Reward for a lifetime with Red Cross

By Anna Ferrick

Penelope Mason, or Penny as she is known to most, didn't think much of an envelope that arrived on her doorstep a month ago from Government House.

As the former Red Cross national president, Mrs Mason was used to receiving letters from important places and thought this one was no different.

In fact, it was advising the Waipukurau mother of four she was to be recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to the Red Cross.

"My husband knew it was in the pipeline. He handed me an envelope and said I think you've got a parking ticket."

Mrs Mason said it was really nice to be acknowledged, not only for her, but for everyone involved with the Red Cross.

"It's an acknowledgement and a reward for all the hard work that goes into an organisation like Red Cross."

Mrs Mason stepped down as national president in November last year but said she was very pleased with the changes she was able to facilitate.

"We're a member organisation, and like any similar organisation members get older and are harder to find. We went for a rejuvenation, making it much easier and more attractive for young people to join."

She also had the opportunity to travel during her time with Red Cross, including to Pakistan in 2007.

"I went over there to see what our aid workers and our money were doing following a huge earthquake. It was slightly scary but I was very pleased to have the experience and to see the people affected."

She first joined Red Cross as a youth coordinator in Central Hawke's Bay in 1978, before overseeing the amalgamation of the Central Hawke's Bay Red Cross branches in 1994. She joined the East West Board of Red Cross in 1996 and was elected national president in 2006.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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