Wellington Free Ambulance Wairarapa area manager Nigel Watson with paramedics Helen and Julia, and patient transfer officer Benjamin. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Emily Ireland

Gifting a new ambulance to Wairarapa was a dying wish for Bevan Jones, known affectionately by his friends as ‘Spike’.

Bevan Jones, an “intensely private man” passed away recently, and left everything he had to Wellington Free Ambulance.

“It was in recognition of the help they gave to him and others over the years,” his friend Gary Beban said.

“He felt that Wellington Free is a service that helps everyone and discriminates against no one.

“It is for this reason that he asked for his money to go to Wellington Free so that they can buy two frontline ambulances; a driver training ambulance; and training equipment for the paramedics.”

One of the new ambulances will go to Hutt Valley, the place where Spike was born, and other to Wairarapa, the place that he loved.

Those who knew Spike well described him as polite – a softly spoken gentleman who was at his happiest at his Wairarapa bach tucked at the back of Yeronga Station.

“You would find him sitting outside in the sun with a cup of tea listening to the sound of birds, the wind in the trees, and the flowing stream nearby,” Gary said.

“If he wasn’t there, it was a matter of following the wheel tracks of his old tractor and the sound of his axe chopping firewood, which he could do all day right up to the time when he became ill.”

Spike was a talented engineer who could turn his hand to anything.

He also had a soft spot for a nice four-wheel drive.

“He would get on his bike with his old jeans and bush-shirt and head to town in search of a new wagon,” Gary said.

“The salesmen would often ignore him sending the junior out instead, while Spike picked out the nicest vehicle in the yard to buy . . . much to the dismay of the senior staff.”

Chief executive Mike Grant described Spike’s donation as “the kindest gesture”

“By leaving this gift in his will, Spike has done something wonderful for us, and communities he cared about.

“We are extremely humbled by his generosity.”

Wellington Free Ambulance Wairarapa area manager Nigel Watson said the donation meant “so much” to the community, staff, and paramedics.

“It’s clean, new, mechanically sound and reliable,” he said.

“It’s a $250,000 piece of equipment, and it’s very complex . . . with new technology extra-large fuel tanks, special suspension, and a new lights and siren feature.”

The number of ambulances will remain the same in Wairarapa, with an older ambulance shifting to Wellington to spread resources throughout the greater Wellington region.

“We are still maintaining our three emergency ambulances,” Nigel said.

“This one has been assigned to Masterton, based out of the Masterton ambulance station and will complement the staff up there, however it moves anywhere within Wairarapa.”

Nigel said he was thrilled about the donation.

“It means a lot to us.

“There are plenty of organisations for people to donate money to and he chose us.

“We’ve obviously touched an important part of Spike’s life.”

Spike’s financial donation has also provided staff with driver training.

“I’m super happy someone has generously donated a vehicle. It’s unbelievable,” Nigel said.

The ambulance will be officially launched on Friday at The Offering in Greytown.