Hero Receives Honour At Formal Ceremony

Friday, 09 April, 2010

TWO generations of lifesaving dedication came together at a recent ceremony when a hero grandfather was honoured by the Order of St John.

David Mitchell, 64, collected the prestigious Life Saving Medal of the Order of St John at an event on Thursday 8th April at Priory Church in London.

The grandfather of four, from Buntingford, was part of a group of people who sprang into action last summer when a car crashed through a brick wall and came to rest precariously at the edge of a Cambridgeshire river.

David, himself a trained St John Ambulance first-aider who first joined the charity in 1966, led the rescue of the driver in the vehicle and administered first aid at the scene.

On Thursday, watched by granddaughter 11-year-old Chloe Edwards who is herself a member of St John Ambulance, he was honoured with a major life saving award which is organised and presented by The Priory of England and the Islands of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

David was visiting Houghton Mill in Cambridgeshire on Saturday 18th July last year when he heard a car crash and ran to the assistance of the driver. He crawled into the car to reach the unconscious patient and then shouted for further help from anyone in the area.

He said: 'Instantly, I realised that the man's life was in danger as the water was rising and I knew there was a real risk of the car flipping and potentially taking us both under.

'After checking his responses and airways, I quickly shouted for further assistance and with the help of the bystanders we had the man on the river bank and I was able to check for injuries. He quickly gained consciousness and incredibly only suffered a few cuts and a nose bleed.

'In training we are always told not to put our own lives in danger, but with goose bumps and shaking hands there was no way I was going to leave the man in the car to drown.'

Organisers of this special medal, who make similar presentations up to three times per year, say they were impressed by David's calm and effective actions and are keen to acknowledge him with such a notable award.

'David's quick thinking and calm assistance on the day undoubtedly made a significant difference to the casualty's outcome,' said Sandra Stocker, Head of Priory Affairs for St John.

'The essence of this award is that we use the opportunity to celebrate the effort and actions of an individual whose sole intention was to save the life of another.

'Each and every day there are people across the UK whose efforts in a lifesaving-focused career are benefiting others, but there are also those whose praises deserve to be sung because they 'just happened to be in the right place'.

'We are proud of the award and of our opportunity to recognise some amazing people."

Similar presentations of lifesaving awards are set to take place in September.

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