Life-saver honoured for work at St John

Rita Marley in London for the investiture into the Order of St John
Rita Marley in London for the investiture into the Order of St John

A FIRST aider who saved a man’s life has been honoured for her outstanding work with St John Ambulance.

Rita Marley, 67, has been the manager of Portslade and Shoreham St John Ambulance unit, based in Ham Road, Shoreham, since 2008.

She has been invested as a Serving Sister into the Order of St John, an honour achieved by around 300 volunteers each year.

Her 38 years’ outstanding service has included saving a man’s life during the Hove Promenade Fun Run three years ago.

Rita, who lives in Portslade, said: “We were called to a runner who had collapsed and we immediately recognised that he was in cardiac arrest, so we revived him using chest compressions and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

“He made a full recovery and I was really humbled when his family sought me out the following year to thank me and tell me they’d raised £2,500 for St John Ambulance.”

She was invested in a prestigious ceremony in the order’s historic 12th century Priory Church in London.

A part-time care support worker and advanced first aider, she was until recently an emergency transport assistant, responding to a number of emergency situations in the area.

“Nothing can be more rewarding than knowing you’ve saved someone’s life,” she added.

“It stays with you forever and makes all that we do worthwhile.”

Having clocked up 18,000 hours’ service, Rita has provided first aid cover at a range of events and, for a number of years, she provided repatriation transport throughout the country, from Heathrow and Gatwick airports, for patients returning to the UK.

“I love what I do,” said Rita, whose enthusiasm has influenced her family to join St John Ambulance.

Her grandson is a cadet, her daughter is a youth leader and her son-in-law, an ambulance technician, is also a volunteer.

The order’s prior, Rodney Green, who presented the insignia, said: ‘Rita has been invited to join the Order of St John in recognition of the contribution she has made to her community. She has shown true commitment to helping St John Ambulance’s life saving work.”

Ceremonies takes place three times a year, with around 100 people invested on each occasion.