A top honour for volunteer Darren

Darren Brand, Eastbourne
Darren Brand, Eastbourne

A SELFLESS volunteer has been praised for almost two decades of help he has given St John Ambulance.

Darren Brand, of Ashgate Road, was awarded inducted into Order of St John during a ceremony in London earlier this month.

The 32-year-old was given the title of Serving Brother during the event which was held at the charity’s historic 12th century Priory Church in Clerkenwell.

To qualify as a member of the Order of St John, volunteers have to have shown exceptional service and have their nomination approved by Her Majesty the Queen, who is the sovereign head or the order.

Mr Brand, who works as a specialist nurse at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings is a county nursing officer for Sussex St John Ambulance meaning he is responsible for leading the charity’s volunteer nurses.

He has been a St John Ambulance volunteer for 18 years and met his wife Maria through the charity. Maria runs the Hailsham Cadet Unit and the couple have a six-month-old son Jack.

He has always taken a keen interest in helping the charity’s cadets realise their full potential. He was a member of Sussex St John Ambulance’s youth team for 10 years, has been assistant commissioner for youth and enjoys supporting his wife’s work with Hailsham’s Cadets.

And through his work helping the younger volunteers, Mr Brand has already been treated to an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Speaking to the Herald this week, Mr Brand said, “I feel honoured to be admitted as a member of such a long-established and well-regarded organisation as the Order of St John.

“I’ve gained so much from working with so many amazing and inspiring young people and I enjoy working as part of a team whose skills are so often the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

He was given his insignia by Rodney Green, whose official title is Prior of the Priory of England and the Islands.

Mr Green was full of admiration for Mr Brand’s work. He said, “Darren has been given this honour in recognition of the dedication he has shown over the years in helping St John Ambulance with its life saving work.

“He is a brilliant example of how volunteers have an important role to play in communities and we hope his commitment inspires others to be the difference within their local area too.”