UWTSD marks St John’s Day 2021


Today, is #StJohnsDay2021 and UWTSD will join monuments and landmarks across Wales to celebrate the incredible work of St John Ambulance Cymru by lighting our buildings in Carmarthen, Lampeter and Swansea.

 St John Ambulance Cymru logo.

The day acknowledges the incredible work of the charity’s staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic supporting communities in Wales.

We’re very proud of the staff and students who volunteer with St John Ambulance Cymru including Melanie Lawlor-Fellowes and Bronwen Williams who was awarded the Medal of the Order of St John Sister for her part part in establishing the Swansea Help Point.

Melanie is the Principal Administrative Officer (Finance & Administration) within the Wales Institute of Science & Art in Swansea.

Melanie Lawlor-Fellows

Melanie says: “It was my son Aled’s idea for me to volunteer with St John’s as he joined in 2012 as a cadet so I began volunteering for St John Ambulance Cymru in April 2016 as an Operational Member of Pontarddulais Division (now Swansea West Division).

I have since qualified as a Patient Transport Attendant and am able to crew an ambulance operationally as well as a qualified Operational and Tactical Commander and, prior to COVID, regularly took on the role of Tactical Commander at local events. My role has involved attending operational duties such as football and rugby matches, athletics events, Help Point, Wales Airshow, concerts in Singleton Park as well as Fireworks displays”. 

Melanie has already fulfilled many additional roles for St John Ambulance Cymru. In May 2018, she was appointed as a County Secretary for West Glamorgan, a role she held until August 2020. In September 2018 she was appointed as Secretary to West Glamorgan St John Council and in January 2020 she was appointed as County Operations Officer for West Glamorgan, serving in the role until August 2020.

“I enjoy helping people and working alongside healthcare professionals” says Melanie, who is also a First Aider at the University’s Dynefor Building. “The social aspect and camaraderie of the volunteers on duty together is fantastic”.

In 2013, Bronwen Williams, Academic Director with the University’s Institute of Management and Health, was invited to be part of a working group to develop an alcohol treatment centre in the city centre to help intoxicated, vulnerable and injured people on a night out in Swansea. 

Students and staff at the Swansea Help Point

Amongst a team of many, she worked alongside Daniel Jones form the Police and Crime Commissioner's Office and Gerallt Davies, the then West Glamorgan Commissioner for St John Ambulance Cymru. The Swansea Help Point was established, and it allowed UWTSD Student Police volunteers to work alongside St John volunteers to provide this invaluable service in the night-time economy of Swansea. 

Bronwen says:  “Dan, Gerallt and I were passionate about this scheme and making it a success, and in 2014 The Swansea help Point was launched during Freshers Week in September. Since then, with the input of multi-agencies across Swansea, this scheme has grown and changed and has become a gold standard example of alcohol treatment centres in cities.

It has provided invaluable opportunities for university student police volunteers to gain experience in working with the public sector services, which has encouraged and inspired them to go into the uniformed public service.   

The Help Point is also a major jewel in the St John Cymru Crown, St John Volunteers are just that, volunteers who have full time jobs and families but still give up their time freely to work in the night-time economy where the usual shift is 10pm to 4am. In the 7 years the Help Point has been running is has helped over 1000 people a year and reduced the number of patients needing to go to A&E from the city centre”.  

From 2014 to 2019 Bronwen worked alongside all the volunteers that have made the Help Point a success and was honoured to be awarded the Medal of the Order of St John Sister for my part in establishing this scheme. 

Bronwen says: “Sadly, in April 2020 Gerallt died from COVID 19 whilst working as a paramedic for WAST. To say this was tragic was an understatement, Gerallt was the beating heart of the Help Point and was respected by all who worked there, he became a mentor to many of the student police volunteers, he taught them all so much, about team working, leadership, respect and building the resilience to become a frontline worker. To me, he was a friend and colleague who shared my passion for helping people, who had a wicked sense of humour but was always the consummate professional. The world is a poorer place for his passing. “

James Cordell, St John Ambulance Cymru Support Manager, Dyfed said: “The past year has been an extremely difficult time for everyone in Wales, and that is no different for our St John Ambulance Cymru volunteers. So many of them have stepped up to face COVID-19. Whether that has been through supporting field hospitals, medication delivery services, transporting patients via ambulance. In addition, through a range of behind the scenes but crucial administrative support, such as occupational health, operational planning and wellbeing support. 

“The celebration of #StJohnDay2021 is a very different but a very special occasion. Whilst we may not be celebrating in our usual way, the support from local partners such as UWTSD is a reminder to all our volunteers that the lifesaving work they do every day is valued in the high regard”.