THERE are plenty of voluntary groups and organisations around the borough, and many have been active for quite a few years now. Their work is invaluable.

I would like members to tell us briefly a bit about how old their group is and what it does. To kick things off, I invited Shirley Abrathat to describe St John Ambulance in St Helens

She writes: “Chris has asked me to tell you all about us. Firstly though, I have some questions for readers. Where are we based? How long have we been there? What do we do?

“You may all know that our headquarters are off Standish Street, but did you know that we have been there for over 50 years? Our role is to serve the community, namely you. We are proud to do it and get pleasure from it.

“Perhaps you would like to join us? We have a choice of three groups here. Something for everyone.

“Adults (18 years plus) meet on Monday evenings 7.30pm to 9pm. You can make friends, have fun and receive superb training. You can also attend events as a trained first aider.

“These range from big ones like Saints matches or smaller ones such as charitable fetes.

“Youth (10 to 18 years old) – cadets meet 5.30pm to 7pm Mondays. The aim is to develop our youth, via training and volunteering whilst having a good time.

“Like all organisations the youth are our future, we welcome them all.

“Fellowship (18 years to any age) – perhaps attending events is not your scene, but you would like to be a part of our wonderful National Organisation.

“The Fellowship may be just the thing for you. Anyone can join as long as they are over 18 years old. We have social events, trips out, and invite guest speakers such as Chris himself. We also fundraise for the various ‘arm’ of St John and assist the members in a variety of ways.

“We meet monthly on Friday evenings 7.30pm to 9pm.”

n The latest issue of ‘Canal Cuttings’, produced by the Sankey Canal Restoration Society, shows they have been quite active. Work has begun on renewing the footpath between Newton Common Lock and Havanna Flashes. Now the remains of the upper lock gates are in view. The chamber was originally crossed by a swing bridge.

The lifting bridge at Fidler’s Ferry has been reopened. The Ferry Pub and some nearby farms were once part of Michael Hughes’s Sherdley Estate. They were sold in 1932. The society’s members have also been working on the footpath to the south of Hey Lock (Newton). Work on the footpath/cycleway from Waggon Lane to Blackbrook Road is now complete. Corporate volunteers and other groups have been helping.