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Ted plans to call it a day... but only when he reaches 80

Tuesday, October 07, 2008, 11:39

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A 78-YEAR-OLD St John Ambulance stalwart who has dedicated more than 30 years to the charity is looking to step down — but only if a younger version can fill his shoes.

Ted Woolvett, of Blackbrook Walk, Paignton, who says he is 'still on the ball' is hoping to step down as chairman of the Paignton division committee when he reaches 80.

Ted said "What it boils down to really is age. I'll soon be 80 and while I try not to be an old fuddy duddy, I think what I have done is probably sufficient, and now the time has come for someone young and with young ideas to take over the management of the division."

It will mark the end of a distinguished career which began when Mr Woolvett signed up as a first aid member after he had rushed to help a woman who had fallen through a window.

Ted, then in his early 20s, was working in the building trade in London when he saw a woman fall through a basement window.

He said: "I tried to help her by pulling the glass from her arm and running her around to the GP surgery round the corner.

"I realise now everything I did then was wrong. I didn't know how to help. That's when I decided to join the St John Ambulance and I discovered the joy of working for an organisation which can make a huge difference to others."

Ted went on to become a superintendent, trainer and schools' liaison officer.

He left active St John membership and joined the management side as the chairman of the Paignton division committee, a role he has held for nine years.

Ted said: "I have been so proud to be part of St John Ambulance, and to work for an organisation which I genuinely love.

"I've been the chairman for nine years and I would thoroughly recommend the role as a great extra dimension to your life.

"It brings confidence, status, respect and skills, and the pride of being part of such a distinguished and historic organisation which works entirely for the benefit of others.

"I can honestly say being in the St John Ambulance has done more for me than I could ever do for the St John Ambulance. It's helped me develop a whole new side to my personality."

Ted — who is looking forward to devoting more time to the stamp collection he started at the age of nine — said he hoped to hand over the chairmanship to someone who would learn to love and understand the organisation but also someone who understood business, who was firm enough to keep order at committee meetings, would be interested in raising funds and in organising the care of the division's headquarters building.

The division also needs a treasurer and secretary.

Both positions are currently vacant.

Ted and his wife Margaret hope to continue with fundraising slide shows of old Paignton.

His involvement in the organisation has inspired him to compose an anthology of poems about St John Ambulance, Devon.

For more information about joining St John Ambulance Devon, contact the county headquarters in Exeter on 01392 824445, or email


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Comments (3)

  • I have known Ted for many years, he is certainly one in a million! St. john ambulance is a charity which without support can not survive it gets no funding from government and still has to come up to the same standards as the full time ambulance service Well done Ted for all your hard work over the years Paignton St John owe you a great deal of thanks!!
    Paul, Paignton
    commented on 07-Oct-2008 16:49
  • Ted, ted, ted.

    So nice to read a story about a decent man doing good stuff for the benefit of others, rather than the usual Herald Express stories about arguments, shouting and fisticuffs.

    And yes Cornelius, Peter Madelin would be an ideal replacement, he certainly has the legs for it.
    Rochester Cavendish, Near Weymouth
    commented on 07-Oct-2008 12:55
  • Ah Ted.

    Sorry, but I don't think anyone can replace Ted - he's a good egg. But if he does step down I'd love to see Peter Madelin step into his shoes.
    Cornelius Pump, Tettenhall
    commented on 07-Oct-2008 12:09

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Ted plans to call it a day... but only when he reaches 80



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