A well-known Helensburgh man was invested as a Member of the Order of St John at the annual St John Scotland Festival in Haddington earlier this month, the first for two years because of the pandemic.

Graham Smith’s admission was sanctioned by Her Majesty the Queen, who is the Sovereign Head of the Order, which ranks in precedence immediately after the Order of the British Empire.

The retired surveyor has been a member of the St John Scotland Dunbartonshire committee for several years, and he became its chairman in June. He has specialised in defibrillator and CPR training.

Twice president of Helensburgh Rotary Club, he has been a Helensburgh Parish Church member and leading Boys Brigade officer for many years.

His son and daughter looked on as he was invested in St Mary’s Parish Church by the Prior of St John Scotland, Eleanor, Duchess of Argyll, DStJ, who became the first lady Prior in the international order in June, and who is a regular visitor to Helensburgh.

Graham’s predecessor as Dunbartonshire chairman, Colonel John Kelly MBE, who recently moved from Muirlands, Arden, to the Borders, was invested following his promotion to the grade of Officer.

St John Scotland supports medical and rescue charities, in particular mountain rescue, palliative care, and patient transport. It paid for the construction of bases for the mountain rescue teams at Arrochar and Drymen, and it was the major donor for the Luss rescue boat, which is named after the Order.

The local committee raises funds annually for the Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team, the Luss rescue boat, the Acorn Centre for children at the Vale of Leven Hospital, the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice at Clydebank, and the St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.

Photo by Donald Fullarton