New Zealanders have helped turn block-set toy ambulances and stations into a much-needed ambulance for the Napier community following ASB's successful St John Toy ambulance campaign.
The national campaign, which ran in December, saw nearly 20,000 toy ambulances and station sets sold at ASB branches around New Zealand, with all the money going towards helping to put real ambulances on New Zealand roads.
The gift wrapped, new and fully-equipped Gen 3 ambulance will be given to St John members in Napier on Friday 10 August outside the Masonic Hotel at 2pm. It will be blessed by a St John chaplain, alongside another ambulance destined for Tauranga, which has been donated by an avid St John supporter and ASB Tauranga customer after he won Lotto.
ASB regional manager Barry Coffey thanks New Zealanders from across the Bay and the country for getting involved in the ASB toy ambulance campaign.
"We're delighted to gift a new ambulance and life-saving equipment worth $230,000 to the Napier community. Both ASB customers and staff are proud of our partnership with St John, and it's incredibly special to be able to support the local St John officers by adding to their fleet and aiding their important work," Coffey says.
The new Napier ambulance is the third one gifted across New Zealand funded directly from the ASB toy ambulance campaign. While St John ambulance operations is 74% funded, its equipment – like ambulances – and buildings are not government funded.
Napier St John Territory Manager, Brendon Hutchinson says the local community will be well-served by this new addition and the lifesaving equipment inside.
"No one knows when they may need an ambulance, but if and when the time comes, it's good to know you'll get the best possible care at the right time. This ambulance will be on the road helping us save lives from this moment on. St John is grateful to ASB and the New Zealand public for their generous support," Hutchinson says.
Among local dignitaries and St John staff witnessing the unveiling of the ambulance were local ASB staff who added to the fundraising through a number of events, such as bake sales and most recently 'shaking the bucket' alongside St John Youth, St John staff, and volunteers at the local Farmers Market.
"We spend our days focused on helping Hawke's Bay residents achieve their financial goals, so it is a delight to be able to contribute to the lives of our customers and community in another practical way," Administration Manager ASB Rural – North Island and Hawke's Bay St John Area Committee member, Juanita Gudgeon says.
The fully-road ready ambulance includes an automated Powerload Stryker Stretcher to help reduce lifting injures for St John Ambulance officers. The vehicle is also equipped with 180-degree LED emergency lights for greater safety.
St John Hawke's Bay numbers:
including Napier, Hastings, Porangahau and Waipukurau
On average, St John attended 1,400 emergency incidents per month across the 12 months to June 30 2018 in the Hawke's Bay regional response area, travelling more than 300,000 kilometres across the region.
The working life of a St John ambulance is typically around eight years.
About the ASB St John toy ambulance campaign
Block-set toy ambulance and station sets were sold at ASB branches across New Zealand for $30 throughout December 2017, with all money going towards buying a new ambulance for St John.