Royal wedding: NI St John's volunteer comes to aid of ill fellow guest at Windsor Castle
A St John Ambulance volunteer from Northern Ireland was in the right place at the right time after one of the guests watching the Royal wedding in the grounds of Windsor Castle collapsed during the service.
Adrian Petticrew, who had spoken to the News Letter last week about his delight at being invited to Windsor Castle, explained how his 41 years of experience with St John’s was called upon on Saturday.
He said: “On the way into the castle, I came across some fellow St John Ambulance volunteers from our South East Region going through the same security. They were going on duty to provide first aid cover for the event. I jokingly suggested if they needed a hand to give me a call. Little did I realise that would come true.
“About halfway through the service a fellow guest collapsed close to me and I went to his assistance. I assessed and treated him whilst waiting for the on-duty team from St John Ambulance to respond.
“I assisted my colleagues and thankfully we were able to stabilise the gentleman who appeared to be suffering from a possible diabetic emergency. He left for the treatment centre for some recuperation and further assessment.
“In St John you are never really off duty. It comes with being a volunteer.”
Of the big day, Adrian – who attended with his partner Sharon – said: “The whole day was an incredible experience. The atmosphere was fantastic.
“The arrangements in Windsor were excellent. Red coat ambassadors guided us everywhere and we had a special entrance as were given green visitor badges to wear.
“Once inside the grounds of Windsor Castle we asked staff for the best vantage point and they directed us to grass area just opposite the Gallilee Porch where the Royal Family was due to enter and leave. There were quite a few Northern Ireland people in that area.”
In terms of VIP spotting, Adrian – who was nominated to receive an invite by the Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast Fionnuala Jay O’Boyle – said: “All the invited guests walked down past our vantage point to enter St Georges Chapel.
“George Clooney got the biggest cheer but others included Oprah Winfrey, James Corden, James Blunt, Dave Henson from the Invictus Games, John Major, David Beckham. Princes Harry and William walked down past us to the chapel and waved.
“We had the closest view of the Royal Family entering and leaving the church. And it was amusing watching some of the Royals such as Prince Edward and Princess Anne waving and cheering Prince Charles and some of the other guests who left by car from the front of the chapel. They were quite clearly enjoying the day.
Julie-Ann Coll from Londonderry was also chosen to be in the grounds of Windsor Castle because of her work with child bereavement support group Life After Loss.
In an interview with the BBC after the ceremony she said: “It was worth the wait, worth the travel and worth the pressure of getting a new outfit and getting here. Just being able to be here and to be a part of it was just magical.”
Meanwhile, among the spectators in Windsor was former UUP MLA Danny Kennedy, who travelled to England with his wife and two children.
He said: “We took up a position at the Long Walk among a cast of absolute thousands. It’s a day that will live long in the memory. Everyone was in such a carnival mood.
“The service was relayed at the Long Walk on the big screen. When the Queen appeared there was a huge cheer and applause. Likewise for the happy couple.
“The service was very meaningful. I thought the bishop preached an excellent sermon. He’s been one of the sensations. He had plenty of fire without the brimstone.”
He added: “It was a really special day and we were thrilled to be there and be part of it as a family.
“We were over on other business and took the opportunity to go along to Windsor.”