A lack of volunteers causes first-aid helpers to close unit

ADULT first-aid volunteers for Bognor Regis have disbanded.

The lack of a leader and a falling number of members has caused the town’s adult unit of St John Ambulance to fold.

The last members held their final meeting on December 10 to end 83 years of the charity’s service to the town. The unit was down to 12 individuals.

The cadet and badger units for younger first-aiders are continung at the usual meeting place of the Rowland Rank Centre on Aldwick Road on Thursday evenings and welcome new recruits.

But Sgt Alan Barker said he immensely regretted Bognor would no longer have a St John presence for adults.

“This is as a result of a long-term vacancy for unit leader having not been filled and a falling number of volunteers available to carry out first-aid duties around the town.

“I know that I speak for all of our members when I say that we will miss helping our community enjoy the local functions, be it the town carnival, Rotary 10k run, football tournaments or small local fetes and firework events.

“Although our membership has dropped, as a group we have performed more than 850 hours of voluntary first-aid duty in and around Bognor this year,” he said.

“We have treated more than 60 people, thankfully mainly for minor problems.

“We are always well treated by organisers and the public, which has made our job that much easier.

“On behalf of the whole adult unit, may I say thank you to the local community for their support over the years, particularly on our fundraising efforts around the town, which have enabled us to continue in our service of the community for so long.”

The closure was taking place in a controlled way, he said. The unit was completing all the duties booked for the next two weeks.

They included the Pagham Pram Race on Boxing Day. The new year’s day dip on Bognor seafront will be the final event.

Mr Barker said it was hoped the St John’s Chichester adult unit would take on most of the cover previously carried out by the Bognor volunteers.

Organisers will be contacted directly but any who want to speak to St John should do so through the national website, he said.

Some Bognor members have transferred to Chichester.

He added: “Other members, some of whom have been with St John for more than 40 years, have decided that now is the time to hang up their first-aid kits and retire.”