“St John has given me a great sense of purpose and fulfilment in my life”

“I am Matthew Turnock, a director of St John Ambulance in Gibraltar. I have Cerebral Palsy, but this has never held me back from serving and empowering others, especially those with disabilities.

I joined St John Gibraltar in 2015, inspired by their assistance with my house, which had four flights of stairs and no lift. They helped me up and down the stairs for a year when I was 17. This inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others. The chairperson, Franco Cassar, welcomed me as an equal member of the team, despite my disability. He gave me the opportunity to prove myself and grow as a leader.

Matthew Turnock


As a director of St John Gibraltar, I have been involved in many aspects of the organisation. I have resolved HR issues, contributed to management decisions, and promoted St John events.

I became a member of the Order of St John in 2019 and an officer in 2023, but that is not what matters to me. What matters is my role as a leader and a mediator between the volunteers and the board.

My disability helps me read situations and understand people’s needs and emotions. Being 39 years old, I also have a close connection with the volunteers, who trust me and respect me as a leader. I can find solutions that work for everyone.

Matthew Turnock

Besides my work at St John, I am also an advocate for the rights and needs of people with disabilities in my community. I have lobbied the Government of Gibraltar to improve accessibility and inclusion in various aspects of society. I have also advised on making buildings, buses, and external lifts more wheelchair-friendly. Moreover, I have raised £100K for beach equipment that enables people with disabilities to enjoy the sun and fun at the beach. Through St John, I also enjoy promoting social justice events that raise awareness and support for various causes and groups.

Matthew Turnock

St John has given me a great sense of purpose and fulfillment in my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and inspire others, especially those with disabilities, to pursue their goals and dreams. My wheelchair and disabilities do not limit me in any way. They enhance my ability to be a leader and a promoter of St John events. However, none of this would be possible without the volunteers, who are the heart and soul of St John. They are the ones who deserve all the recognition and appreciation for their service. They are the ones who inspire me to do my best as a leader.”