Community News From Around Our Area

Unexpected Sequence of Events Leads to High Sherriff Cadet Position for Freya

When Freya Pinnick broke her toe whilst attending an event at Edgbaston Stadium, it turned out to be a pivotal moment leading to a series of events which have since helped steer the course of her life, ultimately creating a plethora of new opportunities.

In the moments after the accident, which occurred at the cricket ground, Freya attended the medical tent manned by St John Ambulance volunteers.

After her treatment, the team urged Freya to consider joining St John Ambulance as a volunteer. They convinced her she could be a perfect fit, with the right qualities to help make a difference.

Now, three years down the line, the 16-year-old is a fully trained St John Ambulance Cadet with ambitions to pursue a career in medical science.

Freya has also just been appointed as Cadet to the new High Sheriff of the West Midlands, Louise Bennett OBE DL, an opportunity she won after coming second in a national competition to find the ‘Cadet of the Year’. As part of the competition, she took part in a first aid scenario – in which she achieved the highest score among all of the cadets – as well as a team building exercise, an interview and a presentation.

The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The origins of the Office date back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order within the shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.

Louise took office on Tuesday 30th March, in a virtual Declaration Ceremony, and has put a serious focus on highlighting opportunities for young people.

Freya said she was particularly excited for the year ahead and is hoping for plenty of opportunity to fulfil her Cadet role, offering support for the High Sheriff during her ceremonial duties.

Freya said she is also looking forward to getting involved over the next 12 months with Coventry 2021 – the City’s year as UK City of Culture 2021.

Freya, who lives in the Hall Green area of Birmingham, said, “To be a Cadet for the High Sheriff of County of West Midlands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and this year is particularly exceptional with Coventry being named the UK City of Culture.

“I know I’ll never experience anything like this again so over the next 12 months I plan to relish every opportunity, hopefully meeting lots of new people along the way.”

As part of her year as High Sheriff Louise plans to champion the cause of young people across the West Midlands. She will work closely with agencies and organisations across the region to help highlight the contribution of young people to our society and to help improve their opportunities and prospects.

Freya said, “I think many young people my age might not understand the importance of the role of the High Sheriff or how relevant it is to them. But the role is hugely important.

“Louise’s focus on young people is really important, championing our cause, and it is reassuring to know that there is someone out there in her position who has complete trust and faith in our ability to do well.

“This level of encouragement inspires me to work hard and do well – not just in my role as Cadet to the High Sheriff, but also in my own everyday responsibilities – as I don’t want to let her down.”

Freya is studying for A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. Her final exams will take place in the summer of 2022, after which point she is hoping to study at University College London.

During her free time Freya continues as a Cadet with St John Ambulance. Among the highlights of the past three years include covering all five days of the Ashes in 2019, where she and her fellow volunteers helped save a man’s life. “It was really scary,” she said. “He came stumbling in and was clearly not very well, so we helped treat him. It was terrifying that someone who had been that close to not being OK, had come to you for help and put all their trust in you. But he turned out OK, and that terror soon turned into the best feeling in the world, knowing that I possibly did something to help save his life, or even to have been a face to help him through.”

High Sheriff of the Midlands Louise Bennett OBE DL commented, “Freya has embraced her role as a Cadet with St John Ambulance and is an excellent example to other young people throughout the region. I was delighted she was able to attend my Declaration in March and look forward to working with her over the coming year.”