St John top gong


It started out as a couple of hours a month, but a decade and several board appointments on, Joanne Conroy’s dedication to St John’s been recognised.

The Queenstowner’s recently been awarded one of St John’s highest honours, the rank of Commander.

Conroy calls the nod “lovely”.

“I spend an awful lot of time volunteering,” she says.

“It’s quite humbling to be in the company of these people who have dedicated their whole lives to St John.”

St John has its own royal honours system, with ranks ranging from Member to Knight or Dame.

Commander is the second highest honour available.

Conroy started out as a volunteer on the local area committee in 2007.

Since then she’s been appointed chair of the South Island regional trust board and is a member of both the St John Priory Trust board and the national property committee.

“I’m happy to give back, I’m a strong community person.

“It’s about seeing a need and being in a position to help.”

The long-time local is also keen for new volunteers to get in touch if they’d like to get involved.

“Volunteering’s about giving your time, but you also get some incredible things back.”