Ironside having practice run for 50th
Ironside Vehicle Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary in August and has plans for many more.
A small group of staff, volunteers and friends of the society will all be marking the occasion with an afternoon tea at the Waimea Bowling club, New Plymouth on August 19 to mark the occasion
‘‘We’re keeping this 40th anniversary celebration fairly low key but we’re really looking forward to the 50th,’’ Keith Piper, volunteer manager and treasurer said.
Piper also wanted to reassure people that despite what they may have heard they were not closing and were in fact planning on continuing for a long while yet.
Ironside provides a safe and reliable door-to-door transport service to a variety of people who are all transport disadvantaged.
‘‘You don’t necessarily need to be in a wheelchair to use our services,’’ Piper said.
‘‘A lot of people see the vans out and about and don’t realise they are eligible to use the service,’’ former president of 20 years Max Reesby said.
Transport is also available to the elderly or people who may be mentally or physically disadvantaged in Northern and Central Taranaki.
‘‘Ironside is absolutely unique. There is no other service like ours in New Zealand,’’ Reesby said.
The service, which started from humble beginnings with only one van and one driver, now has a team of seven vehicles with three full time and seven volunteer drivers who are all trained to deal with most medical issues.
Piper said people who intend to use the service must pre-book but that there was no limit to the jobs they would do.
‘‘We just do what the customer wants and is practical for them,’’
‘‘It just gives people a chance to get out and about and do stuff about town,’’ he said.
Ironside are a not for profit organisation but does receive funding from the TSB Bank, which has been with them since the beginning.
Other supporters are the Lotteries Commission and Lions clubs throughout Taranak. Of course there are also individual donations.
‘‘Any funds we make from the service go straight back into the upkeep and maintenance of the vehicles,’’ Reesby said.
Ironside Vehicle Society celebrate 40 years of service in the community in August. Driver Elaine Tunstall has worked 20 of those years.