A dedicated Banbury teenager was showered with praise as she waved goodbye to her fellow young St John Ambulance volunteers.
Now 18 and with university on the horizon in September, Olivia Guntrip was thrown a big party by the group’s Banbury youth corps last month.
The ex-Banbury Academy pupil has been volunteering with St John since she was four-years-old and said she would miss her friends dearly.
“I started off doing ballet, I did better than my sister in the first grade and I was absolutely chuffed, but I decided ballet was not my thing.
“So the ballet teacher said there’s Badgers and that’s when I started, when the base was in Grimsbury.”
Olivia has passed all of her St John training, rising to cadet advanced first aider.
She said her highlight of her time with the Banbury corp was manning the St John stall at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention every year, as they would get to practise their training – mainly on bee stings – and enjoy the music.
Olivia could have been a doctor with her predicted grades at GCSE but decided nursing would be better as she wants to have more interaction with patients – hence the nursing course at Southampton University that awaits.
Unit manager Aidan Sarvari heaped praise on Olivia’s commitment and attitude, adding she will be sorely missed by the group.
Olivia’s mother Deborah Rose said she was really proud of her and it would be hard to see her go off to university.
“Most of them do it for a bit but then want to do something else but she’s been committed from day one, she had a shaky time in her teenage years, but she stuck at it,” Deborah said.
Aidan, Olivia’s commanding officer, has known her for four years and has even relied on her for help.
“Olivia is a dedicated, hard-working, committed, kind person. She’s been the best cadet that I’ve had the privilege of having in my unit. She has gone from strength to strength from when I met her,” he said.
Olivia encouraged anyone thinking about joining St John should go for it as they would not regret it.