Letter: Up to date at St John's

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The Independent Online
From Air Chief Marshall Sir David Parry-Evans

Sir: St John Ambulance is very much on the up and up and is definitely not in decline, as suggested in your feature article on charities ("Charity begins with home truths", 20 July). As the Princess Royal (Commandant of our cadets) said recently to members of St John Ambulance, "You seem to have moved direct from the 19th to the 21st century." We are still the country's leading first-aid organisation and the specialists in this field. The number we train has increased to over 400,000 each year.

Our members' (unpaid) service to the community continues to increase and is now amounting, each day, to over 10,000 hours, treating over 550 members of the public, and driving 5,000 miles in our ambulances (we have over 1,100 of them).

We have become a young organisation.Nearly two-thirds of our 82,000 members in the UK are under the age of 18, and membership has grown over the last few years.

We are continually updating and meeting the needs of the community. We have recently established 24 Community Care Task Forces in the country. We are in the world of NVQs. (We have 25 assessment centres throughout the country and are shortly to be assessed for the national standard of efficiency BS 5750 (ISO 9002).

We work hard to earn the money needed to carry out our increasing commitments. We arrange sponsorship deals with the commercial world. Our logo on their products and our approval is worth a great deal to them. In 1994, we worked with and gained support from over 23 major organisations, including the AA, Boots, BT, British Aerospace, the Football Association, ICI, Safeway, Tesco, Sun Alliance.

There is one thing, though. In common with many major charities, our income has declined, and we need support to enable us to carry out our charitable mission.

Yours faithfully,

David Parry-Evans

Chief Commander

St John Ambulance

London, SW1

26 July