Safety and Emergency Services

Padraig Allen

St John Ambulance, Dublin.

Pádraig has volunteered with St John Ambulance for over 20 years and felt impassioned to preserve and catalogue the organisations heritage and bring it back to life. Between work and family commitments he managed to spend up to 16hrs+ per week often from dawn to dusk in a dusty basement at head office cataloging the precious material he discovered. He regularly updates a blog with stories of past members of the organisation who have contributed so much to Irish society. He has formed links between irish and international historians sharing information as far as Canada and Australia. He often gives up his time to meet relatives of deceased members to shine a light on an old photo they might have of their relative or a medal in their possession.

Pádraig has shown great initiative by working closely with other archivists and museums to learn about methods of preservation. He has now started to digitize the collection to ensure it accessible to future generations and those undergoing research. Pádraig has also travelled to London to heritage groups their at his own expense to share information about his journey to archivist and the history of the St. John Ambulance in Ireland. Since 2015, he has managed to raise up to 50k in funds for heritage projects. The most recent project, a 30 panel exhibition was funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and was officialy launched by Minister Josepha Madigan T.D., in September, 2018.

Frank Heidtke

Dingle Coast Guard, Kerry.

Frank Heidtke has given 30 years of total dedication to the Dingle Coast Guard Unit as Team Leader. He has not only responded to people in distress at sea, on the cliff and on mountains, but dedicates his time to his team training and duties as Officer in Charge.

Over 30 years ago, Frank was responsible for the revival of the Dingle Coast and Cliff team, several years after it had lapsed. He then organised fundraising to buy the essential equipment for cliff climbing, first-aid, a boat and trailer and a unimog which came all the way from Germany. Under his amazing leadership the team has grown from strength to strength. With a team now of 26 volunteers, he continuously encourages every member to reach their highest potential.

Frank puts the team’s safety first at all times. He is cool and level headed and is held in high esteem by all the team members. The local community and tourists alike, have benefited greatly as a result of Frank’s unselfish dedication to one and all. He has inspired people to join the Dingle Coast Guard service and has improved the capabilities of the team. He was instrumental in initiating an extension to the original small building and making the Coast Guard building what it is today.


James Lafferty

Irish Red Cross, Clare.

Having been kidnapped in Accra, Ghana in 2007, James promised himself that if he survived he would do something to make a difference in the world. Thankfully he made it back home and has since dedicated the majority of his time to the Irish Red Cross in Clare.

James raised over €86,000 for a new community multi-purpose support vehicle which is a minibus that can be transformed to an ambulance if needed, so that he could help the people of Co. Clare get to their medical appointments all over Ireland or to help the old folks go on days out free of charge. Whether it’s for a chemotherapy session or having a bunion removed, James is always on hand to transport patients when needed.

James’ fundraising efforts involve what he calls the ‘Tour of Clare’ where he heads out to a different part of Clare each day – often 13 hour days – and sets up stalls to raise money for the organisation usually at €2 per ticket. James was also instrumental in securing a new building and mortgage for the group which he is already planning to extend to have an even bigger impact on the community.