St John is proud that its veteran archivist and Order Member, George Wright has jointly won the long service category of the 2019 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards, while its Invercargill Health Shuttle team has been named runners up for the community or NGO health service team category.

The Minister of Health David Clark presented the awards during a ceremony at the Grand Hall Parliament on 17 June, to recognise unsung heroes for their long-term commitment, achievement, outstanding success, and action above and beyond the call of duty.

“We are thrilled that George Wright and our Health Shuttle team have been publicly recognised by government and we are thrilled to celebrate their success with the country,” says St John Director of Community Health Services, Sarah Manley.

Christchurch volunteer, George Wright, who is about to celebrate 77 years of continuous community service with St John, served as a clinical volunteer for 57 years (1942-1999), giving his time to the provision of first aid services at various sporting and public events and volunteering hundreds of hours to the Christchurch emergency ambulance service. He also volunteered as a casual instructor teaching practical first aid and CPR and was involved in the governance of St John at a local, regional and national level from 1994 to 2008. George, who continues to volunteer as an archivist in the St John History Unit, says he is humbled by this award.

“George is the longest-serving continuous volunteer in the 134-year history of St John in New Zealand and we are so proud of him. He is a trailblazer and an inspiration to other volunteers around the country. His work in our archives department means our history is well documented for future generations,” says Ms Manley.

The St John Health Shuttle service was launched in Invercargill on August 2013 and is run by a team of 25 volunteers who pick up patients from Gore, Clinton, Balclutha, Milton, Mataura and Edendale, returning daily. Every week, the Health Shuttle team takes patients from Invercargill Hospital to Dunedin Public Hospital and drops them off at Mercy Hospital, Waikari Hospital, Dunedin Public Hospital and the Salvation Army rehabilitation clinic.

With a collective journey of approximately 100,000 kilometres per year, over the past six years the Invercargill health shuttle has carried over 6,000 patients that would otherwise not have been able to transport themselves or attend important medical appointments.

“The team provides a critical service to the community it serves. They make it possible for disadvantaged and vulnerable New Zealanders to access primary health services. Without this committed team of volunteers, we know that there would be individuals facing much poorer health outcomes,” Ms Manley says.

“Every one of our volunteers is valuable to St John and is deserving of recognition for their generous contribution to society. Every day, our volunteers are doing meaningful work on the frontline, in our community health services, governance and chaplaincy, helping to boost the health and wellbeing of New Zealand communities.”


For more information about volunteering with St John visit https://join.stjohn.org.nz/volunteer-jobs.



Beverley Tse

St John Communications Advisor – Northern Region

M 0273181553

E beverley.tse@stjohn.org.nz


Ngaire Jones

St John Communications Advisor – Central Region

M 0210549135

E ngaire.jones@stjohn.org.nz


Gerard Campbell

St John Communications Advisor – South Island Region

M 0275672083

E gerard.campbell@stjohn.org.nz

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