Shoreham air disaster seen through the eyes of our volunteers


The British Red Cross is a familiar sight at the scene of emergencies and major incidents in the UK, and in the case of the Shoreham Airshow disaster we were there right from the start.

One month after the worst UK airshow accident in 63 years, the Red Cross is continuing to support those affected through its dedicated support line.

Immediate reaction

When the accident took place on the first day of the Shoreham Airshow in August, volunteers and staff from our Kent and Sussex teams were already there providing first aid cover for the event.

So as the incident unfolded, 10 event first aiders, four ambulances and two specially designed first aid vehicles were ready to respond.


Burning 7,000 calories a day and still gaining pounds

Ian Mitchell with his medal at the Ride 100 London event

Are you sitting comfortably? Spare a thought for Ian Mitchell – he’s in the saddle right now – pedalling his way from London to Barcelona. 

Ian’s gruelling 1,200 mile bike ride challenge begins today (13 August). It will take ten days and all the grit and determination he has.

Since training began Ian has dropped a stone in weight but the pounds have kept piling in – to his fundraising account that is.

We caught up with Ian before he set off to find out more about the ride and why he’s doing it.


How to spot a first aider at a flower show

Flower beds

The sunshine and showers of our great British summer have done their work and gardens across the country are in full bloom. If you’re off to an outdoor event soon, you may see some of our volunteers in action. But would you be able to spot a first aider at a flower show?

The event first aider, member of the primo auxilium species, is a very special breed. While no two are the same, they do share some distinctive features which make them possible to identify – for those in the know.


Get happy – how volunteering can put a smile on your face

British Red Cross supporters enjoy a fundraising event © Joel Chant

Two British Red Cross supporters are celebrated for their smile-spreading work. Find out why they’re on this year’s Happy List and how you can catch the happiness bug yourself.

The Independent on Sunday’s Happy List celebrates 100 unsung heroes who spend their time making life better for others. In doing so, these wonderful people are making the world a happier place to live.

This year two of our volunteers appeared on the list in recognition of their incredible commitment to helping others.


‘Volunteering landed me a job’

Sarah-Coull-BLOG2Young mother Sarah Coull was fed up with being unemployed, so tried her hand at volunteering – and hey presto, it soon landed her a job. Here’s her story.

After leaving education, I spent a while struggling to find work. Like lots of people my age, I kept trying but the jobs just weren’t out there.

While I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do for a career, the prospect of care work had always interested me. I think older people are often marginalised, which isn’t fair. More

‘Lucky’ Syrian refugee who wants to help others

Sleman at Buckingham Palace

Sleman was an ambitious young man, full of plans for his future. Then the conflict in Syria forced him to flee his country – and rebuild his life here.   

Not too long ago, Sleman was finishing his studies as an engineer in food sciences at the University of Aleppo.

He was thinking about his career and potential next steps – like any young person in the first flush of adulthood.

But then war broke out in Syria and everything changed.

No life in Syria

Now a refugee in the UK, Sleman calls himself one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

“I’m lucky that I can contact my father and mother once or twice a month,” he says.

“Where they live, there is no internet, no electricity, no phones. But I’m lucky because they are near the Turkish border, so I can sometimes call them there.

“Every time I ring them, my father says he just wants to die. There is no life in Syria, anymore.” More

Christmas during the First World War: in pictures

WW1-xmas-hospital-wardBritish Red Cross nurses had to celebrate the festive season hungry and over-worked, yet they were still determined to be cheerful. See the First World War through the eyes of the women who were actually there.

1. The busy life of a nurse

This witty cartoon triptych depicts the typical life of a Red Cross nurse (they were known as Voluntary Aid Detachments) serving abroad during the war. The sketches show how her life officially should be, how she dreams it might be, and how it actually is. Poor woman…

WW1-xmas-triptych More