Memories from St. John Amublance
November 4, 2006
As some of you may know, Charlotte was a very active member of St. John Ambulance. She was a first aider for many years – I remember her practicing how to tie a sling on me as a child. Charles Ralli sent me this wonderful email talking about time he spent with Charlotte in the late 90s. I’m sure that it will resonate with all of us who knew her as being a very recognizable description!
“I remember Charlotte well from her time in my division (Hammersmith) of St. John Ambulance. I recall she worked in research on cardiac viruses, and in November of 1997, after what must have been at least a year of membership for her, I taught on the second half of her Ambulance Aid 1 course, and recall particularly that whilst most of the class was in formal uniform, as it was not a public event charlotte was in a pair of faded black combat trousers and a white shirt that hadn’t seen an iron in a while with hair in a comparable state. I made a comment that I had not realised there was the female equivalent of the “scatty scientist” look to which she replied robustly, questioning my interest in mannequins strapped down to a trolleybed! I recognised someone who could reply with wit and humour, and was most entertained for the rest of the course.
I also recall subsequently doing some ambulance transport work with her in the winter pressure period where we were driving through Hampstead when for some reason we started singing carols. She was surprised at the descants I was able to produce, saying “you’re not supposed to know those” but the two of us, and a rather non-musical third member of the crew managed to produce some harmonious tunes. What anyone would have made of the noises coming from the “singing ambulance” I don’t know, but I recall it rather fondly, especially as I can no longer hit those notes. I recall she had a very good musical talent, but don’t remember what, if anything, she had played.
I also remember a very awkward patient we had to transfer from a hospital to home, in what became the “job from hell” and which I think convinced Charlotte that ambulance transport work was not her foremost interest. We never managed to organise an Ambulance Aid 2 course before she left us. I think she would have been good at the emergency side of things, but she heard a louder call and had to follow…..”