Honorary OBE for Red Cross Mayo man Joe Mulligan

Honorary OBE for Red Cross Mayo man Joe Mulligan

MAYO man Joe Mulligan, the head of First Aid Education for the British Red Cross, has been awarded an honorary OBE for services to first aid and community resilience.

The award was announced as part of the 2015 Honorary British Awards for Foreign Nationals.

Mr Mulligan, who is from Callow, near Foxford in Mayo, has had a circuitous route to his current position.

“I came to England in 1982 and trained as a nurse. Then I did a stint at ambulance driving.

"But I’d always wanted to be a teacher, so I trained to do that — until one day, some 20 years ago — I spotted an advert in the Guardian for the Red Cross. And here I still am,” he said.

The Irishman has championed a more user-friendly and dynamic style of first aid education, and is a passionate believer in making first aid mandatory in schools.

“Only seven per cent of the population in Britain know how to respond adequately in an emergency. We want to get that number up substantially — we need to become a nation of life-saver,” he said.

“And it can be done. Most young people, and increasingly older people too, learn online or through apps — so we’ve concentrated on that end of things.

“We’re trying to make first aid more relevant and more accessible. Remember — the actions of the first person on the scene of any medical emergency can make a huge difference to the outcome.”

The OBE award is not Mr Mulligan’s first brush with royalty.

On several occasions he has provided personal refresher sessions to HRH the Prince of Wales.

“I meet up with Prince Charles on a regular basis. He’s a patron of the society, and is a keen first aider. He’s also very interested in our work such as training people for disaster zones and so on.”

The Mayo man lives in Bedfordshire where he is married with three children.