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June Hendry (75) was moved to splash out $250,000 on a fully kitted-out ambulance after a St John representative spoke at her Queenstown Country Club retirement village about the service.
Hendry, who has called on the service herself after a fall, says what swayed her was concern her three grandkids, who go mountain biking and the like when they holiday there, might have an accident and there would not be an ambulance available.
"The thought of having teenage grandchildren of my own who indulge in these sports, we really do need more ambulances."
Hailing from Britain where the health service funds ambulances, she was also shocked to hear St John relies on community funding.
Hendry says she was in a position to help thanks to her savings and a legacy from her mum, who died 18 months ago aged almost 95.
"And I don’t need any more shoes or handbags."
Using her funding, St John has bought a new-model Generation 4 ambulance that is the first in the resort to be airconditioned and have a Covid screen separating paramedics from patients.
It also comes with a $50,000 Powerload Stryker stretcher that is automated to help reduce injuries for St John ambulance officers.
Hendry had 20 of her friends and family attend a ceremony at which the ambulance was dedicated.
St John’s regional community engagement manager Craig Stockdale says St John is extremely grateful for an "incredible donation".
"Through this service, this ambulance will help us save lives.
"As a charity, we rely on donations and fundraising to help us purchase new ambulances, lifesaving equipment and to build and maintain ambulance stations.
"Support from people like June and donations from the wider public of New Zealand help keep our ambulances on the road and our services operating."
Hendry hopes her gesture will encourage others: "It doesn’t have to be another ambulance, but it could be just enough to get them another stretcher or help out in any way."