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Amazing benefactor: June Hendry with the ambulance she's donated to St John Wakatipu

By PHILIP CHANDLER

In an incredible gesture that’ll save lives, a Queenstown retiree’s donated an ambulance to St John.

June Hendry, 75, was moved to splash out $250,000 on a fully-kitted-out ambulance after  a St John representative spoke at her Queenstown Country Club retirement village about the service.

Hendry, who’s called on the service herself after a fall, says what swayed her was concern her three grandkids, who go mountain biking and the like when they holiday here, might have an accident and there’d not be an ambulance available.

‘‘The thought of having teenage grandchildren of my own who indulge in these sports, we really do need more ambulances.’’

Hailing from Britain where the health service funds ambulances, she was also shocked to hear St John relies on community funding.

Hendry says she was in a position to help thanks to her savings and a legacy from her mum who died 18 months ago, aged almost 95.

‘‘And I don’t need any more shoes or handbags.’’

Using her funding, St John’s bought a new-model Generation 4 ambulance that’s the first
here to be airconditioned and have a Covid screen separating paramedics from patients.

It also comes with a $50,000 Powerload Stryker stretcher that’s automated to help reduce injuries for St John ambulance officers.

Hendry had 20 of her friends and family attend a ceremony at which the ambulance was dedicated.

St John’s regional community engagement manager Craig Stockdale says St John’s extremely grateful for an incredible donation.

‘‘Through this service, this ambulance will help us save lives.

‘‘As a charity, we rely on donations and fundraising to help us purchase new ambulances,
lifesaving equipment and to build and maintain ambulance stations.

‘‘Support from people like June and donations from the wider public of New Zealand help keep our ambulances on the road and our services operating.’’

Hendry hopes her gesture will encourage others: ‘‘It doesn’t have to be another ambulance, but it could be just enough to get them another stretcher or help out in any way.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz