TWO Royal Gwent Hospital workers have described spending an “unbelievable” 10 days in Northern India, where they taught first aid techniques and had an audience with the Dalai Lama.

Nurse practitioner Gareth Lloyd-Ford, 41, and health care support worker Mark Gordon, both from Newport, are both members of the Cwmbran branch of St John Cymru, who organised the trip.

They were selected to travel to India because of their community work in Gwent.

Making up the Gwent contingent of the St John Cymru trip were Michael Stevens and Emma Bailey.

They left the Uk on Friday, April 6, as part of a twelve strong team sent to Dharamsala in the Himachal Pradesh district of India. The city is also the seat of the Tibetan leader in exile, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Llama

While in country, they deliver first aid training to over 1,000 individuals in remote suburbs. The team also passed on their knowledge to medical students, monks, nuns, nurses, teachers and Tibetan exiles.

To top off their trip, the volunteers were granted an audience with the Dalai Lama.

Speaking to the Argus, Mr Lloyd-Ford said: “It was a pretty unbelievable experience. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve been there.

“Apart from the sights, sounds and smells and cows walking around everywhere, the thirst for knowledge we found out there is what is always going to stick in my mind, especially when you compare it to over here.

“Mark and I went to the local hospital and did some training with the healthcare professionals there too.

“It wasn’t the most relaxing holiday, but it was an unbelievable experience.

Emma Bailey added: It was a privilege to go out and meet the communities. It was an amazing experience with positive feedback."