Knighthoods awarded to local paramedics
THE PRIORY for South Africa of the Order of St John celebrated its heritage as a 133-year-old civil organisation with the knighthood of two Cape Town paramedics at St George’s Cathedral last night.
The Order of St John is a royal order of chivalry constituted by a royal charter issued by Queen Victoria in 1888. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is the sovereign head of the order and authorises knighthoods to those who further the cause of St John, also known as the Apostle of Charity.
Last night Reverend Cannon Gerard Sharp, on behalf of the queen, honoured Craig Hartley and Ricky Kleinhans, both long- standing St John Brigade members who have dedicated their lives to volunteer work.
“I feel excited, honoured, and believe that this has been a way of life,” Hartley said ahead of the event.
“I hope that this event will encourage my brothers and sisters in St John to also strive for this honour.”
Kleinhans said that, since joining the Order, he had always hoped to become a knight.
“But never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to happen now,” he said.
“We do what we do in the service of mankind, and when we do this selflessly, we reap the rewards daily: that of appreciation and the satisfaction of aiding our fellow man.”
As knights, both Hartley and Kleinhans will be featured in the London Gazette and receive signed certificates from the Grand Prior, on behalf of the Queen, the Duke of Gloucester, and the operational head of St John.
Hartley said he joined the St John Brigades in 1980, and started volunteer work at the age of nine. He is now the centre director for St John-Cape Town. “We teach communities to take charge of their own health and wellness,” he said
St John in Cape Town provides a wide range of health services, including first aid training, youth development programmes, hospital transfers and eye-care facilities.
Kleinhans joined the St John Brigades in 1988 while he was still in primary school, and has worked as a paramedic for 28 years.
Starting as a divisional officer in the Bonteheuwel Cadet, he moved on to become the commissioner of the Cape of Good Hope District, heading all the volunteers. He is now the assistant chief commissioner and oversees the development of St John youth members.
In 2014 and this year, Kleinhans was also the contingent manager who took South African cadets to the international cadet camp and competitions hosted in Sydney and Hong Kong. email@example.com