The magazine for British Red Cross volunteers and staff

Green shoots
Nurturing life in the world’s most secretive state

Issue 95 August 2013

Photos on page 2: (Clockwise starting top left) © Museum and Archives, © Panos Pictures, Gladys McCrea/BRC, © Getty Images. Page 3: © iStock.


Disaster preparedness in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Zip-sliding away in Wales

A story worth telling
The 150th anniversary celebrations give volunteers and staff the perfect chance to get behind a new drive to tell the Red Cross’ story.
Talking clearly about exactly what British Red Cross stands for and the work it does is an ongoing challenge. In today’s fastmoving world, the organisation needs to work harder than ever to get its humanitarian message across. Adrian Thomas, head of media and external relations, said: “As an organisation we’ve got an amazing story to tell – but this is not always easy, because of our size and the vast number of areas we work in.”

Red Cross Life Issue No.95 August 2013 0845 054 7311 Editorial team Editor Miriam Jones Deputy editor Mark Cox Art editor Bryan Meredith Writers Craig Burnett, Ellie Matthews, Alexandra Murdoch Designers Sarah Trentham, Robin Stannard Photography Matthew Percival Abbreviations used: the Movement = International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement ICRC = International Committee of the Red Cross the Federation = International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
Red Cross Life is published by the communications division of the British Red Cross, UK Office, 44 Moorfields, London, EC2Y 9AL. The British Red Cross Society, incorporated by Royal Charter 1908, is a charity registered in England and Wales (220949) and Scotland (SC037738). None of the information contained herein may be copied, reproduced or used for external purposes without specific written authorisation from the British Red Cross. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the British Red Cross. Red Cross Life is printed on chlorine free, 50 per cent recycled paper.


To address this, the Red Cross has launched a new ambassador and spokesperson programme. Look out for senior members of staff, who will be making more regular media appearances, using the 150th anniversary as a way of explaining the Red Cross’ work and values. But all volunteers and staff can do their bit to help. “Word of mouth is a powerful tool,” said Adrian. “Our aim is to give everyone within the Red Cross the chance to tell our story to the outside world; helping us explain better who we are and what we’re good at, to the public and our supporters, as well as friends and family. In the long-term, we will also ask some of the people we help to speak up for us.” A new online hub, called Shared Agenda, is now available on RedRoom to help volunteers and staff talk confidently about the organisation’s work. It is full of useful information, including upcoming events, key messages, facts, figures and hot topics. Adrian said: “We want everyone to be able to say why, for example, we are uniquely placed to deliver aid to those suffering in the humanitarian crisis in Syria at the same time as providing social care services in the UK. The 150th anniversary will help us do just that.”

Event first aid goes from strength to strength

Email: Tel: 020 7877 7029

How to collect case studies
The Red Cross has created a new step-by-step guide on RedRoom to help volunteers and staff collect case studies about beneficiaries and services. Case studies are true stories about how the Red Cross touches people’s lives. They will be used to promote services, win new contracts and let supporters know how their money is being spent. Special forms have been created to make recording people’s stories as easy as possible. There is also guidance about topics such as which questions to ask beneficiaries and how to store the information securely. RedRoom search: case studies

Miriam Jones, editor Last year, I interviewed a remarkable volunteer, now in her 90s, who has served the Red Cross for more than 70 years. During her long career, Pegeen Hill was posted to Korea in 1953 to oversee the exchange of Commonwealth prisoners of war. This was at the end of the conflict which resulted in the north-south division of the country (Red Cross Life, February 2013, page 24). Sixty years on, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) remains a closed society. Working through the DPRK Red Cross and the Federation,

First word

the British Red Cross is funding a programme to help people withstand disasters such as flooding (see page 14). It speaks volumes about the Red Cross’ principles, and the respect for its work around the world, that it was present at the birth of this isolated country and is working there today. And, in the 150th anniversary year of the Red Cross Movement, examples like this show the continuity of our founder, Henry Dunant’s, humanitarian mission. This is my last issue of Red Cross Life, as I am leaving this month. Thank you for reading the magazine – and for sharing your stories and pictures. You are what makes the British Red Cross such an inspiring organisation.

Tell us your story
 us to consider call Martin Cullen If you have a story you would like on 020 7877 7032 or contact The deadline for our December issue is 1 October 2013.

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Photos on page 4: © Matthew Percival, © Rosie Stewart. Page 5: © Lloyd Sturdy (BRC), © Simon Belcher/Alamy.


First aid research gets academic seal of approval
A ground-breaking piece of research by the British Red Cross was published on 28 June by the Emergency Medicine Journal – the leading publication in its field.
In the UK, survey evidence shows that only seven per cent of the population are both skilled and willing to help a stranger. The Red Cross study looked at whether first aid training can increase people’s willingness to help in a crisis. It found that learners were more confident about stepping forward in a medical emergency when the course included activities which explored why they may or may not be able to help. The findings have been incorporated into Red Cross courses. Emily Oliver, first aid project manager, said: “We were confident that our research was good, but to get an academic seal of approval from such a prestigious organisation is fantastic news.”
Miniature marvels: figurines of Lucian Freud in Trafalgar Square and Freddie Mercury outside the Dominion Theatre (inset)

Take a

at refugees...
For Refugee Week 2013, the British Red Cross went all out to celebrate the positive contribution of refugees to our history, heritage and culture. This included commissioning street artist Marcus Crocker to produce eight miniature figurines of refugees, which were left by London landmarks. The models included a micro Freddie Mercury and a little Lucian Freud. Marcus said he hoped to help the public see refugees “not simply as people who have fled persecution, but as people who have the potential to contribute invaluably to our history and heritage – just as Lucian Freud and others did, and continue to do.” These tiny refugees clocked up mentions in the Metro, the Independent, Time Out magazine and on the BBC. The Red Cross blog on the miniature figurines was viewed almost 1,370 times. Other promotion around the week included an interactive timeline, which brought to life the ways the Red Cross has helped refugees over the past 116 years with archive photos. A stop-motion video called Red Balloon traced the journey taken by a newly-arrived refugee, highlighting how far a little kindness can go. In total, Red Cross materials online during Refugee Week 2013 received more than 3,200 likes on Facebook and 24,800 views on YouTube. For more on Refugee Week see page 23.

closer look
What next for Pupil, Citizen, Life-saver campaign?
The government published details of the new statutory English schools curriculum in July, which failed to mention first aid education. This ignores calls by many organisations – including the British Red Cross – to make first aid part of core subjects, such as science and PE. Jonathan Ellis, head of policy, research and advocacy, said: “While it is disappointing that the government has not included first aid in the core curriculum, there are other ways schools can ensure their pupils receive life-saving education. “Over the next few months, we would like volunteers and staff to talk to teachers, head teachers, school governors and their MP to ask them to promote opportunities across the curriculum, including through PSHE, for first aid education in all schools. “Telling your own personal stories about how first aid helps people is a powerful way of getting the message across.” RedRoom search:

Sir Charles Allen to step down as chairman
Sir Charles Allen CBE has notified the board of trustees that he intends to step down as chairman of the British Red Cross. The timing has yet to be confirmed. He has been invited to take up a seat in the House of Lords as a Labour Peer, which he has accepted. Chief executive Sir Nick Young said: “This honour is great news for Sir Charles, and we congratulate him warmly. It is, however, very sad news for us that Charles will be stepping down, in line with our principle of neutrality. “Sir Charles has been a great asset to the British Red Cross since he took up his post in January, and we will miss him greatly.” Chief executive Nick Young said: “After a bit of a break, I’m thrilled that the Excellence Awards are back. It’s important that we all make time to celebrate and share our successes. I hope you will find the new awards easier to enter and more representative of the great work I know is happening across our organisation. I can’t wait to see the entries.”



Fire incident East Sussex, 5 June Five volunteers were deployed to provide welfare support (including food and drink) for fire crews tackling a large fire in Ashdown Forest.

Airport incident West Scotland, 15 June When a plane with 320 passengers had to divert and land at Prestwick Airport following a threat to the plane, volunteers managed a rest centre until the early hours.

Mosque evacuation Walsall, 22 June When a suspicious package was found by a West Midlands mosque, three volunteers attended a rest centre set up for residents forced to leave their homes.

Have you worked on an innovative project, demonstrated good practice or improved the way the Red Cross does things? Have you worked on a project that didn’t go so well and learned from the experience? If so, you can share your work by entering the 2013 Excellence Awards – and help the organisation work better. The revamped awards opened on 22 July and will showcase good practice and learning. They are open to all volunteers and staff, both as individuals and teams. There are four categories to show how you have improved, innovated, excelled and explored. Winners will be supported to share their learning or way of working across the organisation.

Submit your entry, via RedRoom, in the medium of your choice (e.g. video, audio, photographic or written form). It doesn’t matter how you present your work, as long as the judges can understand it. The deadline is 11 October 2013.
020 7877 7384 or RedRoom search: Excellence Awards 2013

Photos on page 6: © Matthew Percival. Page 7: © Stephen Latimer, © Georgina Cranston.

Cash for bangers

step out
Young performers
for the Red Cross
Fourteen teams of young dancers performed routines inspired by the work of the Red Cross at the national final of Dance: Make Your Move.
The final took place at The O2 in London – the culmination of 25 regional heats, involving more than 200 dance groups and 3,500 dancers. Money is still coming in, with the competition set to raise around £80,000. Platinum Youth from Platinum Performing Arts in London won the Junior category. They performed a piece about children who were bombed while playing in the streets of a conflict zone. Team Venus, from the Venus School of Dance in Bristol, won the Senior category. Their performance was based on the Changi Quilt, which was made by women prisoners in Singapore during the Second World War and now hangs in the Red Cross museum in London. Teacher Louise Hopton said: “It was such a good day, such a good experience and to win is just a massive bonus.” Laura (17), from Kobika Dance in High Wycombe, said: “It has been a journey full of fun and laughter. We’ve all learnt a lot about not only the work you do but each other as well.”

Scrap cars can be recycled to raise money for the Red Cross, thanks to a new partnership with a not-for-profit organisation called Giveacar. Giveacar collects cars free-of-charge from anywhere in the UK, regardless of their condition. The cars are then sold through an online auction or disposed of at an authorised treatment facility. Profits from the sale are donated to a charity of the car owner’s choice. Morel Naim, from the corporate partnerships team, said: “Even if the car is scrapped, it can still raise between £40 and £160, while auction cars can raise much more. If you have a banger you need to dispose of, simply contact Giveacar and ask for the money to be donated to the British Red Cross.”

News in brief
New ambulance guidelines New guidance is now available that clearly explains how staff members should buy or lease, manage and dispose of Red Cross ambulances, including patient transport vehicles. Nick Barr, ambulance adviser, said: “In order to have a modern, cost-effective and compliant fleet of ambulances, it makes sense to standardise our vehicles and have an easier process for buying and leasing them. This will really help the Area managers when they come to change vehicles.”  edRoom search: R fleet management Flood awareness show Residents from the flood-prone Cregagh area of south-east Belfast attended an awarenessraising roadshow in June, run by the Red Cross and Castlereagh Borough Council. The event included information on insurance, flood defence products and individual emergency plans, as a way of increasing the community’s resilience.

Actions speak louder than words
Young Red Cross volunteers from five countries met in Derry-Londonderry at the end of June, in a bid to promote community resilience and humanitarian action. The six-day Red Cross Youth Exchange brought together 23 young volunteers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, the UK and Ireland. Liam McCusker, project co-ordinator, said: “During the exchange, we explored the themes of human dignity, conflict and migration, through activities such as community visits, discussions and role-play.” The event culminated in a Community Fun Day, which the young people planned and ran. This helped develop communication between cultures and raised awareness of the Red Cross locally and internationally. Activities included arts for children, a drama performance and a video production.

‘Train crash’ tests volunteers’ nerve
One of the largest emergency exercises in the UK took place in Lincolnshire on 21 May – and British Red Cross volunteers and staff were in the thick of the action. The simulated train crash and chemical spill near Lincoln, called Exercise Georgiana, tested the plans of the Red Cross, emergency services, public sector bodies and other voluntary organisations. At a survivors’ reception centre near the staged crash site, Red Cross volunteers helped actors playing people affected by the derailment. This involved bringing them to the centre, giving emotional and practical support, working with emergency service staff and giving first aid. Red Cross teams also rehearsed how they would co-ordinate the response to an emergency incident.

CES raises the bar The British Red Cross community equipment service (CES) has achieved several new accreditations, which will enhance its reputation with commissioners and service users. CES currently has contracts to provide independent living equipment for local authorities and the NHS in Nottinghamshire. In April, it was one of the first CES providers in the UK to achieve accreditation under the Community Equipment Code of Practice Scheme. This comes on top of receiving two other quality management accreditations, for environmental management and occupational health and safety – both firsts for the British Red Cross. “As well as being a great achievement by the team, it is all part of providing a high quality service to our users while becoming more competitive,” said Douglas Armour, director of community equipment services.

Alisa Avdic, a volunteer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “I gained an insight into how to address certain issues, such as problems faced by immigrants and how to develop an awareness of humanitarian law. I also gained many friends and experienced something I will remember for a lifetime.”

Photos on page 8: © iStock.

Made to measure services

Damien Mosley
Volunteer fundraiser, London Damien is one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers we’ve had in the London fundraising team. He came to us first as a bucket collector but quickly took on the additional responsibility of coordinating multiple collections across London for Christmas and Red Cross Week. Everyone comments on his warmth and cheeriness. This year he collected an astonishing £691 for Red Cross Week and in the last six months alone has banked over £3,500 through his coordinated collections – a tremendous credit to his dedication. “I love that lift you get when the first person puts some change in your bucket,” says Damien. “It eliminates all the nerves and your confidence grows with each smile that’s exchanged. You know every penny is going to a great cause and it always amazes me just how quickly it all adds up.” London fundraising team


Crime scene support
Distraction burglaries, where thieves trick their way into people’s homes, are frightening crimes that cause distress as well as the loss of property. The British Red Cross is working with Bedfordshire Police to look after people affected by them. The problem
Victims of distraction burglaries are often older or vulnerable people. While they are visited by the police when they report the crime, officers can rarely stay for long – and there is often a gap of one or two days before people are contacted again by Victim Support.

WALES 2012

What the Red Cross does
In the hours after a burglary, Red Cross fire and emergency support volunteers step in to make sure victims feel safe and reassured. While volunteers can help sort out practical issues such as ringing insurance companies and boarding up windows, they also give vital emotional support. They have been trained to explain the police investigation process in layman’s terms, to give people a better understanding of what officers are doing in their homes. They also make follow-up calls to continue the support after they have left.

wheelchairs loaned from 23 locations

The result
Since its launch in September 2011, the service has helped dozens of households cope after a break-in. Distraction burglaries often happen in waves – in April 2013, volunteers helped people affected by a string of four in one night. Alex Evans, emergency planning and response coordinator, said: “These people were very, very vulnerable. They were so pleased to see us – someone had invaded their personal space, and they were at a complete loss.”


First aid for poisoning and harmful substances
 Establish what the person has taken. When? And how much? The emergency services will want to know this information.
Glam rocks Roll out the red carpet – a serious helping of glamour and glitz has arrived at the Crickhowell shop. The Welsh store is now larger than ever thanks to its new handbags and glad rags department. The new area has doubled the size of the shop and gives customers a chance to hire evening wear, including hats and ballgowns. Smart ideas boost art sales Volunteers and staff at the Northwich shop in Cheshire have been getting creative to sell art and crafts products. They have turned a blank section of wall into a micro-gallery, promoting artwork and frames. The shop also held a handcrafted weekend, using an eye-catching display to attract customers.

people kept warm and safe at a rest centre in St Asaph, set up after heavy flooding


Bikers splash out in Barton Easy riders dug deep to help a Lincolnshire shop raise almost £1,000. The Barton on Humber shop opened late for the annual Barton Bike Night, which sees thousands of motorcyclists and bike lovers roar into the village to enjoy live music, stalls and much more. The shop team prepared for the event throughout the year by saving motorbike wear and memorabilia, which went on sale alongside similar items from other Red Cross shops in the area. Bikers with rumbling stomachs also refuelled with tea and cake at the shop, which raised £928 on the night.

 As soon as possible, call 999 or get someone else to do it. The substance could be extremely harmful and the person may need urgent medical attention. Do not make the person sick.

journeys made with the transport support service

new cases taken on by international family tracing volunteers and staff

47, 45
hours of visits made by support at home volunteers and staff



Photos on page 10: © Sarah Oughton BRC, © ICRC. Page 11 : © Boris Heger/ICRC.


from Afghanistan
Working here is both fascinating and challenging. I visit places of detention on a regular basis, which can be difficult in a conflict zone, but the ICRC does what it can to ensure detainees’ physical and mental well-being. Alongside its confidential dialogue with authorities on conditions of detention across Afghanistan, the ICRC distributes around 30,000 winter FACTBOX kits to detainees each year. These contain blankets, jumpers, In Afghanistan, the ICRC and hygiene items to make the works to help and protect winter more bearable for those victims of armed conflict in detention. including detainees, the wounded and disabled. The Afghanistan is a very complicated organisation talks to all sides place, but the feeling you can of the conflict to ensure make a difference, no matter how acceptance for its work and small, makes it all worthwhile. adherence to international Rory Moylan, ICRC protection humanitarian law. delegate in Afghanistan

In a high-tech world, where people across the globe can find out about a disaster minutes after it has happened, aid agencies are asking how technology can be used to communicate with those affected. The Red Cross first began using digital communications to help communities during the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2010. And now a new project in Sierra Leone is using mobile phone technology to save lives. The location-targeted text messaging system – called the Trilogy Emergency Relief Application (TERA) – can reach 36,000 people in a specific location within an hour. It allows the Red Cross to warn Sierra Leoneans of impending disasters, such as floods and outbreaks of disease. In a country still recovering from a long-running civil war and a cholera outbreak which killed hundreds of people last year, the Red Cross hopes that this new system will stop preventable diseases becoming fatalities. Sharon Reader, Red Cross beneficiary communications delegate, said: “The system is a life-saver. We can use it to warn people in emergencies and to give them vital information on preventing diseases like malaria and cholera. “Even better, this is a two-way system so we can quickly assess the areas with the greatest need after an emergency and respond to requests for information on a large scale. Using technology in this way is really helping us improve the effectiveness of our aid operations.” In a recent survey, 96 per cent of people who received a text from the Red Cross said the information was useful and, as a result, 90 per cent of those made a change to their lifestyle. The Red Cross plans to launch this system in 40 countries over the next five years, sending out disaster warnings and advice to millions of people.


At least 93,000 people have now been killed during the conflict – including 20 Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers. Almost seven million people have fled their homes. Since the unrest began in 2011, the British Red Cross has given over £8 million to support the Movement’s operations in Syria and neighbouring countries. Since the conflict began, the British Red Cross has helped support their day-today operations, sent experienced delegates to the country and helped to pay for: > 123,400 blankets > 46,000 tarpaulins > 45,300 hygiene kits > 61,700 mattresses > 10,200 kitchen sets > 36,570 food parcels > 150 pairs of overalls for volunteers > eight ambulances and five surgical kits.




> Capital BAKU > Population 9.4 MILLION1 > Life expectancy MEN 68 YEARS, WOMEN 74 YEARS2 > UN Human Development Index RATED 82 OUT OF 186 COUNTRIES

HUMANITARIAN CONTEXT The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a violent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh territory. Hundreds of thousands of people on both sides were forced to leave their homes. Ceasefire violations, along with the presence of mines, continue to make life dangerous for those living near the contested border area. Most of these people rely on farming to earn a living, but since fighting began many have lost land, making it difficult for them to meet their basic daily needs.

World Bank 2012, 2 BBC country profile

BRITISH RED CROSS SUPPORT Since 2011, the British Red Cross has been working with the Azerbaijan Red Crescent and the ICRC to support people in the conflictaffected areas. Red Cross cash grants have helped hundreds of people make a living through cattle breeding, farming and running shops.

CASE STUDY: RAMIL AND NARMINA Ramil and Narmina used their Red Cross grant to pay for Narmina’s healthcare because she was sick with kidney problems. Without this support, they would have been forced to sell their only cow – whose milk they rely on. Before the conflict, Ramil was a truck driver and welder. But due to the lack of jobs, the couple are now reliant on their livestock and health to work. Ramil said: “Before, we had everything but the bombs forced us to leave, and when we returned there was nothing left. Everybody wants to live a better life and we will do our best.”

The British Red Cross has funded several delegates to work in communities in Jordan, where the majority of Syria refugees are living. It is funding unconditional cash grants for around 375 Syrian families and is supporting the Jordanian Red Crescent with running costs.

The British Red Cross worked with the Turkish Red Crescent to help Syrians in seven refugee camps along the border. It provided 34,000 mattresses, 2,750 electric heaters, 6,000 tarpaulins and gave 11,500 hygiene parcels to around 6,800 Syrian families.

Written by Mark Cox




Sunning it up at Silverstone, rocking out with Mumford and Sons …event first aiders are at the heart of many major UK events this summer. Here are five reasons why the service is going from strength to strength.


Been to many big events this summer? If so, you may well have spotted a Red Cross emblem among the crowds. The Red Cross is now providing first aid cover at more major UK events than ever before. This includes five major fixtures at Silverstone racing circuit and a series of huge summer concerts at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. According to Richard Hankins, head of event first aid: “The new contracts we’ve won in recent months are a real game-changer. Silverstone, for example, is one of the biggest event venues in the UK.” He’s not kidding. At the first Silverstone event alone (the British Grand Prix), 250 volunteers provided 24-hour cover over three days for around 250,000 spectators. According to Peter Williams, service manager: “Volunteers came along from every corner of the UK to join in this massive logistical operation. It was a brilliant team effort.” So why the focus on big occasions? Richard explains: “Major events currently account for just three per cent of our activity, but make up 60 per cent of the casualties needing our treatment. “Ultimately, we’re here to reach people who need our help and that’s much more likely to occur at larger venues.”

Bigger events

Photos: Page 12: © Sports Illustrated/Getty Images. Page 13: ©Tim Mossford Photography/UNP, © Sam Frost/BRC.


forward. All these vehicles are fitted with modern equipment and the latest developments in infection control.” He added: “Our entire fleet will now be centrally bought or leased. It will be gradually replaced with these new vehicles as old vehicles reach the end of their life.” Other event first aid features include secure radio systems, paramedic support, field hospitals, bicycle first aiders and, as of this year, even first aid motorbikes. The Red Cross is also accredited with the Care Quality Commission which, in the past two years, has made 14 surprise audit visits. No nasty surprises awaited them. Richard says: “We’ve shown 100 per cent compliance with their standards and they’re completely happy with us.” Positive feedback is always crucial to success and, last year, a resounding 98 per cent of event organisers were pleased with the Red Cross. A massive 99 per cent of customers also said they would recommend the organisation if the opportunity arose. Obviously such high ratings translate into a high level of repeat bookings. Richard says: “We’re performing much better than many of our competitors in the voluntary first aid sector and, in many cases, winning contracts directly from them.” And it’s not only event organisers who are turning to the Red Cross. Richard adds: “We’re winning more and more ambulance support work with the NHS, which is a sure sign the statutory authorities recognise our worth.” It’s encouraging that event first aid is winning new business and getting better equipment, but all the festival contracts and swanky ambulances in the world wouldn’t be much use without the single resource that powers the whole Red Cross operation – its volunteers. Besides committing to thousands of hours of duty, event first aiders have also been “skilling up”. Volunteers are now trained to administer both Loratadine (to protect against allergies) and Salbutamol (for asthma sufferers). And as Red Cross ambulances modernise, volunteer crews have been trained to operate new and improved equipment. Now all that’s needed is more volunteers. Richard says: “There’s never been a better time to join the service. You’ll get excellent training, attend all kinds of exciting events and have many opportunities to help people in need.”

2013 event highlights


Olympic Park summer events

British Grand Prix T in the Park
Malmesbury, Wiltshire Balado, Kinross-shire

Happy customers


Where have all these new events come from? The answer can partly be traced to a small Red Cross office in Knutsford in Cheshire where, last year, the event first aid service set up a new sales team. The team’s brief was to concentrate purely on winning contracts for larger-sized events and they soon massively exceeded all expectations. Their target was to make £160,000 within the first year – they actually brought in £307,000. Richard said: “Having a central sales team has enabled us to have a more joined-up approach and negotiate with clients on a national level. “For example, we’ve just won a prestigious contract with Action Medical Research to cover their events all across the UK. That simply wouldn’t have happened if we’d been dealing with them on an Area-by-Area basis.”

Super sales team



Great volunteers!


International Balloon Fiesta Burghley Horse Trials

Ambulances are central to the Red Cross’ event first aid offer, so making sure they are modern, safe and in line with current legislation is crucial. Nick Barr, ambulance advisor, explains: “We recently agreed new specifications for new Red Cross ambulances, which represent a big leap

Better equipment and standards


Great North Run


Really wish you were here

As thousands of people across the world remember their missing loved ones on International Day of the Disappeared (30 August), the Red Cross is highlighting their plight.
For some people, family occasions will always be tinged with a sense of sadness. According to Emily Knox, head of international family tracing: “For people with missing relatives, not knowing the fate of their loved one is an ever-present anguish. “There’s always an awful uncertainty because, while the person is not actually there, the hope that they might still be alive is always present. They exist in a kind of limbo.”

‘Ambiguous image’ That sense of loss and uncertainty in people’s lives is at the heart of the British Red Cross’ campaign to promote International Day of the Disappeared this year. The organisation has produced a postcard depicting a family portrait with a semi-transparent, ‘missing’ father at its core. Reflecting the true-life situation with such families, he is central to the family unit, but physically not there at all. Emily adds: “The postcard will feature in our media and online coverage, and giant-sized versions will also be on display at Red Cross shops in London, Glasgow, Cardiff and Matlock.” The Red Cross will hold scores of events across the UK to show support for those with missing relatives, run a creative writing competition and hand out distinctive flower-shaped bookmarks.
Last year, the British Red Cross began looking for more than 900 missing family members, and found 243 people.

seCRetIVe country
Political tensions surrounding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have left its people isolated from the rest of the world. In this highly sensitive situation, the Red Cross must tread carefully to help vulnerable communities.

Preparing for disasters in the world’s most

Photos: Page 14: © Michael Tsegaye. Page 15: © Adam Dean/Panos, © Jeremy Horner/Panos.

Written by Alexandra Murdoch Red Cross staff and volunteers are globally admired for their ability to work in the toughest places. From conflict-affected cities in Syria, to the overcrowded refugee camps of east Africa, the Red Cross is renowned for reaching people in crisis. But in a country where the use of mobile phones and the internet is tightly restricted and total obedience to the state is unquestioned – the Red Cross’ programme must take a very sensitive approach. For decades, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been one of the world’s most secretive countries and one of few still under communist rule. As a self declared ‘juche’ or ‘selfreliant’ state, DPRK’s nuclear ambitions have kept it isolated from the rest of the world – with aid providing an increasingly important lifeline. But with 16 million people suffering malnutrition and large swathes of the country prone to natural disasters such as flooding and landslides, the Red Cross is using its respected position to reach communities and help people prepare for emergencies.

“In an attempt to cultivate more land for food production, the country has seen large-scale deforestation over the last decade. But this scarcity of trees during the rainy season results in landslides and floods. “The Federation, with support from the British Red Cross, is organising large-scale tree planting projects. Trees help structure the soil, absorb water and limit the damage of excessive rainfall. We will also be training people in how to increase seed production to help them grow more food.” While tree planting is not a new method, past attempts have seen communities plant thousands of seedlings to find that only ten per cent survive. Working alongside local technicians, the Red Cross is training people in planting and agro-forestry, increasing the tree survival rate to 70 per cent. Kim Hed Un is one of many people who have repeatedly experienced natural disasters. The 15-year-old recalls: “The floods came twice. The first time we lived in the mountains and the walls of our house fell down as a landslide came crashing in. We then moved to the village, but flooding caused our new house to fill with water.” Having seen the Red Cross planting projects first-hand, Kim is contributing to the reforestation of her country: “It is important to plant trees to prevent future landslides and floods, as well as cultivate fruit trees that will provide more food for the village,” she says. “Living in the city would probably be easier – but I would rather stay in the countryside and make life better for people here.”

respond to the needs of disaster-affected people in a timely way. And the training is paying off. Last year, south Pyongan province suffered its worst flood in the last 100 years, yet the number of casualties was relatively small. The Red Cross credits the early warning and evacuation systems set up as part of the training. As soon as the warning was sounded, Red Cross staff and volunteers immediately began evacuating people to safety points, saving lives.

Photos: Page 16/17: © Morten Hvaal/IFRC, © Vivian Paulsen/Norwegian Red Cross.

Challenging circumstances

Preventing landslides

A devastating cycle

Severe flooding in DPRK last year forced over 241,000 people from their homes and destroyed 121,998 hectares of farmland. This compounded existing chronic food shortages. The country’s rigid self-reliance means its people must produce their own food if they are to eat – but recurrent floods and landslides have continually destroyed crops, making this impossible. Razmi Farook, British Red Cross east and south-east Asia representative, explains how this can become a devastating cycle: “DPRK has been unable to produce enough to feed its population, with an annual deficit of one million tonnes of food.

The political crisis facing DPRK could become a challenge to international humanitarian organisations working there. Razmi explains: “It is becoming more difficult to make bank transfers of funds into DPRK, which could have an effect on the day-to-day running of our operations. “We also try to buy relief items within the country, because we could face problems importing them.” Despite political tensions, it is crucial that staff and volunteers are able to continue helping communities at risk of disaster. Razmi explains why the Red Cross is uniquely positioned to do this: “Our partner is the DPRK Red Cross Society, not the government. As the largest humanitarian organisation in the country, the DPRK Red Cross has a well-recognised role supporting vulnerable communities – and will work unfalteringly to help them reduce the effects of disaster.”

Red Cross activities in DPRK

> Distributing medicine to a third

Training saves lives

The DPRK Red Cross Society is also making sure it is in the best position to respond to future disasters. Staff members have received training to better

of the population > Running 2,500 first aid posts in remote villages > Reinforcing rivers, building dykes and establishing early warning systems to prepare for disasters > Prepositioning disaster response items > Tree planting > Strengthening food security

1. Washed away: a woman stands by her home, destroyed by flooding in 2011 2. Healthcare: a woman visits a clinic to get medicine for her twins, supplied by the Red Cross 3. Preventing erosion: Red Cross volunteers lead a tree planting programme


Saved by supermarket first aiders
When Nessa Humphries (below right) was struck by a car outside a supermarket, two Red Cross first aiders were fortunately on hand to help out. As she lay on the ground, Nessa – from County Antrim – knew she was badly injured and shouldn’t try to move. (She had suffered fractures to both her shoulder and hip.) But as concerned passers-by gathered round to offer reassurance, the pensioner had a moment of good fortune. Husband and wife first aid team, Jack and Liz Forde (right), heard the supermarket tannoy request for medical help and rushed outside. The couple immediately called an ambulance and, while assessing the injuries, made her comfortable with a blanket and support for her head. Nessa recalled: “I looked up and there was the Red Cross. They just took over and organised everyone – they were excellent.” Following a fortnight in hospital, Nessa was moved to a nearby community hospital for rehabilitation – where she received an unprompted visit from Jack, Liz and some other volunteers. She said: “I just turned round and there was a crowd of people in high-visibility jackets – all there to visit me! We had a great laugh.” And once Nessa was well enough to go home, the Red Cross’ mobility aids service stepped in to loan her a wheelchair.

Sally’s scorching Sahara challenge
Marathon runner and keen mountaineer Sally Camm, from Stathern in Leicestershire, is used to pushing herself to the limit. But in April she set herself the ultimate endurance test: to run more than 150 miles across the Sahara desert to raise £10,000 for the Red Cross. Sally took part in the Marathon des Sables, which involves running nearly six marathons in six days across the desert. Runners had to carry everything they needed to survive the hostile terrain, apart from a tent and water. Sally, who works for Capital One, said: “So many people supported me by donating to the British Red Cross. I chose the charity as it was important to me that people understood where their sponsorship money was going. The great thing is that everyone has heard of the Red Cross and can relate to the work it does. “The race itself was definitely a challenge. We were running in temperatures of up to 54°C. Your feet swell in the heat, causing terrible blisters. “When I finished I was quite euphoric for the first few moments, but then I felt sad it was all over. There was just something lovely about being in the desert, and how beautiful it was, as well as the camaraderie with the other runners.” Whether you’re addicted to extreme challenges or enjoy more sedate walks in the countryside, there’s a Red Cross sponsored event to suit you. Visit

Get to in know someone the time it takes to in the time it takes boil an egg to boil an egg
Take a sneaky peek at the lives of some of our volunteers across the country. This issue, meet youth manager and wonder volunteer Wendy Solesbury.

Soft-boiled volunteer Get to know someone

Photos: Page 18: © K Kortebein/BRC, © BRC. Page 19: © Aaron McCracken/UNP, © BRC, © BRC, © BRC.

You’ve just been awarded an MBE. Should we bow or curtsey? Just touch the hem of my garment. What’s the MBE for? Services to the British Red Cross, and my work during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

First aiders at

Monaco Grand PriX
Each year, the Red Cross sends a first aid team to provide cover at the race. Team leader Linda Izquierdo-Ross reports: “Most people probably imagine this duty involves looking at nice cars and occasionally waving at Lewis Hamilton as he drives past. “Actually, it’s pretty hard work. Monaco is mostly set on a series of hills, so first aiders are constantly hiking up and down in hot weather with 30 kilos of equipment on their backs. “On the first day, we helped a race marshal who got a minor face-burn from the rubber that flies off the racing car tyres. Then, on the second day, a spectator had a nasty accident – falling four metres and bashing her head. “A Red Cross team stretchered her out of the facility – which was like an assault course, up and down countless steps and through narrow tunnels. “There wasn’t a dull moment. The Italian Red Cross rescued a cardiac casualty from a boat in the harbour; the Belgian Red Cross drove injured driver Felipe Massa to hospital; and our volunteers were standing a metre away when Charles Pic’s car caught fire, and had to quickly push people back to a safe distance. “There’s no denying – it was a special trip.”

Aren’t all young people horrid? Of course not! The young people involved in the Red Cross are amazing. Been with the Red Cross for… 39 years as a volunteer. I know that’s a very long time, but each day brings something new and interesting. Weirdest volunteer experience? Lying on the tarmac under a plane, being sprayed by water from a fire engine. (Of course, this was during an emergency exercise.) Special skill? Being able to read upside down. Desert island disc We are the champions, by Queen. How many Facebook friends do you have? Over 150 from across this wonderful world. (It saves so much on phone bills.) Preferred superpower Being able to fly, especially on the M25. I just can’t say no to... Cheese. I love it. Motto “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” (Winston Churchill)

Pensioner couple who were
Devoted couple Stafford and Linda Robinson, from Stoke-on-Trent, are used to relying on each other as they have no family support – but now they also have the Red Cross. Linda, who has been unwell for years, recently left hospital following a nine-month stay. Stafford was struggling to cope alone so a support at home team helped clean the couple’s house ready for her return. Sadly, just five days later, Linda was readmitted to hospital, leaving a worried Stafford stranded at home. But again, the Red Cross came to the rescue by driving the pensioner to visit his wife. But the worst wasn’t over yet. Stafford then fell ill with a chest

‘at the end of the line’
infection, so support worker Liz Whitehead started making hospital visits to Linda on his behalf. Linda said: “When Liz told me Stafford was getting help and support at home, I can’t tell you how it made me feel. It really helped me to get better quicker.” Looking back, Stafford said: “We were in an ‘end of the line’ situation and I really breathed a sigh of relief when the Red Cross came on the scene.” Linda is now enjoying her best health in years, and Stafford feels they can at last look to the future. He said: “The Red Cross volunteers were invaluable – their help has been a real life-saver.”


An emergency education
Written by Craig Burnett


Q. A.

Photos Page 20: © Callum Bennetts/Maverick Photo Agency. Page 21: © De Agostini/Getty Images, © tunart/iStock.

What links Napoleon, two music lovers and a gleaming new Red Cross building?
– before Willie Anderson bought it from a London dealer in 1957. Siblings Willie and Muriel, who lived together, were both keen amateur violinists. But the Molitor was only played occasionally, and spent much of its time in Northern Ireland stored under a bed. When Willie died in 1988, Muriel gave the violin to the Red Cross, and it was sold in London for £195,000. Years later, it fetched £2.3 million – then the highest price ever paid for a musical instrument. Muriel herself died in 1992. For decades a trust created with profits from the sale has supported vital Red Cross work in Derry. Now it is helping the organisation reach even more people in crisis by funding the move to Muriel Anderson House – a new home for Red Cross services in the area including emergency response, wheelchair loan, care in the home and humanitarian education. The 3,500 sq. ft building features a purpose-built volunteer training suite. It will also give Red Cross first aid trainers a great base for practical, hands-on training courses that will help save lives across the region. Katy Williamson, British Red Cross community legacy manager, said: “In 2012, gifts in wills made up 28 per cent of our net voluntary income – more than £18 million. The generosity of people who remember us in their will, however much they leave, is truly amazing.”

When children and teenagers head back to school next month, many will mix maths and English with lessons tackling humanitarian issues – about topics including child soldiers, HIV and the impact of food shortages and floods. British Red Cross teaching resources are bringing these issues alive in the classroom, giving young people vital skills that will help them cope in a crisis and understand the wider world. The downloadable resources are free for teachers to use and include lesson plans, activities, pictures and videos to bring topics alive for young people.

Nadia Robinson, education on the web commissioning editor, says: “We look at events from a humanitarian perspective, encouraging young people to think about what it is like to be in certain situations. We want to help them empathise with others and think how they would react themselves. “It helps young people recognise a crisis when it happens to them. How would they make sure it doesn’t happen again?” The resources are designed to encourage discussion. Nadia says: “We use really powerful press photos, so teachers can ask their students ‘trigger questions’ about what’s happening.”

“Students became more understanding and tolerant of different cultures and personalities.”

Economic crisis This lesson plan challenges students to think about the impact of a financial crisis, using the recent turmoil in Cyprus as an example. Young people are asked to think about issues and challenges linked to such a crisis – from the sort of items you might put in a food parcel, to how being given help can affect people’s feelings of dignity and self-respect. Introducing first aid This assembly plan, aimed at pupils aged five to 11, is based on the example of a boy who breaks his arm on his way to football practice. Pupils use role play to learn basic first aid, including how to call 999 and ask for help. As well as picking up practical tips, they think about how they would feel if a crisis happened to them or someone they know. Photographer’s dilemma Students see photos of a woman trapped in her car with floodwater all around. The journalist who took them could not reach the woman – but should he have kept taking pictures? After talking about the situation, young people hear the thoughts of the photographer himself.

The answer is a Stradivarius violin known as the Molitor. The antique is one of the most expensive musical instruments ever made – and has helped pay for an amazing new Red Cross centre in Derry, offering support and training to help people in crisis. The violin was left to the organisation as a legacy gift by Derry residents Willie and Muriel Anderson, in thanks for the care they had received from the Red Cross in their old age. Red Cross volunteer Rina Keys delivered meals to the pair, and also helped them visit each other during stays in hospital. She says: “It was the sort of thing we did for lots of other people. But Willie said ‘we’ve never had such kindness in all our lives’.” The instrument was made in 1697 by legendary violin craftsman Antonio Stradivari, and is thought to have been later owned by Napoleon. Over the centuries it was traded between owners in France, America and the UK

Dates for your diary
9 – 13 September is British Red Cross Legacy Awareness Week. The organisation will highlight the role of legacy income in helping people in crisis, and encourage volunteers and staff to talk about gifts in wills with beneficiaries and supporters. Want to make a will and support the British Red Cross at the same time? This November, solicitors taking part in Will Aid are offering their will-writing services for a donation instead of their usual fee. The proceeds will be split between nine charities including the Red Cross. Find out more at

Tell teachers and schools you know about the British Red Cross’ thought-provoking education resources, available for download at


Hampshire: Earl cuts ribbon in Portsmouth
Quentin Wallop, 10th Earl of Portsmouth, was guest of honour at the opening of a new Red Cross office in Portsmouth on 26 June. The new building will enable the Red Cross to provide better support to vulnerable people in the city and in Hampshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight. After the opening ceremony, Lord Portsmouth presented awards to some of the Area’s most dedicated volunteers. Mary Verrier and Judy Stokes both received 70-year service awards and Alan Williams, former manager of the Red Cross Balfour Museum, received a Badge of Honour.

Hertfordshire: Happy birthday, Harpenden North Wales:
Daredevil fundraisers went head-first into a white-knuckle fundraising challenge in North Wales this summer. In June, seven courageous thrillseekers took on an 80mph ride on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest zip-wire to raise money for the Red Cross. The Big Zipper at Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda, North Wales, has two spectacular zip-lines – the largest of which is more than a mile long. The daredevils were strapped into a sling at the top of the quarry before zooming in a horizontal position over sights including a beautiful mountain lake. The historic slate quarry, parts of which are still in operation, was once the largest in the world. The fantastic flying fundraisers raised more than £1,700 for the Red Cross.
Volunteers in Harpenden retraced their history for a 75th anniversary celebration in June. Photographs and memorabilia filled the hall where the Hertfordshire 48 Detachment, as it was then called, held its first training courses in 1938. Many items from the detachment’s Second World War first aid post were on display, including china bedpans, instrument trays and a bandage winder. Marion Donaldson, from Harpenden centre, said: “We were delighted to share our pride in the work of the Red Cross in Harpenden over three quarters of a century.”

Oxfordshire: Horseback historian is mane attraction
Dianne Godfrey (64) harnessed her interests in horses and history, riding 200 miles in 17th-century battle dress to raise more than £500 for the Red Cross. Dianne, who enjoys taking part in re-enactments of English Civil War battles, rode on horseback from Cornwall to Oxfordshire in May, visiting various battle sites on the way. She took her two horses, Fred and Harry, on the challenge and was joined by other riders along the way, including her sister. Dianne finished her challenge in Wantage, at a memorial to Robert Loyd Lindsay, founder of the British Red Cross. She said: “I met Thomas Loyd, one of Loyd Lindsay’s descendents, who still lives nearby. It seemed to complete the picture.”

Perfect pitch for wheelchair appeal
Classical pianist Janina Fialkowska gave a recital at Gateshead’s Sage theatre in April, raising £20,000 for the Red Cross – and renewing a childhood friendship. Elspeth Straker, Northumberland Red Cross president, grew up with Janina in Montreal, Canada. The women were out of touch for more than 50 years, until Elspeth contacted Janina to ask her to perform for the Red Cross. Elspeth said: “When Janina’s father was a little boy in Poland, in 1918, his family received food from Red Cross soup kitchens and food parcels. He said that they would not have survived without this help. “We knew each other so well as children and we just picked up from where we left off. It was wonderful to be together again.” In 2002, Janina had cancer in her shoulder, which left her paralysed in her left arm. She overcame this to resume her career in 2010 and, despite still having limited mobility in her arm, recently won a BBC Music Award. The money will go towards the Red Cross’ Wheelchair Appeal in Northumberland.

Nationwide celebrations for Refugee Week
Refugee Week 2013 saw events take place across the country – raising awareness of the role refugees have played in shaping the UK’s history, heritage and culture. Kicking things off on 16 June, a temporary pavilion – ‘the embassy for refugees’ – was set up on the South Bank in London. It hosted talks, workshops, and musical and spoken word performances from performers such as Sarah Yaseen and Hollie McNish. In Norwich, people had the opportunity to explore a ‘refugee camp’ and see the challenges people who flee their homes face. At the Red Cross’ Newcastle office, asylum seekers spoke about their experiences and there was an exhibition of sculptures and paintings by Fetlework Tesfaye representing the asylum process. Theatre company Ice and Fire performed readings from the Asylum Monologues at the Refugee Week Scotland Media Awards in Glasgow. In Plymouth, the Red Cross helped put on a football festival and a fashion show at the university. The show featured traditional clothes, circus acts, live Filipino dance and music from around the world. Throughout the week, many more celebrations took place throughout the UK – including photography exhibitions, film screenings, food festivals and family fun days. There were also workshops and debates with schoolchildren, designed to encourage awareness and empathy.  see page 4 for more on Refugee Week

West Midlands: CPR hits the high street
Life-saving skills were on display at the Red Cross shop in Acocks Green, Birmingham, on 14 June. First aid volunteers and staff gave customers the chance to learn skills such as cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and find out more about volunteering. Laura Walker, event first aid manager for Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands, said: “This is a fantastic partnership between our first aid and retail teams in Birmingham to introduce basic life-saving techniques to the local community, right on the main shopping street.”

Gas training and folk cures in wartime Lincolnshire

Awards Birthday Honours for dedicated trio
Three Red Cross volunteers were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2013. Wendy Solesbury was awarded an MBE for services to the British Red Cross, the Olympics and Paralympics. Wendy has been involved with the Red Cross for 39 years, both as a volunteer and a staff member (see soft-boiled volunteer, page 19). Norman Woods, who joined the Red Cross in 1965, received a BEM. Norman worked with the Red Cross in Greater Manchester for many years. From 1974 he coordinated first aid at numerous major events, including the Pope’s visit to the city in 1981. He also helped to organise a communication and rest centre for local volunteers and emergency services during the first Gulf War and organised volunteers at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He is now chair of Somerset volunteer council and trains volunteers in first aid. Jeannette Harrison, who began volunteering for the charity in 1984, was also given a BEM. Jeannette was initially a fundraiser and a first aider, and then took responsibility for all commercial first aid training in Humberside. Jeannette has volunteered tirelessly for the Red Cross for a number of services, including fundraising, training and event first aid and fire and emergency support.

Photos on page 24: © Museum and Archives/BRC, © Matthew Percival/BRC. Page 25: © Museum and Archives/BRC.

Audrey Chitty died on 12 May, aged 79. She joined the British Red Cross in Stevenage in 1966 and held many positions, including centre organiser, fundraiser and medical loan organiser. Carol Jones-Gummer died on 16 May, aged 75. Carol, a volunteer for more than 45 years, was involved in event first aid and training in Worcestershire and Herefordshire. She was awarded Badges of Honour for Meritorious and Outstanding Service. Marjorie Machin died on 13 March, aged 93. Based in Staffordshire, Marjorie was a volunteer for more than 50 years, involved in everything from event first aid to tracing. Highlights of her career included receiving Vietnamese refugees in Eccleshall in 1980 and representing the Red Cross at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. Margaret Robertson died on 9 May, aged 81. Margaret joined the Red Cross in 1954 as a nurse. She was also involved in event first aid and ran a Darby and Joan club for elderly people. She made a huge contribution to fundraising and retail in Glasgow – particularly at the Dumbarton Road Red Cross shop. She received a Badge of Honour and a 60-year service award. Bob Wallis died on 11 May, aged 82. Bob was a volunteer for 40 years with the first aid group in York. He was a great character, who encouraged the first aiders to practice marching for the Remembrance parade by drilling them to music on his tape recorder. He was awarded the Voluntary Medical Services Medal and the Badge of Honour for Outstanding Service. Ivy Ward died on 27 May, aged 86. Ivy volunteered for over 45 years, joining as a voluntary aid detachment nurse in 1965. She was a central figure for the Red Cross in Wiltshire, acting as centre organiser for the Chippenham group and later the link group coordinator. She was awarded an MBE in 2004.



First Red Cross ambulances

Call the midwife: Red Cross volunteers, trained in infant and childcare, assisted at pre-natal and post-natal clinics during the war

Helen Owen, aged 93, looks back on her wartime service as a “I worked with Sister Middleton, the midwife, out in the Lincolnshire fens. midwife’s assistant in Lincolnshire’s remote fens. She would deliver the baby then hand it to me to clear its nose and “In 1933 my headmistress thought every boy and every girl should eyes, and give it a slap on the back to make sure it was breathing. know first aid and nursing. So we took the British Red Cross cadets “During the clinics, I discovered mothers were using all sorts of examinations at school. I took my oath of allegiance in September 1937. dubious local cures. One recipe for a babies’ soothing syrup involved “As Hitler was raging through Europe, we had gas and chemical taking the seeds out of eight large poppy heads and boiling them up. warfare training with the army. I remember an officer describing The thick black syrup had to be left on the stove with a spoon in it, the affects of three lethal gases: chlorine (mustard gas), phosgene otherwise it would set. When the baby cried, the mother would give it the and lewisite. spoon to suck. As you can imagine, that just about sets the tone. “As he was speaking he whipped out a tin, like a cigarette tin, with “Other folk cures I came across included rubbing a wart with a piece three phials in it. We had to go up and present our arms. He put three of beef, then burying the meat in the garden, and a cure for ague which little drops on them, saying: ‘Don’t wash that off till tomorrow morning.’ involved hitting three horseshoes with a bent twig while reciting a spell. So we learned forever more what gas could do. I had boils on my arms “Over the years, I’ve found that the fact that you were the ‘Red Cross for a couple of years. I’ve still got the scars.” lady’ meant you had to be ubiquitous. If there was anything that needed “Being 17 and the youngest volunteer, I was like Polyfilla for the Red doing, you were supposed to know how to do it. And if you didn’t, you Cross – and was sent wherever there was a gap. This is how I ended up had to find someone who did.” in district nursing and midwifery. Do you have a memory you would like to share with Red Cross Life readers?

The earliest British Red Cross ambulances thank the Woolwich Ambulance Unit: were used in 1870, during the Franco“Receive … our heartfelt thanks for your Prussian war, just two months after the most valuable aid, given to us in the organisation was founded. moment of our great need, when our own Nursing in Italy: These horse-drawn wooden ambulance ambulances were not forthcoming.” a wounded German wagons could transport up to six prisoner of war with a VAD casualties at a time. The Woolwich Ambulance Unit travelled to Le Havre on 14 October and comprised 12 medical officers and 27 hospital corps men. The unit was equipped with eight horse-drawn ambulance wagons and 12 store wagons, as well as tents, bedding, medical supplies, food and cooking equipment. Horses were purchased in Le Havre – along with the services of drivers, grooms and farriers. Assistant surgeon G.W. McNalty wrote a detailed report on the effectiveness of the ambulances and suggested improvements to their design. He said: “The traction of the wagon appeared to be excellent and the wounded who were carried declared that they found the motion very easy, but when the wagon only contained one or two Source: Report of the British National persons there was too much spring in it.” Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded General von Wittisch, one of the in War during the Franco-German War Prussian Commanders, later wrote to 1870-1871

Solidarity in Solferino

Volunteers on TV
A recent episode of 24 Hours in A&E on Channel 4 focused on the elderly. One gentleman had recently lost his wife and was very lonely. A Red Cross volunteer made arrangements for the gentleman to be visited by another volunteer who lived close to him. At the end of the programme there was an update, stating that the gentleman was now making friends and coming to terms with living alone, thanks to the help of the Red Cross. Volunteers also featured in Helicopter Heroes on BBC1, which showed how a Red Cross ambulance crew in Malham, Yorkshire, helped keep a heart attack patient alive until an NHS ambulance and helicopter arrived. I am very proud to be among hundreds of Red Cross volunteers across the country. Julie Ward Volunteer, Weymouth and Portland

Busy Bournemouth
I wanted to say thanks to all the volunteers who were at the Bournemouth Rugby 7s event over the May Bank Holiday weekend. It was extremely busy and the volunteers dealt with all patients in a professional, caring manner. Over the weekend, members of the NHS and South West Ambulance Trust visited us. They were impressed with our ability not to swamp the local Accident and Emergency department. To give you an idea of how busy we were, we saw 419 casualties during the two-day event and, in the whole 18 days of Olympics in Weymouth, there were 468. An incredible job by all volunteers who helped and made it run so smoothly. Bev Sugden Quality assurance manager, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Channel Islands

Thank you, David
We would like to extend our special thanks to a very dear colleague, David Jenkerson, for his tireless dedication and long service. David joined the British Red Cross in July 1993 at the height of the Bosnian crisis, closely followed by the crisis in Rwanda. He took the lead in managing the huge public response to these appeals. He was responsible for implementing our first (and most recent) donor database and continues to play a very strategic back office role which is fundamental to our fundraising success story. He is one of our unsung heroes and we would like to publicly acknowledge his 20 years of service and unconditional support of all that we do. Fundraising support services team UK Office


The event to Letters commemorate the Battle of Solferino was very emotional and had a special focus this year. It was organised by the Italian Red Cross and dedicated to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers who gave their lives for the sake of humanity during the crisis in Syria. A moment of silence was observed by thousands of volunteers from the Italian Red Cross and other National Societies. I had the great honour to present my photos in the tower of Solferino, which witnessed the birth of the idea of our great Movement, by Henry Dunant, over 150 years ago. I was so proud that thousands of people could see, through my photos, the great work of the Syrian volunteers and the humanitarian response to the crisis by ICRC, IFRC, Italian Red Cross, British Red Cross and other National Societies.
Ibrahim Malla Syrian Arab Red Crescent photographer

Baby and child first aid app
The baby and child first aid app has been downloaded more than 60,000 times since the Red Cross launched it in May. Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve had on Facebook.
Julie Silver Brilliant app and fantastic idea. Something every mummy, daddy, grandma and granddad should know about. 11 June at 14.45 Edward Glaister Thank you for this app. It’s really fast and easy to use. I feel it will be able to guide a parent through any incident even when they are in an extremely stressful situation. Every parent should definitely have it! This app will save lives, no doubt. 12 June at 02.28 Cat Ferguson Wish there was a thermometer app to take your kids’ temperatures! Never find mine when I need it. 12 June at 02.33 Michelle Pimm Fab app! I’m trained in paediatric first aid and will still use it! Always good to refresh your memory, especially with a new baby. 12 June at 07.31


Guest columnist Laura Anderson is a member of the 2013 Youth Leadership Team, which was set up to highlight the views and experiences of young volunteers, making their voices heard and their opinions count.
Integrating young volunteers fully into the work of the Red Cross is a priority for the team. We want volunteers of all ages to work well together, as well as seeing young volunteers take on positions of responsibility. At the RedConnect Conference for Young Volunteers in January, we discussed common misconceptions of young volunteers, such as the view that we give our time merely to boost our CVs, and that our alleged lack of life experience clouds our opinions. We want to break down any misgivings and demonstrate that young volunteers are inspiring people who contribute to the charity’s success. We need to show that young volunteers are not an isolated or unreliable group. For a start, we urge all volunteers to look at the Humanitarian Citizen Award (redcross., which recognises Britain’s unsung youth. Young people have also become chairs of their volunteer councils, spoken at forums and had a direct impact on new strategies. We are proud of the charity’s efforts to encourage volunteers from every generation to work together – but there is still a way to go to recognise the effort young people are putting in.


FindFreddie Publicity around missing miniature street art sculptures (see page 4) highlighted Refugee Week on social media and ITV News.
BritishRedCross Can you help us #FindFreddie? Two of our miniature #RefugeeWeek figures have gone missing. Wild Rose Missing! Freddie Mercury! Last seen outside Dominion Theatre! HELP! What’s going on at the Red Cross right now?


There are some really handy – region-based – event first aid brochures available in both English and Welsh. RedRoom search: efa brochures




Photo © Matthew Percival

Tell your Red Cross story. On 29 October 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross was formed in Geneva. Help the British
Red Cross celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Movement by contributing your stories, raising awareness of the organisation’s unique mission and finding out more about its history of humanitarian action, from Solferino to Syria.

What’s happening?
Celebrate online From September
Do you have a funny, interesting or moving story about your time with the Red Cross? Share your memories through a Facebook group set up to mark the 150th anniversary or email them to the address below. The media team is also looking for stories for the local press and people who remember packing or receiving food parcels during the war. Visit or email for human dignity. Check out the British Red Cross’ social media channels during this week-long event and share a new online video with your friends and family. This will be used across the Movement to help people understand how the principles work and why they are important. Visit, and britishredcross

Watch this space…

As well as celebrating online, the Red Cross is planning exciting events to mark the anniversary. Visit and in September to find out more.

Fundamental Principles Week 23-29 September

Birthday tweets 29 October

Everything the Red Cross does is guided by its seven fundamental principles. These focus on values such as neutrality, diversity and respect

Help get the British Red Cross trending on Twitter and reach new online supporters. Wish the Red Cross Movement a happy 150th birthday by tweeting your message. Twitter hashtag: #RCRC150

 Do you want Red Cross Life readers to take part in an event or promotion? Email by 1 October 2013

Visit RedRoom for more information about news, campaigns and events at: