The Red Cross saved my father’s life in the First World War

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Amanda Nicholson holds her father's First World War flying jacket to show where the bullet went through the cloth

Amanda Nicholson holding her father’s flying jacket with the bullet hole still in the back

“If it wasn’t for the Red Cross I wouldn’t be here.”

For Amanda Nicholson, the ceremonies to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War on 11 November will be especially poignant.

Her father, James Orr MacAndrew – known as Jo – was one of Britain’s first fighter pilots during World War One.

“My father came from a family of six where all three sons served during the First World War,” Amanda said.

“My father was terribly anxious that the war would end before he had a chance to enlist.”

But Jo did manage to join up in March 1918 after leaving school at the age of 19. This was just five months after his older brother, Colin, was killed in action.

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Bonfire Night: First aid for burns

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Friends and family gather for Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night – a time when friends and family gather to ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ahh’ at the night sky as firework after firework light up the darkness with an almighty bang.

Whether you’re having your own party, attending a friend’s or off to a display, there’s a common risk that comes from celebrating with fireworks – burns.

But have no fear. We’ve got some top advice for helping someone with a burn this Bonfire Night.

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Art from the past: a dangerous journey in the First World War

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Stobart and Serbia retreat in First World War

‘Lady of the black horse’, by George Rankin

Just over 100 years ago, Mabel St Clair Stobart was forced to flee her field hospital in Belgrade, Serbia during the First World War.

One of many women who volunteered with the Red Cross, she was head of a hospital unit on the front line.

Events in the war were escalating. Serbia had been invaded – and lives and vital medical equipment were now in danger.

As head of the hospital, Mabel Stobart had to lead the sick and wounded, and the nurses, on an 800-mile escape over snow-capped mountains.

Yet most people have not heard her name – or know anything about her incredible life. More

Easy peasy cake recipe that’s 100 years old

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A young girl eats a cupcake

© PeopleImages

Let’s face it: cake is cool again.

But at the British Red Cross, we’ve been using cake to help change people’s lives for over a century.

After all, the quickest way to someone’s heart is through the stomach.

If you’re looking for ideas for your own tasty bake, here’s a delicious recipe crafted by some British Red Cross volunteers during the First World War.

They handed out this cake to soldiers on the front line, to line their stomachs and boost their spirits.

And now you can recreate it in just four easy steps.

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Nosebleed: “I knew I had to lean her forward, not back”

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Claire holds her arm around her daughter Bella

Claire and Bella, ©Teri Pengilley/UNP

When it comes to nosebleeds, a lot of people aren’t sure what to do. Luckily, Claire did and was able to use her skills to help her daughter. 

Dealing with a nosebleed might seem simple.

But recently, the British Red Cross asked parents with young children how to help a child with a nosebleed. An astonishing 65 per cent did not choose the correct action to help.*

Learning what to do if a little one has a nosebleed will help you deal with the situation quickly and calmly. Here, Claire shares the story of how she helped her daughter when her nose was bleeding. More

Restart a heart: how Joanna saved her husband’s life

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Joanna and Graham with their arms around each other in their garden

Joanna and Graham, © British Red Cross

On a quiet Sunday morning Joanna’s husband Graham’s heart suddenly stopped. He became unresponsive and stopped breathing. Luckily, Joanna knew what to do and used her first aid skills saved his life.

“My first thought was to run! My daughter was screaming. But then something kicked in and I knew what I had to do,” Joanna said.

“I asked my daughter to call an ambulance and put the phone on loud speaker. Then I sent her outside to wait for the ambulance.”

Luckily, Joanna had learned first aid so she knew how to help her husband.

“I started doing chest compressions (CPR) and the emergency call handler on the phone counted me through sets of 30,” she explained.

“You have to be quite rigorous when you’re doing them, going about a third of the way into the body.

“The ambulance arrived after about eleven minutes and the crew came in.

“I literally remember standing there. I knew my arms were so sore from doing the chest compressions.

“It was the most terrifying eleven minutes of my life, but I would do it again, and again and again.

“And not just for my husband, for anyone who needed it. Because no matter who needs help, someone loves that person, it’s someone’s husband or son or daughter.”

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Giant cauliflower harvest: hard work and hard cash pay off in Nepal

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Gyan Maharajan stands next to her cauliflower harvest - the vegetable is so big that its leaves are as tall as she is

Gyan Maharajan and her huge cauliflower harvest in Nepal, @British Red Cross/Paul Wu

Getting ready to harvest your autumn fruit and vegetables?

Many of us are now busy in our garden or allotment. Others are taking the easier route and enjoying some fresh produce from the supermarket or grocer.

Either way, we can all take a moment to appreciate Gyan Maharjan’s bumper cauliflower crop.

At 3.5 kilos, one of her huge cauliflowers is around four times bigger than the average UK supermarket cauliflower!

Hoping for a harvest festival prize

Despite its massive size, 51-year-old Gyan carries her cauliflower in a basket on her back like a backpack.

She is on her way to Bungamati town for a giant vegetable competition. It’s an uncomfortable walk with the heavy weight on her back and Saturday is Nepal’s only weekend day.

Even so, the town’s central square is crowded, and large pumpkins, radishes and spinach take pride of place.

Gyan is amazed by how big her giant cauliflower has grown. Like all the others here, she’s hoping for a prize.

But just being able to grow her own crop again is a gift in itself.

Gyan was one of over a million people whose houses were destroyed in Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake.

Like thousands of other small farmers, Gyan lost her livelihood as well, making getting back to normal after the earthquake even harder.

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Indonesia earthquake and tsunami: the Red Cross is there to help

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This blog was updated on 2 October 2018.

Indonesia has just faced a terrifying double disaster: a powerful earthquake and then a tsunami.

A series of earthquakes rocked the province of Central Sulawesi, with the strongest being 7.7 magnitude.

Its epicentre was near the city of Dongala, home to around 300,000 people. That’s roughly the same as the number of people who live in Nottingham in the UK.

At least 1,234 people are known to have died and at least 799 people have been hurt. More than 6,000 houses have been destroyed and over 600,000 people across the province could be affected.

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