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Championing the UK’s first aid heroes

A nationwide search is on to celebrate individuals, businesses and communities that are leading the way in first aid. The inaugural St John Ambulance First Aid Awards aims to recognise the achievements of those who champion first aid – in the workplace or in public – and heroes who have been the difference between a life lost and a life saved. The event has just launched and already has the backing of high-profile supporters including presenter Matthew Wright whose life was saved through first aid, and BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth, who will host the awards.

Nominations are free and need to be made by 26 August via www.sja.org.uk/firstaidawards. Finalists will be invited to attend a celebratory black-tie awards dinner that will take place in the Lancaster London hotel, near Hyde Park, on the evening of 30 November. It is set to be an emotional and inspirational occasion, showcasing first aid success stories across the UK.

Why the awards are needed
Each year up to 150,000* people die in situations where first aid could have given them the chance to live. St John Ambulance wants to put an end to these needless deaths and encourage everyone to have the skills to save a life. These awards will aim to raise awareness of the importance of first aid and celebrate those who have put their knowledge to use.

Sue Killen, CEO of St John Ambulance, said: ‘Across Britain we are seeking-out First Aid Champions and Workplace Heroes for deserved recognition. Whether it’s a family member, friend, colleague, workplace or local school or shop, we want to hear about those individuals or organisations that you think should be recognised for their first aid achievements.

"It may be someone who has saved a life or a business that does all it can to ensure its staff or customers are prepared to be the difference between life and death. We want to hear your stories and examples of best practice."

BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth, who will host the awards, said: ‘Blacking out during the London marathon was one of the most frightening moments of my life. I was unconscious for up to 15 minutes with a temperature of 106F. Thankfully a team of St John Ambulance volunteers were there to pick me up and revive me. Their skill and expertise was amazing and so reassuring, and it really brought home to me the importance of first aid as a skill everyone should learn.

"I am delighted to be hosting the inaugural St John Ambulance First Aid Awards, which will celebrate the achievements of ordinary people who’ve used first aid in public or in the workplace."

There are three categories, ensuring recognition for employees, businesses and communities that have led the way in first aid:

1. ‘The difference’ Awards. Celebrating courageous individuals, valiant first aid advocates and those who have used their skills to be the difference between life and death
2. Community Awards. Recognising organisations in the private and public sector that have gone above and beyond first aid legal requirements to provide the broadest possible benefits of first aid training to the public and their customers
3. Workplace Awards. Rewarding organisations in the private and public sector that have exceeded legal first aid requirements, broadening the positive impact of first aid training for their businesses, employees, customers and the community.

A special award
The event is backed by Beth Chesney-Evans whose son, Guy Evans, died when he was 17, near his home in Didcot, Oxfordshire. Evidence suggests Guy might be alive today if he had been given basic first aid. An award in his honour will be given to an individual who has been the difference between life and death and will be presented by Beth.

Beth Chesney-Evans commented: ‘I’m proud that there will be an award in Guy’s honour and that it will go to someone who has helped save a life. It’s a fitting tribute.’

Celebrity support
In addition to Sophie Raworth, the awards are backed by celebrities such as gardener, Alan Titchmarsh, actress, Julia Sawalha and presenter Matthew Wright who was given first aid when he choked in a restaurant.

Matthew Wright said: ‘It’s easy to think you’ll never find yourself in a position when you’re staring death in the face. You also take for granted that someone else will know what to do if a friend needs your help in a life or death situation.

"I really thought I was a goner when I was choking. If it wasn’t for first aid, I’ve no doubt what the outcome would have been, which is why I’m supporting St John Ambulance’s First Aid Awards. Celebrating individuals and businesses that have used their life saving skills or gone the extra mile to ensure those who need first aid get it is a great idea. I was really lucky that I wasn’t one of those people – up to 150,000 – who die each year because no one around them knew basic first aid."

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