Classic and state-of-the-art ambulances on show at St John base

Classic 1963 Austin ambulance latest SJA emergency ambulance Lowestoft

A classic 1963 Austin ambulance and the latest SJA emergency ambulance showing how ambulances have improved over the last six decades. - Credit: Mick Howes

A fully equipped classic ambulance from the 1960s attracted lots of interest as it was showcased alongside the modern day work of St John Ambulance at a popular event.

With the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival offering almost 120 free to explore events across town between September 10 and September 19, The St John Ambulance (SJA) Heritage Centre in Oxford Road, Lowestoft held a successful open day on Sunday as part of the festival.

Visitors had the chance to see a classic ambulance from 1963 alongside the very latest vehicle offering medical care that has joined the SJA fleet.

Tony Curd, St John Ambulance Unit President, said: “There was a lot of interest from visitors at our Oxford Road HQ in Lowestoft.

"They were able to see our fully equipped 1963 classic ambulance but also see how ambulance design and equipment had advanced by looking at our very latest emergency vehicle introduced earlier this year.

“The new ambulance, costing £105,000, is part of our major fleet upgrade programme and is lighter, more spacious and cheaper to operate than the charity’s existing vehicles."

Emergency ambulance crew members ambulance Lowestoft

Emergency ambulance crew members Steve Williams and Wayne McGeary (seated) and advanced first aider Philip Wilson demonstrate the power assisted Ferno Stair Chair on the latest ambulance. - Credit: Mick Howes

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Previously SJA had to deploy separate vehicles for its work to provide emergency support for both the NHS and at events - but the new ambulance can combine both types of work.

Mr Curd added: "It is also lighter, with a more fuel-efficient engine.

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"The new ambulance has state-of-the-art features which include a built-in Stryker stretcher and bespoke Ferno Stair Chair loading system which is a power assisted stair ascender that replaces the need for a tail-lift.”

As the rollout of these vehicles in their distinctive livery continues, they will become an increasingly common sight on the roads across Lowestoft, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Visitors also watched demonstrations of lifesaving CPR and the local SJA Cycle Response Unit.

Volunteers were also on hand to explain about the recent work of SJA in support of the NHS during the pandemic as volunteer vaccinators, in hospitals and providing ambulance support to the NHS Ambulance Trusts.

Mr Curd added “We hope this open day has given an insight into the many aspects of St John’s work in the local area, including our core activities: providing event medical cover and workplace & community training.”

For more information about St John Ambulance visit

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