Gala for Peo­ple’s Am­bu­lance

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - CAL­LUM ROBERTS

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.

MONIQUE FORD

Pa­tient trans­fer man­ager Chris Pilk­ing­ton and medic Rachel Carr with an Adrian Heke print for auc­tion.

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