ST John Ambulance in the Isle of Man is to benefit from a major change of structure in the charity in the UK.
The charity has its origins in the Knights Hospitaller and traces its life-saving work back to the time of the Crusades. Having been forced out of its headquarters in Malta by Napoleon in the 18th century, it was resurrected in England in the 19th century by Queen Victoria as a provider and teacher of first aid in support of public occasions.
Under its full title as an Order of Chivalry – the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem – a reorganisation in 1999 created the Priory of England and the Islands, which included the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, treating them English counties.
Now the island, like the two Channel Islands, will become a Commandery, or autonomous entity.
The change will make no difference to the first aid cover provided at events volunteers attend.
However, it means it will be a Manx charity, overseen by local trustees, and will have greater control over its assets, fundraising and policy-making, while retaining links to the best practice, first aid-wise, with the UK body.
The change of structure sees Professor Roger Berry retire from his long-standing role as chairman of St John Ambulance Isle of Man, to be replaced by current Commander, Dr Iain Kewley, chief clinical information officer for the Department of Health.
Dr Kewley’s proper title, in the Order of St John, will be Knight Commander.
Stepping into Dr Kewley’s shoes as head of the operational side of the charity, in the re-titled position of chief officer, will be Bill Castelow.
An engineer with the MEA, Mr Castelow got involved with the charity eight years ago after attending a first aid at work course and signing up his son up for the Cadets.
He undertakes duties at many of the events at which St John Ambulance offers first aid cover and has been a Community First Responder for Ballaugh for five years.
‘I am honoured and humbled to be selected as the new chief officer of St John Ambulance Isle of Man,’ Mr Castelow said. ‘Like many charities in the current climate, we face challenges, including increasing our visibility and our membership, but the new structure should give us more freedom to make our own decisions.
‘I am also privileged to follow on as operational head of the charity from Dr Kewley, who has led us with great gusto over the last six years.’
The Commandery will be inaugurated at a service at St George’s Church, Douglas, at 2pm on Sunday.
Members of the public are invited to a talk by Colonel Sheenah Davies, the Priory of England’s Hospitaller, about the eye hospital in Jerusalem, which is maintained by the Order of St John. It takes place at St John Ambulance Headquarters in Glencrutchery Road, Douglas, on Monday at 7pm, lasts an hour and is free to attend.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 35 mph
Wind direction: North west
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