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New ambo for the St John fleet

A new, fully-equipped St John ambulance will be out and about from now on and one of its donors has strong links to the region.

The $240,000 vehicle was officially handed over and dedicated in a ceremony at the St John base in Bright Street yesterday morning.

The ambulance has been jointly gifted to St John by the Waikato-based Greenlea company and Grassroots Trust Central.

Beef processors Greenlea's beginnings were in Gisborne when Jim Egan and son Peter operated Economic Butchery and the Pacific meat plant on the city foreshore by Pacific Street.

The company relocated to the Waikato 29 years ago.

“It's important to us to give back to the communities that support us,” Greenlea managing director Tony Egan (Peter's nephew) said at yesterday's dedication ceremony.

“It was also important for us to give back to Gisborne, a place that gave our company a start in life.

“We have not forgotten our roots in Gisborne.

“We have made donations like this in the Waikato and thought it would be lovely to do something in Gisborne.”

Grassroots Trust chairman Sean Hannan said his organisation — which operates gaming machine venues in several regions — supported the work of St John.

“One of the key things for us is to give back to the communities where we operate.

“Every dollar of ours involved in the purchase of this ambulance has come from the people of Gisborne,” Mr Hannan said.

Order of St John member Hughie Hughes led the dedication service.

“St John is an organisation that looks to give life and today's official handover of this new ambulance is part of that.

“This gift by Greenlea and the Grassroots Trust is a wonderful thing,” Mr Hughes said.

St John area Chaplain Chris Douglas blessed the vehicle.

“Watch over all who travel in it — the sick, the injured and those who minister to them,” he said.

“We especially pray for the ambulance officers of the Gisborne area and all those who support them in their ministry of care and healing for their community.”

St John territory manager Shane Clapperton thanked the organisation's fundraising team for their work.

“Thanks also of course to the people who have donated it,” he said.

“It's a real bonus for us because it means we can update the Ruatoria ambulance with one of the current Gisborne vehicles that comes with the new automated stretcher loading facility.

“This gift is not just helping Gisborne people — it's also going to help our whole patch.”

GIFT FOR THE DISTRICT: A brand new $240,000 ambulance joined Gisborne St John Ambulance yesterday. It was gifted to Gisborne by Greenlea beef processors and Grassroots Trust Central, both from the Waikato. (From left) Deputy Mayor Josh Wharehinga, Hughie Hughes from the Order of St John, Tony Egan from Greenlea, Sean Hannan from Grassroots Trust, Bruce Mudgeway from Greenlea and St John Territory Manager Shane Clapperton were pictured with the new emergency vehicle. Picture by Paul Rickard