18 August 2015
SI Jessica Bradley, from Shetland Independent Cadet Battery, received St John Scotland's highest award for bravery afetr risking her life to save a man who was in danger of bleeding to death. She was presented with the Order of St John’s Gold Life-saving Medal, awarded for "conspicuous acts of bravery", at a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle.
Two years ago Jessica, then 20, forced her way into a known drugs den to help the man, who was suffering from a self-inflicted knife wound to his neck. She and a friend, Claire Hendry, were leaving a house in Grodians, Lerwick when they heard glass smashing and someone shouting for an ambulance. Jessica grabbed a first aid kit from her car and told Claire to telephone for help while she went into the house and found two men struggling.
“I had to fight off the unhurt one, but managed to get a look at the other. He had a really serious throat wound and was bleeding badly,” says Jessica. “I’ve actually known him since I was four years old at nursery, so there was a connection and I managed to talk to him and calm him down enough to apply pressure to the wound.”
However the situation deteriorated when the injured man became violent, kicking and punching Jessica before locking himself in another room.
“After that I kept talking to him through the door and managed to get him to press a blanket to the wound. Jessica explained. It then took six police officers and two ambulance personnel to subdue him enough to get him to hospital.
Jessica was nominated for the St John Scotland award by her Cadet Force Battery Commander, Kevin Bryant, who said: “Jessica acted in an exceptionally brave and professional manner with no thought for her own safety in what was a dangerous situation.”
Lt Col A J Sharkey, Chairman of the First Aid Panel of the Army Cadet Force Association/Combined Cadet Force Association, said: “Jessica saved the man’s life, placing the need for immediate action above the need for her own safety.”
As for Jessica, she says: “I’m totally overwhelmed by getting this award. At the time I didn’t think about being in any danger. I just did what I was trained to do and I’m proud of that. I’ve always wanted to be able to help people.”
Jessica joined the Shetland Independent Cadet Battery when she was just 12. It was through the ACF that she received her training in first aid, before volunteering to become a First Responder with the Scottish Ambulance Service.