This year, St John Ambulance Cymru is celebrating 100 years of Cadets in Wales. The celebrations kicked off at St John Ambulance Cymru’s Maesteg Division, the location of Wales’ first ever St John Ambulance Cymru Cadet group.

The St John Ambulance Cymru Cadet programme not only aims to teach the young people of Wales vital first aid skills required to save a life, but it also provides young people with wider skills which they can take into their professional and personal lives.

Since the first Cadet Division was formed in Maesteg on 12th March 1923, the Cadet programme has given young people across Wales a chance to give back to their communities by being there for people in times of need.

The celebrations took place earlier this month at the Division’s hall in Maesteg town centre. Attendees looked through the various historical artifacts on display, from vintage first aid kits to letters and photographs of Cadets in the past. Sir Paul Williams OBE, KStJ, DL, the Prior for Wales and 16-year-old Mali Stevenson, the St John Ambulance Cymru National Cadet of the Year, both spoke at the reception. Both reflected on the history of the Cadet programme and its importance today.

National Cadet of the Year, Mali Stevenson.
National Cadet of the Year, Mali Stevenson. (St John Ambulance.)

Mali spoke about her experiences being a Cadet: “being a St John Ambulance Cymru Cadet has massively helped to increase my confidence and communication skills. I have had the privilege of meeting many other young people as part of my journey, and wouldn’t be the person I am today without my experiences with them.

“We can all be thankful to everyone here today, and across the whole country, who have allowed the Cadet community to flourish and expand over the past 100 years.

“You have all made being a Cadet such a rewarding experience and I’m sure I can speak for all Cadets when I say that we are very grateful for your efforts. St John Ambulance Cymru is a vital service and what this organisation does to inspire participation from young people is incredible.

St John Ambulance.
(St John Ambulance.)

Kimberley Burns, Young People’s Development Officer for St John Ambulance Cymru helped to arrange the reception.

She said: “the event helped us to showcase the Division and thank our current volunteers for their dedication to our organisation.

“Without the hard work of past and present volunteers, the Maesteg Cadet unit wouldn’t have been able to continue.  

“We’re so looking forward to the rest of our centenary year, celebrating the hard work of our adult volunteers, and the achievements of Cadets across Wales.”

The reception marked the start of a whole year of celebration for the Cadet centenary. 

To find out more about the Cadet programme, visit