Following a competitive submission process and interview stage, Megan Aldridge and Eleanor Kinloch, members of the Staffordshire and Shropshire Branches of St John Ambulance, were selected to attend an intensive visit to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital at the end of April and early May 2018.
The candidates were selected following a considerable number of applications and follow on the back of the previously organised visit by the Province in 2014.
To fund the visit and provide a significant donation to the Eye Hospital, the R E Provincial Prior, D Gary Read KCT, challenged his Body Guard once again. The Challenge they settled on was to walk nearly 100 miles taking in the Shropshire Way, Silken Way, Millennium Way, and Staffordshire Way in a route that would take them from Ironbridge to Burton-on-Trent in just two days on 14th & 15th April. Members of the Province were asked to support the team by donations and sponsorship.
On 29th April, Megan and Eleanor were met at Manchester Airport by E Kt Bob Haysom P Gt A-de-C, PPr1st Const, and E Kt Paul Molley, PPr Capt of Grd and Body Guard Registrar, who had completed the whole walk, to wish them both bon voyage. Their journey would start in Manchester for a connecting flight at Heathrow where they would meet James Walsh the Hospitaller from the Order of St John, who was attending with them, for their flight to Jerusalem.
Upon arrival, and after only a few hours’ sleep, both Megan and Eleanor were put straight to work! After an early morning hospital induction, they were tasked with training new members of staff at the hospital in life support techniques and managed to complete 45 new members in their first day!
Following on from that, they were engaged in the various clinics that take place at the hospital and were able to assist the Doctors. They also witnessed various operations that take place at the hospital.
Perhaps most interesting trips for Megan and Eleanor were to the outlying villages and communities in the desert where the hospital out-reach team can treat in the field those patients unable to travel to the main hospital.
Some sight seeing was also built into their itinerary as they were fully immersed into life inside Jerusalem City.
During their visit, Megan and Eleanor were able to make an initial presentation of £4,000 to the Eye Hospital. The Provincial Prior is keen to announce the final overall figure at the Provincial Priory meeting on 4th June.
Both Megan and Eleanor arrived safely home and are now preparing a presentation for the next muster of the Staffordshire & Shropshire Preceptory of Installed Preceptors on 14th September. Details of which will be circulated to all Preceptories in the Province.