St John man gets top honour

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Ken Cook, a leading influence within St John Ambulance Derbyshire over the past decade, has been honoured with investiture as a Commander of the Order of St John – one of the highest honours which can be conferred on the charity’s volunteers.

A former headteacher, Ken, of Dronfield, was a key member of the county team based in Chesterfield, taking on the top job as Chair of Council in 2007 and leading Derbyshire’s 1500 uniformed volunteers until he retired from the post last December.

He is now concentrating on other voluntary roles including Deputy Lord Lieutenant, University of Derby governor and chair of Derby Family Nurse Partnership, as well as working towards a doctorate in leadership and management.

Ken, who was already an Officer of the Order of St John, received his insignia at a special ceremony at the historic Priory Church in London.

Also honoured was David Wright, a former Chesterfield fire-fighter, who was invested as a Member of the Order. David, who recently moved to Oxfordshire, becamed the third generation of his family to join St John Ambulance when he signed up 37 years ago while working for Coalite.

The Order of St John is one of the world’s oldest charities and traces its origins back 900 years to the Knights Hospitaller and the first Hospital of St John in Jerusalem in 1078. Membership of the Order is given only to those who have shown exceptional service. Each recipient is approved by the Queen.