Thousands of Harrogate students given the gift of life-saving skills

St John Ambulance first Aid training at St Aidan's High School, Harrogate.'Pictured: Caroline Kennedy-Drabble of St John Ambulance showing 12-year-old Dellan Wesley resuscitation techniques. Picture: Gerard Binks.
St John Ambulance first Aid training at St Aidan's High School, Harrogate.'Pictured: Caroline Kennedy-Drabble of St John Ambulance showing 12-year-old Dellan Wesley resuscitation techniques. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Where would we be without the Harrogate Lions? Thanks to the community group's continuing generosity and proactive fundraising, more than 2,000 students from across all of Harrogate's high schools have now been given the gift of life-saving training.

The Lions have worked round-the-clock over the last two years to deliver the important project, funding more than 40 First Aid sessions with St John's Ambulance and the Harrogate First Responders.

First aid trained: Students at Harrogate Grammar School with their certificates.

First aid trained: Students at Harrogate Grammar School with their certificates.

A 2016 study by the British Heart Foundation found that 59 per cent of deaths from injury could have been prevented, and outcomes greatly improved, if a bystander had been equipped with First Aid skills to use before emergency services arrived.

Harrogate Lions member Bernadette Reid, who has taken a lead on this project in schools, said: "We hope that no one ever has to put into practice what they have learnt, but it is so important that young people are equipped with these skills so that they can use them if and when they are required.

"You never know when someone might need First Aid - it could be a friend, a family member, or somebody in the street. Every second counts when someone isn't well, and your actions could save someone's life."

In the UK, only four per cent of the population have had First Aid training - an alarming statistic which Bernadette said highlights the huge need to drum up more interest in learning these life-saving skills.

Proud to be first aid trained: Students from St John Fisher Catholic High School.

Proud to be first aid trained: Students from St John Fisher Catholic High School.

She said: "It is such a low figure, and it is worrying. That's one of the reasons why we've been so driven to do this in schools.

"The most satisfying part has been to see the interest and enthusiasm of these youngsters during the training sessions, and to know that they are all potential lifesavers.

"It has been a real pleasure for the Lions members to be able to visit all of the schools - without exception, the behaviour of staff and pupils has been exemplary. The two St John's trainers who have been doing the sessions visit hundreds of schools, but have said that our students are the most responsive, interactive and well behaved of all. This is a great credit to all of the teachers and parents."

From September 2020, First Aid training will be rolled out as part of the national curriculum - news that has been welcomed with open arms by Bernadette and her fellow Harrogate Lions member.

Harrogate High School students with the immediate past Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Bernard Bateman, and their certificates.

Harrogate High School students with the immediate past Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Bernard Bateman, and their certificates.

The Lions have also played a pivotal role in the installation of defibrillators across the town, and are always keen to support as many good causes as they can.

The schools where students have been First Aid trained are Harrogate High School, Rossett School, Harrogate Grammar School St Aidan's CE High School, and St John Fisher Catholic High School.

The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Stuart Martin, and immediate past Mayor, Coun Bernard Bateman, have previously visited the schools to present First Aid certificates to students.