Recognised for teaching young people to save lives


A school first aider who has spent the last 20 years teaching young people at a Horsham school life saving skills has been recognised by St John Ambulance for her work.

Pam Leadbeater, who lives and works in Horsham, has been the school first aider at Tanbridge House School since 1993 and in that time has delivered first aid training to thousands of young people, many of whom have gone on to use their skills in real situations.

Pam Leadbeater  on the day she received her award

Pam Leadbeater on the day she received her award

As the main first aider in the school, Pam is responsible for taking care of sick and injured pupils and has also trained fellow staff members to be first aiders too.

On May 9, Pam attended a ceremony at St John’s Gate in London where she was invested into the Order of St John as a Serving Sister in recognition for being a champion of first aid.

Pam, who is married with two grown up children and two grandchildren, said that receiving the award made her very proud; “The knowledge that I have imparted to so many students over the years gives me immense satisfaction and pride.

“I have lost count of the number of times an ex-student has used their knowledge gained at school to help save lives.

“It makes me exceptionally proud to have been admitted into the Order of St John and have my work recognised in this way.”

Dwelling on her own first aid experiences, Pam recalls instances involving a student who broke their leg in three places which lead to the air ambulance being called, and a severed finger, which thanks to her prompt actions was reattached to its owner by surgeons at a London Hospital.

Schools and Community Training Coordinator for St John Ambulance in the south east, Marita Edwards, said; “Pam is thoroughly deserving of this award as she is a true first aid champion.

“She is also a great ambassador for our national schools first aid competition which her Tanbridge House Team has been entering for the past 13 years and have been close to winning on many occasions.

“First aid skills can be the difference between lives lost and lives saved so Pam’s support in getting that message out there is invaluable.”

The majority of people who have the honour of being admitted into the Order of St John have a history of volunteering with St John Ambulance, so as Pam is not a member of the charity, it makes her award all the more remarkable.

Jules White, headteacher at Tanbridge House School, said: “This is a thoroughly deserved commendation for a super member of staff who has given devoted time and service to St John Ambulance.

“Our thriving team of student volunteers and the wider and local school community are all very proud of Pam.”