How we celebrated St John’s Day

The 24th of June, the feast day of St John the Baptist, is a very important day in our St John Calendar. To mark the day, thousands of St John volunteers, staff, and members of the Order came together to highlight and celebrate the global work of St John.

St John’s Day is not just about the ceremony that combines all the grandeur and pageantry of the Order of St John’s important customs, traditions, and position as a Crown Order of Chivalry, but also to highlight and celebrate the global work of St John today.

Prof Mark Compton, Lord Prior

During St John’s Day, many St John organisations showed their gratitude for the incredible work of all of our St John people – past and present – by hosting various events. Read below for a snapshot of some of the events St John hosted around the world.

St John Sri Lanka celebrated St John’s Day with the launch of their new programme, ‘Mind First’. The new programme will raise awareness of mental health issues among children and educate teachers and those who care for children on how to deal with mental health challenges.

St John's Day Celebrations in Sri Lanka

The St John International office was out and about visiting different countries and cities for St John’s Day. Our Secretary General, Susan Le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, was in Scotland; our Head of Chancery, Steven Wilson, visited Malta; our Communications Team, Jessica Smith and Tracy Frederic were in Gibraltar; and the Head of Finance, Chris Smith, attended St Paul’s Cathedral for the annual St John’s Day Service of Commemoration and Rededication.

In Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Sea Scouts Pipe Band led a parade up Main Street for St John’s Day, with volunteers from St John Gibraltar making up the parade.

St John's Day Celebrations in Gibraltar

As mentioned above, our Head of Chancery, Steven Wilson, visited St John Malta and had the honour to preside at their Investiture and Awards Ceremony at their St John’s Day Service in Valletta, where Dr Frendo was knighted as a Knight of Grace. There were a number of Commanders, Officers, and Members also invested, all volunteers, following their admission to or promotion within the Order. It was the first investiture held in Malta since 2016.

St John's Day Celebrations in Malta

St John Canada welcomed our Lord Prior, Mark Compton, where he was presented with a newly minted Sovereign Coronation pin created by the Priory of the Order of St John. Lord Prior also attended a Reception at Earnscliffe Manor in honour of St John’s Day and conducted an Investiture in the Order of St John at the Canadian Senate in Ottawa.

St John's Day Celebrations in Canada

It was a day of celebration for the St John Papua New Guinea Ambulance staff, as they commemorated their St John’s Day by celebrating 40 years of emergency ambulance services in Port Moresby. For more, please click here to watch the video.

In St John South Africa a small contingent of their volunteers in the Western Cape held a Service to mark St John’s Day at St Oswalds Church in Milnerton, Cape. They took the opportunity to present the Revd Selwyn Engelbrecht with his Priory Vote of Thanks for services rendered to the St John Community.

St John's Day Celebrations in South Africa

St John Australia celebrated their 140 Year Anniversary. To thank all their volunteers, staff, and members for their tireless contributions over the decades, various events took place around the country, including the evening light-up of around 23 public buildings across the ACT, VIC, QLD, and SA. The buildings were illuminated red and green as symbols of safety and responsive care.

St John's Day Celebrations in Australia

St John Cymru celebrated the day by having some buildings in Wales light up yellow to raise awareness for our charity. One of those buildings was the Cardiff Castle. They also launched their “Raise Your Buckets” summer campaign to help raise vital funds for St John Cymru charitable work and to spread their summer safety messaging. You can find out more about the campaign here:

St John's Day Celebrations in Wales

St John Ambulance Hong Kong held several celebrations during the month of June. June 9th was The Formation Ceremony of The Resuscitation Alliance. The Alliance was formed with the Fire Services Department as the Convenor and was joined by St John Ambulance Hong Kong.

On June 10th, the 9th Medic Night was hosted by the Principal Medical Officer’s Office of the St John Ambulance Hong Kong Brigade. Dr Donald Li, Director of the St John Ambulance Hong Kong Association, was invited as the Officiating Guest.

St John's Day Celebrations in Hong Kong

The Annual General Meeting 2023 was held on Friday, June 23, 2023, at Aw Boon Haw Hall, St John Ambulance Hong Kong Headquarters. Dr Chung Chin-hung, Council Chairman, chaired the meeting and presented the Service Bar and the Service Medal to the long-serving St John people.

St John's Day Celebrations in Hong Kong

To mark the first introduction of Automated External Defibrillation (AED), St John Ambulance Hong Kong held an exhibition to introduce the technological and equipment developments in “heart-saving” over the past half-century. The exhibition aimed to help the public understand the equipment and techniques used in emergency cardiac care.

St John's Day Celebrations in Hong Kong

St John Mauritius had an action-packed range of activities to celebrate St John’s Day 2023! Check out their video below:

St John Barbados held a service for St John’s Day on Sunday 25th June 2023, at Bethel Methodist Church.

St John's Day Celebrations in Barbados

Representatives from their local partners joined them for the occasion, including the Barbados Boy Scouts Association, the Girl Guides Association of Barbados, and the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Barbados.

St John's Day Celebrations in Barbados

St John Ambulance Zimbabwe held an annual church parade, Rededication services, and Cadet Enrolment Ceremonies in the three centres around the country. The first of the St John’s Day celebrations were held in Bulawayo on Saturday 17  June, the second in Harare on Saturday 24th June, and then the third and final in Mutare on Sunday 25th June. All three ceremonies were colourful and filled with pomp and fanfare. The Founders High School Choir serenaded the occasion in Bulawayo, while a Military Brass Band played in Harare.

Several hard-working and long-serving Brigade Members were promoted to various ranks, ranging from Corporal to Sergeant, Non-Commissioned Officer, Divisional superintendent, and Area Staff Officer Rank.

St John's Day Celebrations in Zimbabwe

St John New Zealand celebrated the day with a church service and an ambulance dedication in Balmoral, Auckland.

St John's Day Celebrations in New Zealand

The ambulance was donated by the Denning family in honour of Ray Denning to serve the wider Auckland area. The Late Ray Denning was a St John cadet and gained his Grand Prior in 1940; this was displayed at the front of the church.

St John's Day Celebrations in New Zealand

St John’s Day was an exciting and busy day for all St John people. Wherever you were, however you celebrated; we hope you all had a very happy St John’s Day!