Soham to lose St John's ambulance

By CATHERINE ATKINSON Email: SOHAM S St John Ambulance Brigade is to lose its ambulance after locals raised £20,000 to pay for it. Last week, the first aid charity s headquarters announced to its Soham division that their



SOHAM'S St John Ambulance Brigade is to lose its ambulance after locals raised £20,000 to pay for it.

Last week, the first aid charity's headquarters announced to its Soham division that their ambulance was needed to transfer patients in Cambridge, but local volunteers say Soham needs to keep the ambulance the community worked hard to raise money for.

Rosemary Aitchison, president of Soham St John's Ambulance Adult Division, said: "We are justly proud of our ambulance, which also doubles as a first aid unit, which we have owned and maintained since 2001. More than half of the money used to buy the ambulance was raised from the community of Soham and included a donation from Soham United charities."

She added that all the adult members of Soham St John Ambulance were "disappointed" by the decision from bosses to let it go.

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"Events like the carnival couldn't happen without St John's," said Cllr Aitchison. "They are always there in the background."

St John Ambulance headquarters has promised to provide an alternative 'patient transport vehicle' with 10,000 more miles on the clock. "We've looked after our ambulance, it's only done 2,000 miles," said Soham St John Ambulance division superintendent Michelle Mumby-Croft. "It will cost a lot more to maintain than the other vehicle."

"We take the ambulance to events like the Pumpkin Fair and people know it's the one they paid for," she added. "This has come from London HQ, but people in Soham will know it's not their ambulance. We're not talking hundreds of pounds, £20,000 is a lot for a community like Soham to come up with."

A spokesperson for St John's Ambulance headquarters, operations commissioner Wendy Endersby said: "St John Ambulance has always sought the most effective and cost effective way to use its assets with a view to maximising our efforts in all the communities we serve, in support of the ambulance service and in times of major emergency such as the floods of 2007. This has never been more important in view of the financial pressures facing most charities at this time."

"We are in the very early stages of a further review of our transport policy and no decision has yet been made with regard to vehicles, but no doubt this will become clearer in due course. It remains imperative for us to ensure all our vehicles are used to their full potential."

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