Esmee Salkeld

Esme Salkeld ‘In 1964, a colleague invited me to join a group of SJA volunteers on an exchange to Wales. We were to be hosted by miners in their homes, join in their competitions, and go down an operational coal mine.

We were lowered in creaking cages into a long tunnel. After crawling on all fours, I came to an abrupt stop facing a big black wall – the pit head. At that moment, a voice called out, “Are you enjoying this, Esmee?”, “Yes”, “Well, why not join us in St John?”

After a bone-shaking lift to the surface, I was met by a group of smiling faces and an application form…That is how and where I joined SJA.

Forty-eight years later, I am still involved, having gained a wealth of knowledge and many great friends. Operational duties have put me in dangerous and traumatic situations, but there have also been times of great happiness and fun.

Today I work with the St John Fellowship, a support network for St John, made up of former and current members. We support St John units with caring in the community, hospital transport, and most of all fundraising. What I would have missed if I’d not gone down that coal mine!’

Source: Museum of the Order of St John

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