When Sandra O’Sullivan was admitted to our Inpatient Unit, she was concerned that she would miss out on the St John Ambulance long service awards she had planned to attend. With a bit of help from our chaplaincy team and the Inpatient Unit staff, on Monday 24 October 2016 a special ceremony was held in the Sanctuary to honour her contribution. Sandra was presented with the Seventh Bar to the Service Medal of the Order by John Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, to commemorate 47 years of service to St John Ambulance.

Alison Stevens, Chief Executive of Farleigh Hospice, began the ceremony with a reading of the poem “Dedicated Hearts” by Kelly Roper:

Dedicated hearts like yours
Are not so easy to find.
It takes a special person to be
So generous and kind.
To care so much for your fellow man
Is a quality all too rare.
Yet you give of your time and talents,
For all in need to share.
So thank you for being a volunteer,
We’re privileged to work with you.
We want you to know how appreciated
you are,
Not just today, but always.

Rain Welham-Cobb from St John Ambulance, commented, “having recently taken over as Unit Manager for Youth fairly recently, I was thrilled to see the excellent work Sandra had done. She is a true inspiration to our young members.”


Sandra Francis from St John Ambulance, added “Sandra joined Chelmsford Nursing Cadet Division in 1962 as a junior, then became a cadet. She enjoyed first aid duties and competition work and gained her Grand Prior Award in 1973. Sandra became Divisional Officer at the Cadet Division where she has remained, supporting and nurturing young people, her greatest passion being teaching first aid. Over the years she has introduced hundreds, probably thousands, of young people to basic first aid skills, many of whom have gone on to use them in everyday life or as a base for developing a medical career. Sandra is also very interested in the history of St John and was very proud to be made a Serving Sister in 1988.


“Sandra works tirelessly for the welfare of “her cadets” and has faced difficult times over the past few years with organisational issues and with her health, but she has steadfastly refused to allow the Cadets to suffer and both they and St John owe her a great debt.”

 
Sadly, Sandra passed away three days after the service.