The members of St John Ambulance throughout Northern Ireland and most especially those in Belmont Division, of which he was a member, have been deeply saddened by the sudden, tragic and untimely death of Gerard McDaid.
Gerard started his career with St John Ambulance as a cadet in Northlands Division. He was there for five years and as he progressed he helped, encouraged and taught those younger than him in the skills needed to become a good first-aider. He rose to the rank of cadet leader and obtained the Grand Prior award, which is the highest award a cadet can get. This takes several years of study in many different subjects and culminates in the granting of the award. After several years as divisional officer in the cadets he transferred to Belmont Adult Division.
Gerard had been a member of Belmont Adult Division for the last ten years and combined with his cadet service he obtained the service medal of St John at the end of 2012. Gerard was a caring, enthusiastic and committed member. He showed a dedication second to none and was very active in so many of the public duties the division carry out in the local community. He took a keen interest in providing first aid cover at many sporting events, especially moto-cross and the NW200. He drove the St John ambulance at many civic events, such as Hallowe’en and St Patrick’s Day and at other events, such as the official opening of the Peace Bridge and the Olympic torch relay. He also carried out many hospital transfers – moving patients from hospital to hospital throughout Northern Ireland and from hospital to home. His cheerfulness, sense of humour and the efficient way in which he carried out his duties will always be remembered.
The esteem in which Gerard was held was demonstrated by the huge turnout and the very impressive guard of honour of uniformed members of St John at his funeral, which took place in St Mary’s Chapel, Creggan on March 27. The coffin was draped in the flag of the Order of St John. His passing has left a huge void. He might have been small in stature but he left giant footprints to be filled. He was a dearly loved friend and colleague and the members of St John would like to express their very sincere condolences to his son, Riordan, his partner Catriona, his parents Eugene and Susie, his brothers and sisters and all his family. May he now rest in peace.