Royal honour for Ella-Grace

A RIPON Grammar School student was among a group of inspirational young volunteers recognised by the Princess Royal at a ceremony in London.

Ella-Grace Foster is St John Ambulance’s District Cadet of the Year for North Yorkshire and Teesside, one of only 32 in the country to be given such an award.

The 16-year-old, from Boroughbridge, was selected after taking part in a series of tough challenges which involved first aid scenarios, presentations, interviews and taking part in a debate.

She travelled to London for the Young Achievers Awards, where Princess Anne congratulated young volunteers who have made outstanding contributions in their communities and spoke about how their actions have positively impacted those around them.

Ella Grace said: "I felt very honoured and privileged to be able to meet and speak to Princess Anne, and it is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

"When Her Royal Highness was walking round everyone was very nervous but excited but as soon as we talked to her she really put us at ease. 

"When I spoke to her I curtsied and shook her hand. Princess Anne asked me about why and when I joined St John Ambulance and about Ripon and said she remembered going to Ripon Cathedral and the racecourse."

More than 1,700 of young St John volunteers across the country who have given over 48,500 hours of their time supporting communities by giving lifesaving first aid and care alongside adult volunteers.

St John Ambulance, Chief Commissioner Ann Cable said she was delighted to welcome Princess Anne, Commandant-in-Chief - Youth of St John Ambulance, to the special event held at the Priory Church in London.

“Our young people are incredible. We are tremendously proud of the achievements and their ongoing demonstration of kindness and compassion across the country. The positive actions they make every day, caring and supporting others, continues to impact and inspire those around them.

“We were delighted to honour our young people who have selflessly cared for others.”

Keen hockey player Ella-Grace, who hopes to study medicine at university, has a part-time job in a pharmacy and helps out at swimming lessons alongside her St John Ambulance volunteering.

“I joined the St John Ambulance because I think first aid is a very important skill and I was eager to learn how to care for people in emergency situations.”

It has given her lots of opportunities, she says, including the chance to do a first aid course in the summer holidays.

“At St John Ambulance I have learnt not just first aid skills but skills you need for life such as communication, being adaptable, thinking on your feet, having confidence in yourself and the ability to stay calm in stressful situations.’

She added: "It was amazing to be able to speak to other St John Ambulance cadets and badgers from around the country at the Priory Church event."

For more information about how St John Ambulance is inspiring the next generation of lifesavers through its youth programmes, and how to get involved, visit: