On this day: St John Ambulance welcomes thousands of
We look back at the St John Ambulance volunteers who supported
thousands of Hungarian refugees fleeing conflict in their home
17 November – 19 December 1957
60 years ago a wave of violence hit Hungary after a nationwide
revolt against the government. Thousands were killed, and up to
200,000 Hungarians fled their homes and settled in other countries
across Europe, including the UK.
In 1957, St John Ambulance volunteers welcomed thousands of
Hungarian refugees. Initial support was provided by volunteers from
London, Kent, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Surrey. Meanwhile, other
volunteers across England prepared transit accommodation, and
organised sick bays and collections.
Volunteers also provided first aid to sick refugees, alongside
the British Red Cross. Cadets also had a role to play, they ran
errands for hostel staff and private homes that had taken in
Between 17 November and 19 December 1957, St John Ambulance
volunteers supported nearly 11,000 Hungarian refugees.
Supporting local communities
Today, most of our work is based in local communities across
England, serving those from all backgrounds.
We recently launched the First Aid Community Advocate programme,
designed to target hard-to-reach communities. Our team of First Aid
Community Advocates help to raise awareness of the importance of
first aid within their local community. They do this by giving
talks and demonstrations on first aid at community centres, local
events and groups.