Dedicated first-aider is given royal honour

Dedicated first-aider Robert Walker. (S)
Dedicated first-aider Robert Walker. (S)

THE founder member of the Thirsk and Northallerton Division of St John Ambulance has been honoured for his dedicated service to Britain’s leading first-aid charity.

Robert Walker, 47, of Mill Rise, Northallerton, was invested as a serving Brother of the Order of St John, at a ceremony held recently in London’s historic Grand Priory Church, Clerkenwell. He received the Order’s insignia, which is given with the Queen’s approval.

Mr Walker, who works at the Rural Payment Agency, Northallerton, described his day in London as: “Truly memorable and so well organised – down to the last detail.”

He joined the Red Cross initially, developing his first-aid skills in the Scout movement. Then in 1984 he volunteered to provide first-aid cover at a BMX track on the Applegarth.

One year later, he helped form the local St John Ambulance Division – of which he is now the longest serving member. A great ambassador for first aid, he believes it should be taught as part of the school curriculum.

In addition to covering many public events, he likes working with the younger members of the organisation, passing on his knowledge and experience.

“I enjoy covering the regular public events, the local village shows where you get to know the people. But we also attended Royal Ascot when it came to York and we once covered a charity soccer match featuring Coronation Street stars Tyrone and Kirk.”

He and his family are all keen supporters of Northallerton Town FC. Mr Walker helps collect the gate money, his father, Mervyn, marks up the fixtures board, his brother, Mark, is vice chairman, and Mark’s wife Flo is club treasurer.

Mr Walker said: “I know it sounds impressive, but we’re all useless at football.”