Caring for people in crisis

Campaigners for animal rights in Brightlingsea received welfare and first aid cover from the British Red Cross volunteers.

The dedicated volunteers from Brightlingsea centre were in attendance throughout the nine months of demonstrations against live animal exports.

John Clark the Brightlingsea Centre organiser, co-ordinated services and during this period they treated more than 100 casualties.

On days when the crowd swelled from 200 to 2000 or more, Harwich centre provided ambulance cover and extra First Aiders. The Harwich Red Cross ambulance conveyed some casualties to Colchester General Hospital, including the Police Officer who was hit in the face by an object filled with dye.

The members of the Brightlingsea Centre identified strongly with their role within the local community, and felt an obligation to offer services in their local area.

Unfortunately, the Police appeared to see the Red Cross as on the side of the protestors and on occasions the volunteers were jostled unnecessarily. On other occasions when a protestor was arrested, and they needed medical attention, the Red Cross was not allowed to attend. To fulfil their service to the public they then informed a Police Medic who co-operated with them on these occasions.

Letters of gratitude were received from the public and their contribution was greatly appreciated by the Ambulance Service, and recognised in the press.

Statement submitted to David Ames for a photographic exhibition in May 1996.