CHILDREN got a gory slice of Halloween action when experts from the St John Ambulance made them up with a range of realistic wounds, at Stretford Mall.
The gruesome make up was painted on youngsters to mark the big spook fest, while also giving them tips on how to treat real injuries.
The event marked the finale of a week of fun and educational life-saving advice sessions offered by St John Ambulance during half term, in the charity’s pop-up training centre at Stretford Mall.
The sessions were enjoyed by a steady stream of kids eager to learn more about the sort of nasty bumps and gashes they might see in a horror movie, but definitely want to avoid.
Lesley Cann, publicity officer for St John Ambulance said: “The pop up centre was open every day during the school half term holidays.
“On Friday we were helped by a group of cadets, our young volunteers who have been trained as peer educators so that they can pass on their first aid skills to other young people.
“They were demonstrating and teaching first aid skills, talking about what it’s like to be part of St John Ambulance and the fantastic opportunities we have for young people.
“With Halloween the following day we were offering to make up young people with some ghoulish wounds.”
She added: “Throughout the day we had quite a few young people coming along to see what was happening.
“There were some really horrible looking injuries such as black eyes, burns and big gashes complete with plenty of blood – all thanks to one of our youth leaders, Melissa Baker, who is also a brilliant make-up artist.
“The idea behind it was that kids love a bit of gore and we hoped that by doing this we might be able to interest them in first aid.
“Our young educators do this sort of thing quite often as part of the training programme and the injuries look as real as they can make them.
“I think everyone involved had a really great time and I hope we sparked some interest in first aid, which really can make a difference.
“I know there were people with some really awful looking wounds walking around the shopping centre and when they got home later there were probably some pretty shocked mums!”
Amongst the first youngsters to get themselves some horrific fake injuries were Owen Powell and his friend Isaac Coore, both aged 13 and from Stretford.
Owen said: “They gave me a black eye and it looked really good with all sorts of colours in it.
“We were just out in the centre and weren’t really expecting this but we’re glad we got involved. It’s also been good to learn a bit about first aid.”
Artist Melissa really went to town on Isaac, fixing him up with bruised knuckles, a scratched face and a bloody nose.
“I look just like I’ve been in a fight but, luckily, I’ve never had anything like that for real.
“It’s been brilliant and I’m glad we came. I think I’d also be interested to learn a bit more about first aid now.”
One of the seven peer educators involved was 17-year-old Sean Hooper from Warrington, who said: “Melissa made me up with a big black eye and put a burn on my arm and when they saw me walking around like that a lot of people decided to come over and take a look at what we were doing.
“It’s been a really good day and very worthwhile doing because I think we’ve generated quite a lot of interest in first aid and St John Ambulance.”
Gareth Wilkins, Manager at Stretford Mall shopping centre said: “The St John Ambulance pop up training centre is proving to be a very popular addition to our community activities here at Stretford Mall.
“It’s a great idea to get young people teaching others some of these vital first aid skills and introducing the ghoulish wounds was a lot of fun too.
“The St John Ambulance event tied in with our other fun Halloween themed activities, including craft making workshops throughout Friday afternoon, and culminating in a Kids in Space activity session featuring a 3D printer live in action.”
The pop up training centre, on the first floor at Stretford Mall, is a pioneering year-long initiative by St John Ambulance which was set up in September and aims to see more than 1,000 staff, shoppers, children and community group members learn how to save lives and deliver basic first aid.
The unit, only the second of its kind in England, was unveiled by Warren Smith, Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, and the Mayor of Trafford, Councillor John Holden.
It follows the success of an earlier pop up centre which ran for six months in Runcorn.
The St John Ambulance team is teaching skills including resuscitation procedures, the recovery position, stemming bleeding, anti-choking techniques and how to use automatic defibrillators stationed in public areas.
For more information about St John Ambulance visit www.sja.org.uk or call 0161 443 0106.
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