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The beginning of the Red Cross

Origins of the Red Cross Movement

Our belief in the power of kindness can be traced back to the creation of the Red Cross Movement.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement started in 1863 and was inspired by Swiss businessman Henry Dunant.

The suffering of thousands of men on both sides of the Battle of Solferino in 1859 upset Dunant. Many were left to die due to lack of care.

He proposed creating national relief societies, made up of volunteers, trained in peacetime to provide neutral and impartial help to relieve suffering in times of war.

In response to these ideas, a committee (which later became the International Committee of the Red Cross) was established in Geneva. The founding charter of the Red Cross was drawn up in 1863.

Dunant also proposed that countries adopt an international agreement, which would recognise the status of medical services and of the wounded on the battlefield. This agreement – the original Geneva Convention – was adopted in 1864.

The formation of the British Red Cross

When war broke out between France and Prussia in July 1870, Colonel Loyd-Lindsay (later Lord Wantage of Lockinge) wrote a letter to The Times. He called for a National Society to be formed in Britain just like in other European nations.

On 4 August 1870, a public meeting was held in London and a resolution passed:

A National Society be formed in this country for aiding sick and wounded soldiers in time of war and that the said Society be formed upon the rules laid down by the Geneva Convention of 1864.

The British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War was formed. It gave aid and relief to both warring armies during the Franco-Prussian War and in other wars and campaigns during the 19th century. This was done under the protection of the red cross emblem.

In 1905, the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War was renamed as the British Red Cross. It was granted its first Royal Charter in 1908 by HM King Edward VII. Queen Alexandra became its president.

The Red Cross needed many skilled volunteers for its wartime role. In 1907, a permanent structure of local Branches was adopted and extended the presence of the British Red Cross to communities around the country.

The Voluntary Aid Scheme was introduced in 1909 and ensured that Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) were formed across the UK. Their members would provide aid to the territorial medical forces in times of war.

The Anguilla Red Cross

The Anguilla Red Cross was established in 1976 as an overseas committee of the British Red Cross, subsequently becoming an overseas branch. Prior to 1976 the Anguilla Red Cross was a Branch of the St. Kitts Nevis Red Cross Society. The Anguilla Red Cross supports those in need in the community, in particular in response to disasters.

The Anguilla Red Cross is an overseas branch of the British Red Cross. Established in 2000 by an establishment agreement and registered as a non-profit organisation with the Financial Services Commission. There is a 7 member Governing Committee 2/3rds of which are elected by the members of the Anguilla Red Cross and 1/3rd of the Governing Committee (GC) may be co-opted by the GC.

The Anguilla Red Cross has been in existence since 1943. Our historical records show that we have responded to every major disaster in Anguilla’s history since that time in some way. Our first local committee was established in 1976 with Ms Ruby V Carter as the president.

The ARC operated with an executive committee performing all functions both management and governance until 2011, when we obtained our first full-time member of staff; with financial support from the British Red Cross (BRC). The executive committee is in the process of transitioning to a governing committee.
The GC is the governing body of the branch and ultimately responsible for everything the branch does, with the Chair as the head. With the employment of staff many of the day to day management and operation functions are now vested in the staff. Strategic planning and policy generation rests with the GC and the staff are then mandated to carry out the directives out in place.

The Anguilla Red Cross has four main programme areas:

Community Services

  • Blood Donation registration
  • Community Health Fairs
  • Medical Loan services
  • Events first aid
  • Emergency Responders
  • First-aid at Public events
  • Water safety Programme
  • Youth work

Disaster programme

  • Disaster Response
  • Disaster Risk Reduction (mitigation)
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Climate Change Adaptation