03 May 2022

Medal from the queen

Ten years ago, the Queen had a jubilee. And it seems to be a tradition that in her name, a lot of medals are handed out to people who do particular service to society. Emergency services count as such, and Mountain Rescue, and therefore also Cave Rescue, count as an emergency service. So Devon cave rescue had a big ceremony where all those who had been in the team for five years or more got a medal. I was there to facilitate the event.

Now it is 2022, and the Queen has her platinum jubilee. So another round of medals are being handed out! And by now I have more than five years of service under my belt, so now I am on the list for receiving one as well.

On a less glamorous note: I am also the membership secretary of the north Wales Cave rescue team, so I am actually the person who needs to liaise with central authorities, letting them know who exactly is entitled to a medal, and documenting who got one when. 

My administrative job here was not big; I inherited the membership database from my predecessor, and she had already made an inventory of who had the necessary five years of duty. The only thing I needed to do is check if anyone was already getting their medal from a different organisation. Some of us are in both cave rescue and Mountain rescue!

Then there was a committee meeting of the team at the Great Orme. The chairman walked in with a big box in his hands, and handed it to me. It was the medals! So I could hand them out to those present there and then. And then just hand them out at training sessions and other meetings. 

As I could hand them out to everyone there who qualified, I could also hand one out to myself. So now I am the recipient of a platinum jubilee medal! I felt very British. I am a member of the establishment!

Do I think I deserve that medal? Well, yes, as I fit the criteria. But do the criteria make sense? Not sure. I haven't really done much for it! Mountain rescue trains every week; we train once a month at the most. We barely have any callouts. I suppose the one thing I have which is special is that I am a woman being willing to be in Cave Rescue. That once was important because a team of only men and me were assisting an epileptic lady in a cave. She was getting very cold, as she was lying on the floor of the cave, and epileptic seizures are very exhausting. And you are not supposed to put someone who has seizures into a casualty bag. I decided to lie down  next to her and spoon her to keep her warm. I don't think any of the men would've done that! 

In addition, I am willing to keep an eye out for the feelings of any female casualties and fellow team members here in North Wales. I suppose the entire team think they do, but there are quite a number of men in the team of which I have a bit too much evidence that they don't recognise a woman's feelings even if these are unequivocally articulated into their faces. So that's where I come in! And I'll have that medal. Thank you Queen. 

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