Red Cross volunteers rolled out in large numbers to view the refurbished building on Levin's Queen Street on Saturday.

Achieving an earthquake-safe building has been a major feat for the local team, big enough for Red Cross staff from Palmerston North, Whanganui and Wellington to roll up to commend them and take a sneak peek at the renewed premises.

Antoinette Stratford, the Humanitarian Services Co-ordinator from Palmerston North, was there as was Kandace Humphries, the meals on wheel co-ordinator in Palmerston North, who had Stratford's job before her.

They said the local team does a lot of work throughout the year. "Not only do they run a shop, they take part in meals on wheels, raise funds for the Raise Up Campaign and help with other fundraising campaigns throughout the year."


This coming Friday and Saturday for example they will be fanning out across the district to collect money for the Red Cross Annual Appeal.

The building was built many years ago by local people with donated materials and free local labour.

The Horowhenua branch started in 1942 and, in the 1960s, the team came to the conclusion that a building would be useful. "The community really came together on this and, though there was a small mortgage initially, this was paid off in a few years."

Lindsay Taylor, the Area Chairwoman for Whanganui-Manawatū, was also there and so was the GM Humanitarian Development from Red Cross House (Head office) in Wellington, Shaun Greaves.

Greaves said the local team had been very supportive and held it together through very tough times recently.

"They will be going from strength to strength now that this big project is behind them. It was a big job and not easy, but the local committee refused to give up. They have done extremely well.

"It is great to see so many new faces here already. It is time to build up our base of volunteers again."

Local chairwoman Elaine Graves and Mayor Michael Feyen cut the ribbon that symbolically opened the building for business but long before that moment people were browsing around the shop.


Donelle Cole-Rana provided the musical entertainment for the official reopening.

Anyone interested in volunteering can ring 920 2060 and leave a message with their name and phone number and someone from the local Red Cross committee will get back to you.