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Warm-hearted Bridie’s cool gift

Lisa Croucher (left), Bridie Croucher and Tess Geard (charge nurse manager) with the paediatric ward’s new fridge, made possible by Bridie’s fundraising efforts. PHOTO/ERIN KAVANAGH-HALL

A generous Wairarapa community has, once again, rallied around the region’s hospital staff: this time, inspired by a big-hearted college pupil.

Bridie Croucher, Year 7 at Chanel College, lead a fundraising project to purchase a new fridge for Wairarapa Hospital’s paediatric ward, which in the space of two weeks raised over $1000.

Supported by whanau, Bridie organised a raffle, made up of prizes donated by various Wairarapa businesses, and sold tickets through Facebook.

Thanks to her efforts, and a discount from Noel Leeming Masterton, the ward was able to purchase a new, 346 litre refrigerator and freezer, with ample space for staff and families to use.

Mum Lisa Croucher, a healthcare assistant at the paediatric ward, said staff had been using a fridge that was half the size, and the lack of storage had been an added stressor for her team.

She said the ward staff were thrilled with the new addition and blown away by the public’s support, particularly by Bridie’s care and compassion for her community.

“Our family tossed around a few ideas about how we could fundraise for a new fridge. And Bridie said, ‘it’s okay mum, I’ll do all the fundraising!’” Lisa said

Bridie with the prizes donated by businesses. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

“She completely took it on herself, it was amazing.

“It’s inspirational to see a young person show concern for others and focus on what she can do for the community and not on what she can get for herself.”

For Bridie, who has had “lots of friends” stay at the ward, the project was a no-brainer.

“I know how special the staff are at the hospital and how much they need our support,” she said.

While orgainising the raffle, Bridie reached out to businesses using social media, with Countdown Masterton, Trust House, The Sanctuary, firewood supplier Stewart Watt and artist Katie Gracie all contributing prizes.

Bridie also added a set of coasters she’d bought with her own pocket money.

She set up a Facebook page to sell tickets and received “so many encouraging comments” from customers, many of whom had children who’d been cared for at the ward.

“We’re a small community, so we all have a connection to the hospital in some way,” Lisa said.

“People were lovely it was really touching to see.”

An interview with Brent Gare on MoreFM Wairarapa helped draw more attention to the fundraiser and, within a fortnight, Bridie had sold 863 raffle tickets.

Combined with donations from extended whanau, she raised $1073.

“It was awesome,” the youngster beamed.

“I felt really proud and shocked. I didn’t expect we’d sell that many tickets.

“It shows that we have a lot of kind people in Wairarapa.”

The winning tickets were drawn at the hospital at the end of June, and the new fridge was delivered to the ward [free of charge] this month.

As well as significantly more space, the fridge also has an ice making function, which staff expect to make frequent use of.

“If the patients wanted a drink with ice, we’d have to go to another ward to get it,” Lisa said.

“This will be a huge help.”

Charge nurse manager Tess Geard said she was “so grateful” to Bridie and Lisa for giving their time, resources and energy to support the staff and patients.

“And it’s encouraging and comforting to know our community cares for our health workers and acknowledges the work we do.

“We’re lucky to have Bridie, she’s a little superstar.”

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

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