FC Isle of Man crest

MEET THE VOLUNTEERS: St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance provide us with vital first aid coverage at all of our home games, something that we are extremely grateful for. We recently sat down with Sarah-Jane, Ray, Cat, Lara & Mark to give you the chance to “Meet the Volunteers”.

Q. What led you to joining SJA & how long have you been with them? What are your day jobs?
Sarah-Jane Bell:
I have been a member of St John Ambulance for about 13 years. I originally joined as a
Cadet for part of my Duke of Edinburgh skills and have progressed from there. I have used this experience into my career as a Nurse but I am a Youth Leader at SJA.
Ray Beattie: I joined in 2019, I had recently retired as a Paramedic, and I realised that I had certain skill
sets that could be use during community events, covering all aspects of sports and entertainment
settings. Knowing that you can, and do make a difference at times always gives one self-esteem. I
assist with training at Ramsey St John unit, and also work in the vaccine hub.
Cat Fennell: I joined SJA in 2017 when I was a sifeguard and wanted to expand on my first aid
knowledge. Since joining SJA, I have managed to complete qualifications which has lead me to my
current job as an Emergency Care Assistant with the Isle of Man Ambulance Service which I thoroughly
enjoy.
Lara Ward: I was on a First Aid at Work course and being a SJA volunteer was mentioned. I had been
looking for something that I could do that would benefit the IOM Community so decided to come along
to one of the Division nights and see what it was all about. I have been volunteering now for about 6
years and really love it. My day job is very different, I am a qualified accountant and work in the Finance
Team at Zurich.
Mark Dodd: Back in August 2020/21 season I was approached by the late head of ambulance service
advertising for Paramedics to cover the FC IoM games. I was then signed up as a member of SJA to
work alongside Ray and the Ravennettes. I’ve worked full time for the Isle of Man Ambulance Service for 21 years as a Paramedic where I work very long shifts.


Q. As a team what is your FCIOM Matchday routine?
Before a match we make sure we all know the essentials as to what time the match kicks off, who is
on duty to cover the game, and what equipment we have available for the day as to whether we have an
ambulance. We attend usually an hour before the match kicks off so that we are in the grounds when
spectators begin to arrive. We all have a chat about what we will do if anything happens, who is taking
what role and whether there is anything we need to be aware of on the day. Any new members on with us
on the day get a preview of our dance moves so they can be prepared to join in with us later in the game. Then most importantly, we make sure that we have a hot drink in time for the all-important kick off!

Q: It’s always re-assuring to see SJA at Ravens matches to be first on the scene to provide medical assistance if required, as you did in the AFC Liverpool away game earlier this season. Can you describe what happened that day?
Lara: We were on our first away trip to watch FC IoM v AFC Liverpool with all the other Ravens fans. It was a special occasion as we were all off shift and we were celebrating Cat’s birthday. Once we had arrived in Liverpool we were invited onto the coach with the players to the away football grounds, where we were enjoying watching the first half of the match. It was an exciting game with lots of singing, shouting, and chanting to provide support for the Ravens on the pitch, a very upbeat and happy atmosphere. The score was 4-4 when FC IoM were attacking.
S-J: The Liverpool goalie caught a high ball but unfortunately, he fell awkwardly and appeared
injured. We were automatically concerned that he was injured and wanted to get to him to help. We alerted the stewards that we were SJA members, in particular ambulance crew and a nurse, and we wanted to help the physios that were on the pitch assess the goalkeeper and see whether there was anything we could use to treat him with. 2 of us were finally allowed on the pitch to do a full assessment with the very limited equipment available and the emergency services were called.
Cat: When the goalie came back around, he couldn’t quite remember what had happened and when he was told he had the very important questions of “Did I save the ball? Does the score still stand?”. We stayed with the player and monitored him for as long as we could until we had to leave the grounds to get back to the boat. Everyone who needed to be updated was, and he was made comfortable and warm when he was left in the very capable hands of the physios until the ambulance arrived to bring him to hospital for further critical assessments. We later got updates on how he was doing, and we look forward to seeing him at the home game later in the season.


Q: On a less serious note, the ‘Ravenettes’ are reknowned for the moves you throw to the half time music – who is responsible for the choreog-raphy? Is it true you’ve had auditions for Strictly?
The dance, if you can call it that, originally came from Cat and her daughter dancing and cheering when FC IoM had scored one game whilst they were spectators and not on duty. From there we started off improving on that cheer and have added bits to it over the seasons when we score and at the end of a match if we win. It is amazing seeing people join in in the stands, especially kids

If you are interested in learning more about St John Ambulance, you can contact them by email at info@sja.org.im or by phoning +44 1624 674387