Sunday, 16 October 2016

To Bind Up Their Wounds..

I noticed in Sicily that most streets seemed to be named after famous Italians - politicians, soldiers, saints, musicians,artists, kings... Including Victor Emmanuel II. I know nothing about VE2 except that he led his troops to victory, alongside Napoleon III, at the bloody battle of Solferino in 1859. 
After the fighting had finished, a Swiss businessman,
Henri Dunant, toured the battlefield and was appalled at the sight of wounded soldiers left to die were they lay in the mud. This led him to set up both the International Red Cross[1863] and persuade many countries to adopt the Geneva Convention[1864]

Queen Victoria became a patron in 1860 - and then in 1908, Edward VIII granted the charter to the British Red Cross, and Queen Alexandra became President. During WW1 and WW2, medical help was provided, and food parcels were sent to troops and POWs - many owe their very lives to Red Cross workers.
The amazing work of the British Red Cross continues to this day - in this country providing first aid training, first aiders in hand at events, help for the elderly and disabled with independent living and mobility issues - and around the world providing on the spot relief in times of crisis and disaster. Right now there are B.R.C. staff helping with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, supporting Syrian refugees, and taking medications, food and water to those suffering in the Yemen. This very week, the International Red Cross has been involved in the release of 21 of the Chibok girls.
Our Queen has been a patron for over 60 years, and this weekend, a special portrait to mark this was unveiled. It is full of symbolism - there is a bust of Henri in the background, and she is wearing Queen Alexandra's jewels.
I have the deepest respect for those who give their time and energy to work for this organisation - whether out in Haiti with blankets and food, teaching teenagers how to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and how to put sick people into the recovery position, or at a public event where on-the-spot medical help is needed, or in the community lending wheelchairs or fixing safety handles to baths...
The Junior Red Cross has a song with these lyrics
It's all about giving, it's all about trust
It's all about people, it's all about us
It's all about being human and having the heart
It's all about being human and playing a part
It's all about giving, it's all about life
It's all about helping, the weak survive
It's all about being human and be able to care
It's all about being human and ready to share
I hope the Royal Patronage continues - and that the great work of all the Red Cross Workers- paid or volunteers - is acknowledged, and goes on for years to come. We all have much to be grateful to them for.

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