Over 18,000 young people aged 18 or below learn first aid, teamwork and leadership skills in Badgers (ages 7-10) and Cadets (ages 10-17).  Many of these go on to serve their community in a wide range of adult volunteer roles.

Photographs by Jim Holden.

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