Gala for People’s Ambulance
In its 90th year, Wellington Free Ambulance is hosting a gala to raise money for a unique ambulance.
The service has offered paramedic care free of charge to the Wellington and Wairarapa region since 1927.
Communications and fundraising executive manager Diane Livingston says the ‘‘OneOf-A-Kindness’’ gala and auction next month will feature items and experiences such as an art collaboration between Dick Frizzell and Shane Cotton, 10 dresses by Wellington designer Sophie Voon, and an opportunity to fly in Air New Zealand’s flight simulator.
All money raised will go toward a unique ‘‘people’s ambulance’’, a specially marked vehicle with a different paint job, which will join the Wellington Free Ambulance fleet.
‘‘Anyone who contributes as part of this celebration, either at the gala or just by making a donation, will be able to see the ambulance that they have helped pay for driving around the streets.’’
Six new ambulances are needed every year, with each one costing $200,000.
Wellington Free Ambulance gets about 78 per cent of its funding from the government, relying on public support for the rest.
‘‘We’re here because of the enduring support of the community, we are so lucky to have that.
‘‘For 90 years the people of this region have been backing us, and keeping us going and keeping us free. That’s what we wanted to celebrate.’’
The gala’s principal sponsor, the Lloyd Morrison Foundation, has bought two fully equipped ambulances and is looking to buy a third.
The foundation’s chairwoman, Julie Nevett, says it is wonderful to be associated with Wellington Free Ambulance. ‘‘It’s remarkable to have 90 years of this free service.’’
The foundation operates nationwide, but it is keen to foster an iconically Wellington project, and Nevett says its staff all collect for the service.
‘‘Everybody is happy to do their bit because, unfortunately, you never know when you will need it.’’
She says the foundation hopes to encourage others to add more people’s ambulances to the fleet and help keep the service free.
The gala and auction is at TSB Bank Arena on November 25.
Patient transfer manager Chris Pilkington and medic Rachel Carr with an Adrian Heke print for auction.