THE extraordinary efforts of a community have been praised after more than £11,000 was raised in memory of a teenager.

When Ben Wilson, from Overton, died in a car crash in September last year, his family decided to raise money for St John Ambulance after a trained member of the public by the first aid charity was first at the scene and tried to treat Ben for his injuries.

Now, after charity football matches, a pub quiz, and a charity collection at the 18-year-old’s funeral, a cheque for £11,467.81 has been presented to St John Ambulance volunteers and staff.

Hayley Kenward, St John Ambulance community fundraising coordinator, said: “The love and support Ben’s parents David and Maria have received from their local community is overwhelming to see.

“For that same community to then fundraise for St John Ambulance and to support our work locally is extraordinary. The money they have raised will certainly have a long-lasting legacy and the local community will benefit hugely from their efforts.

“We can’t thank David and Maria enough for choosing to support St John Ambulance, especially at such a difficult time.”

David and Maria said: “We miss Ben every day and our lives as we knew it will never be the same.

“However, we want to do something positive from our tragedy and raising money for St John Ambulance has enabled us to do this as we know someone’s life will be saved, whether through a defibrillator or through someone receiving training that in times of need they feel confident to put into action.

“What a wonderful legacy for our Ben.”

The money will be used to install a public access defibrillator on the outside of the St John Ambulance Basingstoke Unit; to install a public access defibrillator in Overton at a location to be confirmed; and, to provide first aid training in two local schools Ben attended - Overton Primary School and Testbourne Community School.

And, to thank the community for their support, the local St John Ambulance unit plans to provide some free first aid training locally for those who would like to learn the skills to save a life.

For more information on St John Ambulance, including donating and details of training, go to or call 08700 10 49 50.