THE former vicar of St John the Evangelist in Lostock Gralam is the new county chaplain for St John Ambulance in Cheshire.

Rev Brian Harris was installed in his new role by the Very Rev Nicholas Frayling, dean of the Order of St John at a special ceremony before the annual St John Ambulance awards.

Having been the vicar of a number of Cheshire parishes in his 30-year ministry, Rev Harris is well placed to take on this role.

Speaking at his commissioning, Rev Harris said “It’s a privilege to take up the role of chaplain to St John in Cheshire and I’m very much looking forward to being involved, visiting units and getting to know people.

"My aim is to support the invaluable work of the exceptional volunteers involved with St John, offer pastoral care where I can, promote and maintain the Christian foundation of the organisation whilst valuing the contribution and commitment of people of many different faith positions and to help to provide suitable recognition for what they do.”

Prior to becoming a vicar, Brian worked in the nuclear power industry at Risley and Knutsford, an experience which helped him on his first visit to a St John unit.

Like many units in Cheshire, Macclesfield St John Ambulance has a mix of different faiths or none and physics provided a link with one volunteer who trained as a nuclear physicist.

Rev Harris lives in Cuddington and is married to Alison, the recently retired vicar of Witton, Northwich and they have two daughters and three grandchildren.

He is currently revising the order of service for this year’s St John carol service on Sunday, December 1 at All Saint’s Church in Runcorn.

The Order of St John has its origins in Jerusalem in the late 11th century providing care for injured Christian soldiers fighting the Crusades.

There is still a St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem which now looks after people of any faith, background or ability to pay.

St John Ambulance has a number of volunteer units around Cheshire supplying first aid cover for sports events, exhibitions, shows and county fairs.

Northwich Guardian:

St John Ambulance volunteers help at various sports events including football matches

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The charity also provides first aid, health and safety and mental health first aid training for thousands of companies, local authorities and members of the public. In times of crisis St John Ambulance also supports the emergency services.

Information about St John in Cheshire can be found at