Fans Applaud St John At Centre Stage Of Selhurst Park

Monday, 23 August, 2010

FOOTBALL fans applauded from the stands of Selhurst Park at the weekend, as they were given a half-time opportunity to formally show their appreciation to the men and women of St John Ambulance.

During Crystal Palace's home game against Ipswich Town on Saturday, three members of the St John Ambulance team took to the pitch to thank the club's fans for generously raising thousands of pounds in a heavily supported online campaign.

Fans from Crystal Palace, and other clubs around the UK, donated in their hundreds in a bid to raise some £16,000 for the first aid organisation, in direct response to St John Ambulance London being left with unpaid debts when the former CPFC went into administration.

A JustGiving campaign was launched by long-time fan, Paul Browning, who on Saturday was able to personally greet the St John Ambulance team at the centre of the pitch.

"The strength of feeling among our fans was very clear from the outset," said Paul Browning.

"As the discussion grew on the forum, I came up with the idea of establishing a Just Giving page - and it just developed a momentum all of its own.

"Before we knew it, people were talking about it on Twitter and Facebook, and the money was rolling in."

Talking about the overwhelming response to the fundraising campaign, he added: "I was absolutely astounded by the reaction to our campaign and I'm just so pleased that the power of the internet and social media has allowed us to reach this amazing sum of money for such a great organisation."

Paul Browning joined St John Ambulance London members Chris Moth, Ralph Ashwood and Ron Salter for the half-time celebration on Saturday. The moment was shared with Crystal Palace's mascot, Pete The Eagle.

Dave Bell, Assistant Commissioner Operations, said: 'We have been providing medical cover at football clubs across London for decades. The passion and generosity that was shown in this effort by the Crystal Palace fans really goes to show how valued our work with clubs is and what a difference we make to so many.

'In addition to our members being strategically deployed to react quickly and carry out first aid when and where needed, we also play a significant part in discussions of stadium issues and are able to help put measures in place to ensure best practice.'

He added: 'On behalf of St John Ambulance London (Prince of Wales's) District, I would like to extend a huge thank-you to all those who contributed to the funds.'

For more information about St John Ambulance London (Prince of Wales's) District and its membership opportunities, call 020 7258 7014 or visit:

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