No medal for St John Ambulance volunteers

‘Disgust’ as first aiders get Diamond Jubilee snub.

A Honiton man says he will “bombard the Government with letters of disgust” after it was confirmed that St John Ambulance volunteers are not to receive the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Steve Parsons, a St John volunteer for 11 years, said: “It is disgraceful - appalling. It is a snub.

“The Olympics wouldn’t be going ahead without St John volunteers, yet they can’t afford 20 quid for a medal.

“I will have to bombard the Government with letters of disgust.”

Mr Parsons pointed out that, without St John Ambulance, many of the country’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations would not have happened.

Those eligible to receive the medal include members of the armed forces, emergency services personnel, including retained staff or volunteers who face the prospect of dealing with emergency situations, prison service staff and Police Community Support Officers.

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Mr Parsons, who formerly served as a Special Constable for 12 years, has already written to Prime Minister David Cameron. “I pointed out that part of the Big Society should be showing appreciation for volunteers.

“All these people who put hours in.

“What would it cost to pay professionals?”

A spokeswoman for St John Ambulance in the South West told the Midweek Herald: “Our organisation did not meet the eligibility criteria for the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“I’m told all successful nominees were informed that they would be receiving the medal some weeks ago.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told The Herald: “The Diamond Jubilee medal is being issued using broadly the same criteria as the Golden Jubilee medal in 2002.

“The Government recognises the extremely valuable and important work that organisations such as the St John Ambulance carry out and understands there may be many groups and organisations who are disappointed they are not included in the criteria.

“However, it is also important to maintain the integrity and exclusivity of the medal, so it is simply not possible to include all these groups.”