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Dave and Tess Cottrell view the electronic stretcher in the emergency ambulance they gifted to St John Thames. Photos: SUPPLIED

Two ambulances gifted to Thames community

Two state-of-the-art ambulances have been gifted to St John in Thames.
A blessing ceremony was held at the St John Thames ambulance station last month to dedicate the two frontline generation four emergency vehicles gifted by Thames couple Dave and Tess Cottrell and the late Joy McGifford, who bequeathed an ambulance to St John in her will.
St John Hauraki Territory Manager John Armitt said they were extremely grateful for the support and generosity of the donors.
“As a charity, St John relies on fundraising and donations from the public to equip our ambulance officers and keep ambulances on the road, as well as delivering essential community health programmes throughout the country,” he said.
“The kindness of others ensures we can be there for New Zealanders when they need our help.”
The Cottrells said they had always been grateful for St John’s work in the community.
“St John has always been there for us, we’re so happy that we can help St John and the community by gifting an ambulance,” Dave Cottrell said.
Joy McGifford was a great supporter of St John, and the fellow residents and her friends at the Thames retirement village where she lived say they will smile when they see Joy’s ambulance on the roads.
“The residents of Richmond Villas are so pleased that Joy’s wish of gifting an ambulance to St John has been honoured. We’ll call ambulance 623 Joy,” Joy’s friend, Nolene Smith, said.
Each year, St John needs to find funding for more than 45 new frontline emergency ambulances nationwide.
The two new ambulances donated to St John Ambulance, will start and finish shifts from the Thames ambulance station and will service the communities in and around the town.
They are fully equipped with lifesaving equipment and have features such as electronic stretchers, which do the heavy lifting for ambulance officers, and safety features like cruise control, which makes it safer for frontline personnel on long journeys.
They also have air conditioning in the rear patient compartment and other features to provide better patient care.
“These vehicles will make a big difference to our ambulance officers and our patients for many years to come,” Mr Armitt said.
St John provides emergency ambulance services to 90 per cent of New Zealanders and covers 97 per cent of the country’s geographical area. Over the past year, St John answered more than 580,000 emergency calls. St John ambulances travelled over 18 million kilometres and ambulance officers treated and/or transported more than 488,000 patients.