Rolleston Lion’s Club President, Leo Slattery (left), receiving a St John plaque from John Sunckell as a commemoration of Lion’s fund-raising efforts

New ambulance presented by Lions

by Mike Isle

Selwyn has a new ambulance thanks to 35,000 hours of fundraising by Rolleston, Selwyn, Malvern, Halswell and Christchurch Chinese Lions Clubs, grants from Lions International Foundation and the Lloyd Morgan Lions Charitable Trust and a donation from Westland Milk products.

The $180,000 ambulance was presented on Sunday to St John and blessed by Reverend Laurence Ennor at Selwyn St John Rolleston hub where it will be based. Taking delivery of the ambulance, local St John chairman John Sunckell said the efforts of the combined Lions clubs and their affiliate organisations reinforced the prevailing attitude of Selwyn communities supporting community.

“It’s tremendous that they put the time and effort into supporting charitable groups who in turn support others,” he said.

Mr Sunckell said the ambulance would be of huge benefit to rapidly growing Rolleston and Selwyn, and St John was “incredibly” grateful for the ongoing support by Lions and the wider community.

Speaking for the Lions clubs, project chairman Bill Pickering, said it was immensely satisfying to see the new ambulance ready to start serving the public from Rolleston Hub.

Mr Pickering congratulated St John personnel for the professional and dedicated way they help people in distress, sometimes in horrendous circumstances and often risking their own lives as well.

He thanked St John for their welcome and hospitality and presented a plaque to go on their Rolleston Headquarters as a permanent commemoration of the Lions’ gift. He also thanked the six contributing clubs for their efforts and the Lions who had supported him in his role as chairman.

Mr Pickering said Lions was the largest service organisation in the world of more than 1.4 million members and the local clubs were able to qualify for a project grant of $96,000 from the Lions Clubs International, based in Chicago.

This organisation has already contributed more than $1,000,000 into Christchurch and Kaikoura after the devasting earthquakes there.

The presentation ceremony was attended by members of the Lions clubs involved, members of St John, Michael McEvedy Knight Commander of the Order of St John, who officially accepted the ambulance on behalf of St John and Lions’ vice district commander John Whyte.

St John Staff demonstrated sophisticated features of the new tier-three Mercedes ambulance most notably the power operated pull out stretcher capable of negotiating rough ground while supporting a patient with a minimum of effort by attendants. Costing $40,000 on its own and with heart monitoring equipment at $30,000 mean those items and other fittings make up more than half the cost of the ambulance.

Last year, St John Rolleston attended more than 3,500 call-outs.