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Long-serving supporter of St John retires

Long-serving supporter of St John retires

Sunday 26 July 2020

Long-serving supporter of St John retires

In forty-five years of being involved with St John, Dave Garnham has never donned the uniform, but the long-serving caretaker and maintenance man has been lauded as a "great asset" to the team.

Mr Garnham has filled a number of roles, most recently as the caretaker and maintenance man, looking after the St John training hall and offices of the charity on the Rohais site.

He is about to retire from that role at the end of the month, after 13 years in the position.

Mr Garnham first got involved with St John when his daughter joined the junior section of the charity. "I was soon asked if I would help out doing bits and pieces," he said.

After a little while someone suggested he join St John and become a uniformed member of the organisation, but Mr Garnham wasn't keen.

st john ambulance

Pictured: Mr Garnham was never tempted by a career in the uniformed services. 

"I worked at the harbour for Sealink at the time, so I had to wear a uniform for work. Somedays we would start at half past five in the morning and still be at the harbour at half eight in the evening, so when I go home that last thing I wanted was to get into another uniform," he explained.

As his children, and then his wife got more involved with the youth sections of St John, so did he, putting his practical skills to good use.

"I was always happy to help and do bits and pieces. I ran a handyman course for the cadets and then they asked me to make floats for the Liberation Day cavalcade and Battle of Flowers. That was a good bit of fun."

Mr Garnham said some of his happiest memories were of the cadet camps. "At one time we would take 40 to 50 people away to England and we had a few trips to France as well. It was a laugh loading the tents and the equipment into a big container. After the first year I suggested we get a low loader trailer to make it easier."

Mr Garnham was well known for finding cheap and simple solutions to problems on the campsite. One year he managed to source four redundant packing crates, which could be used to carry equipment and then be used as a cupboard on camp. This meant the two days it used to take setting up the campsite, could be reduced to two hours.


Pictured: Chief Executive Officer Nikki Harrison said Mr Garnham has been a great asset to St John. 

He was also renowned for building things: "They would think of something and I would do it. I built scramble nets and zip wires for the youngsters, but that was before all the rules and regulations came in, which took some of the enjoyment away."

Chief Executive Officer Nikki Harrison said Mr Garnham has been a great asset to St John.

"His ability to turn his hand to anything made Dave a great caretaker for the buildings at the Rohais. Living on site Dave was on call seven days a week and was always happy to help anyone using the site. I'd like to thank him for all his years of service and wish him a happy retirement."

Both of Mr Garnham's daughters and his granddaughter have all been involved with St John over the years, representing Guernsey in competitions in the UK. He will remain a member of the St John Fellowship and said he is looking forward to spending more time looking after his grandchildren's chicken and his daughter's dog.

Pictured top: Mr Garnham is retiring from his caretaker role after 13 years. 

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