A TEENAGE first aider from Hereford is hoping to be named St John Ambulance's Cadet of the year.

15-year-old Kaitlin Jones will be vying for the title at the charity's annual national competition, held at Eastwood Hall in Nottinghamshire this weekend.

"I'm mostly looking forward to the opportunity to socialise with people from across the UK and to learning some new skills," the St Mary's High School pupil said.

"I would recommend being part of St John because you get to learn fundamental skills that will set you up for life and you get to meet friends for life.

"It has also helped me gain confidence."

This year's competition is being held at a time when St John Ambulance is expanding its youth team, offering rewarding opportunities for adult volunteers to help with its groups in the West Midlands and enable it to create more places for seven to seventeen-year-olds.

Mark Farmer, St John Ambulance's Director of Youth and Volunteering said: "Cadet of the Year is always one of the most inspiring events in our calendar and it is particularly exciting to be running the contest as we make a significant investment in the future of our charity and the health of our nation.

"Many of the young people we work with progress to voluntary roles with St John Ambulance as adults, or find work as key members of vital health and care teams up and down the country, including the NHS.

"They often do both, but in every case these amazing young people make a real difference to the communities they serve.

"I wish Kaitlin and all of her fellow Cadets the best of luck - we're proud of them all."