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280 years of Red Cross volunteering

A group of Masterton Red Cross volunteers with a combined total of almost three centuries of service between them were honoured last week.

Bev Fowler, a 30-year veteran and Meals on Wheels coordinator, said her biggest highlight over the years has been the gratitude of those receiving help.

“It saves an awful lot of people being in hospital,” she said.

Fowler wouldn’t know how many hours she’s put into volunteering for the Red Cross but said that the time’s gone very quickly.

“It’s no trouble, you just fit it into your life.”

Fowler started volunteering as a driver once she retired and “it sort of went from there”, she said.

Red Cross Meals on Wheels is a service providing meals to people who have a disability or ongoing health problems and find difficulty preparing food for themselves.

It delivers one meal every weekday of the year to recipients, except for Christmas Day.

In the past year, more than 3000 volunteers delivered 710,000 hot meals nationwide.

There are 54 volunteers for the Masterton Meals on Wheels Group and 16 volunteers from Greytown, and Fowler said 706 meals are being delivered each month across three different runs inside the Masterton borough.

Meanwhile, retired nurse and Red Cross staff member Joan Black said she felt “chuffed” to reach her 20-year milestone award as a staff member.

Black has seen many changes over her two decades of voluntary service including the addition of patient transfer, immigration, and refugee services.

Once she retired from nursing at Masterton Hospital, Black worked nine hours a week in the Red Cross office.

Black first took on the building custodian role and has since volunteered with Meals on Wheels and New Zealand Blood Service, as well as driven clients.

Volunteers for the Wairarapa Hospital Meet and Greet Group, who welcome visitors to Masterton Hospital and give directions and guidance, were also honoured. There are currently 25 volunteers, with at least two on duty daily.

A volunteer from the NZ Blood Service also received her 20-year award in the ceremony.

Red Cross Area Representative Council president John Kennedy-Good, who presented the awards, commended the dedication, support, and loyalty of the 23 volunteers who’ve clocked up 280 volunteer years between them.

“The contribution they’ve made to the Masterton community is immeasurable,” he said.

Masterton Meals on Wheels

Bev Fowler; Marilyn Kinvig [30 years], Carol Manson [20 years], Trevor Manson; Pauline McKenzie; Gay Meyer; Pauline Ruth Oliver; Judith Roberts [15 years], Sue Falloon; Ngaire Stevens; Sue Hay; Margaret Fleming; Corrie Van Der Put [10 years].

Masterton Hospital
Meet and Greet Group

Valmai Wright [15 years], Debbie Ewen [10 years], Judy Burns; Nicola Carstens; Lorraine Liggins; Jacqui Thomas; Ann Tibbs; Elaine Pacey [five years].

NZ Blood Group
Support Volunteer

Ellen Sayer [20 years].

NZ Red Cross Staff Member

Joan Black [20 years].

Of the 23 volunteers, 14 people were at the Service Award Ceremony last week, while the nine absentees have been invited to receive their awards at a later date.

To volunteer, visit the Red Cross website [www.redcross.org.nz] or Wairarapa Red Cross Service Centre on 30 Church Street, Masterton.

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