St John stalwart is named among nation’s happiest

Rita Marley in London for the investiture into the Order of St John
Rita Marley in London for the investiture into the Order of St John

A ST JOHN Ambulance volunteer with 38 year’s experience has been named among the happiest people in Britain.

When the Independent on Sunday published its ‘Happy List’, part-time care support worker Rita Marley was chosen as one of 100 people who make life better for others.

Rita manages the Shoreham and Portslade branch of the St John Ambulance and has given more than 18,000 hours of her time to saving lives.

She said it had been a nice surprise to have been chosen for the list.

“I was honoured,” she said.

“I didn’t know anything about it.”

Rita said she had looked at some of the other names on the list and what they had achieved, and had thought a lot of them were far more worthy than she was.

“I just enjoy going out on duty and being out there and helping people,” said Rita.

“I enjoy what I do and that’s why I do it.”

Rita said her fondest memory of her time with the St John Ambulance was saving a runner’s life.

“He was doing a fun run about four or five years ago along the seafront in Hove when he collapsed,” she said.

“We had to use the defibrillator and do chest compressions and we managed to get him back.

“He was only in his early forties.

“It’s an amazing feeling to get someone back when they have collapsed like that.”

In recognition of her service to the St John Ambulance, Rita was made a Serving Sister in the Order of St John at a ceremony in London in December.

Rita also helps with a disabled swimming club.

Friends, family and colleagues flocked to the St John Ambulance Facebook page to congratulate Rita on her hard work being recognised.

Brian Worral said: “Well done Rita, what a great achievement.

“You deserve all the accolades that you are given.

“You should get an award from the Queen.”