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Tributes paid to volunteer Bill

St John Scotland is sad to share the news of the passing of one of our longest standing and most dedicated volunteers, Bill Spence. 

Bill passed away on Sunday (May 10) at home, after a short battle with bowel cancer. 

Bill had been a dedicated member of our Angus & Dundee area, and was a well respected local figure, having served as Tayside Police Chief Constable throughout the 1990s.

Following his retirement in 2000, Bill became the driving force behind much of St John Scotland's activity in Angus & Dundee throughout the 2000s and 2010s. He was instrumental in setting up a number of projects which continue to benefit the people and communities of the area to this day.

These include the Patient Transport service, which Bill established after learning of the difficulties many local cancer patients faced when trying to get to their treatments. Following discussions with the Scottish Ambulance Service, the scheme was launched in Angus & Dundee in 2008. After a successful initial period, in 2013 the service was expanded to also help renal patients. Bill was instrumental recruiting the team of volunteer drivers, many of whom fondly recall being ‘persuaded’ into volunteering by him. Such was the strength of good feeling towards him that many, once nudged, remained loyal, contributing many hours of volunteering and helping countless people.

Bill also established St John Scotland’s groups of First Responders in Angus, keen to help communities who had limited access to emergency healthcare. The scheme began in 2010, with Bill serving as a First Responder himself, as well as organiser of the groups.

Having served as Chair of the Angus & Dundee committee since 2007, Bill stood down in 2013, but remained a key driver of St John Scotland’s work locally. He led the Area’s work on Public Access Defibrillators, and following the purchase of a first device for Carnoustie in 2016, worked with communities across Angus and Dundee to install 46 more by the start of 2020. Bill was also involved in St John Scotland’s fundraising activities, organising an annual Fiddler’s Rally at Dundee’s Caird Hall each year, and regularly manning the St John Scotland stall at the Glamis Extravaganza. 

The thoughts of everyone at St John Scotland are with Bill's family at this difficult time.

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