HAYLEY GASTMEIER

hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

Onesies were the word, and the look, at Martinborough’s Bell St Early Learning Centre last Thursday.

Dressed as animals, superheroes, and pirates, the children and staff were joined by South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier and Wellington Free Ambulance Wairarapa operation’s manager Nigel Watson for a onesie get together to promote the upcoming fundraiser.

Onesie Day on Friday, September 8, celebrates Wellington Free Ambulance being the only emergency ambulance service in Greater Wellington and Wairarapa.

Costing $25m annually to run, it is the only emergency ambulance service in the country that is free.

Funds raised through the annual appeal go directly towards new ambulances, life-saving equipment, advanced clinical training and research.

Mr Watson, who donned his daily onesie get-up — his green uniform, amused the pre-school kids with multiple siren sounds from his vehicle.

Bell St Early Learning Centre assistant supervisor Amy Styles said the children enjoyed Onesie Day when it rolled around each year.

“The kids love it as a dress up day. We do it every year.”

She said they usually tied it in with popcorn making and a movie day.

South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier said Wellington Free Ambulance was a vital service for the region.

The South Wairarapa District Council annually donates $1 per resident to the cause, while Masterton District Council donates 75 cents per resident, and Carterton District Council donates 17 cents.

Wellington Free Ambulance trustee Catherine Rossiter-Stead said people should not be afraid to call 111 in an emergency.

She acknowledged the three Wairarapa councils for their contributions, as well as those who donated at fundraisers and through a monthly direct debit.

There would be volunteers out with collection buckets on Onesie Day.

“If you’ve got some spare change in your pocket just pop it in the bucket and help keep our ambulance service free.”