THE unveiling of a plaque opened a major new chapter in the life of first aid volunteers in South Cumbria as a new headquarters came into full use.

The Mail, on Tuesday, September 26 in 1995, noted: “The new St John Ambulance headquarters in Ulverston has been opened after a two-year campaign by first aiders in the town to raise £40,000 to pay for refurbishments.

“Barbara Smith, Dame of the Order of St John and deputy county commissioner for Cheshire, did the honours at the opening ceremony at the revamped HQ in The Ellers.

“She was accompanied by her husband and John Crewson, the chairman of St John Ambulance in Cumbria.

“The occasion also marked the arrival of a new four-wheel drive ambulance for use by the first aiders.

“Mrs Smith was welcomed to the newly refurbished headquarters by Reg Wilkinson, divisional superintendent of Ulverston St John Ambulance Division, and other senior officers.

“Formerly based in Back Lane, where space was very cramped,Ulverston’s St John Ambulance brigade now has spacious premises with room for cadets, badgers and adult members as well as for training industrial first aiders and members of the public.”

A need to find a new base had long been appreciated and in October 1991 the fund for the new headquarters received a £650 boost from a craft fair and a duck race held by Ulverston Amateur Operatic Society.

The cheque was handed over by the society’s Ken Hindle and accepted by Reg Wilkinson on behalf of Ulverston St John Ambulance Brigade.

By the start of 1993 volunteer workers began to get the new base ready for use.

The Mail, on April 27 in 1993, noted: “Three months and some £22,000 into the project, the huge two-storey building is beginning to look ready for use.

“The task has been undertaken by a gang of volunteers, including a professional electrician and plumber, who are giving up their time to lend a hand.”

The Ulverston brigade was hoping to raise a total of £68,000.