a HEANOR man has become one of the youngest ever St John’s Ambulance men to be honoured by the Queen.
First aid trainer and charity manager Carl Makins, 30, was invested as a Serving Brother of the Order of St John at a special ceremony at the historic Priory Church in London last week.
Carl, of Heanor, who is based at St John Ambulance county headquarters in Chesterfield, said: “It’s a tremendous honour to receive this recognition, particularly as it has to be personally sanctioned by the Queen.
“I joined St John Ambulance because I wanted to learn how to save a life – and I’ve had many opportunities to put my skills into practice over the years – but it’s great to have my work recognised in this way. I was certainly the youngest in the room!”
Carl joined the nation’s leading first aid charity at the age of five, after a representative visited his school. Twenty-five years on, he leads the Derbyshire team as Head of Schools and Community Projects, taking first aid into schools all over the county.
He became a member of Heanor Badger unit in 1987, went on to become a cadet and then a young leader at the age of 13. By this time, he was helping to train other youngsters in vital life-saving skills and at 18 he became a member of the county youth team. His first job was with Midland Mainline, as a first aider and service delivery coach, then in 2005 he became schools liaison officer for St John Ambulance based in Chesterfield.
During this time he also worked as part of the International Youth Programme, visiting Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand to further the charity’s work. Last year he teamed up with Rotary International in Dronfield to take part in a six-week project in India.
He also volunteers to take part in duties, providing first aid cover at events from football matches and concerts at Derby Live to major operations such as the London Marathon and Trooping the Colour.
Over the last six years Carl has built up the Derbyshire schools team, becoming its head in 2008 and taking on the voluntary role of Principal Youth Officer earlier this year. He and his team now train more than 20,000 people every year in skills that can make them the difference between a life lost and a life saved.
Also honoured last week were county staff officer Keith Cokayne, of Spondon, who was promoted to a Commander of the Order, and county treasurer Andrew Tiplady.
Presenting the insignias, Prior Rodney Green said: “These volunteers have been given this honour in recognition of the dedication they have displayed over the years. We hope their commitment inspires others to be the difference in their local area too.”
The Order of St John is one of the world’s oldest charities and traces its origins back 900 years to the Knights Hospitaller and the first Hospital of St John in Jerusalem in 1078. Membership of the Order is given only to those who have shown exceptional service.