Grieving Hastings woman Margaret Kitt has helped force a change in what she says was an "objectionable" St John plea for a donation in memory of her late husband.
Margaret's husband David Kitt fell ill at their home on July 5. When St John paramedics arrived at the door, he was already dead.
Earlier this week, just three weeks after her husband's death, Margaret received a "slick" letter from St John Ambulance's national office.
On the back page of the letter, on a large typed letterhead, St John asked for a donation "in memory of her husband David Kitt".
"I want to make it clear that I have nothing but praise for St John's Hawke's Bay people who helped us, they are a wonderful operation," Margaret said.
"But I don't allow my husband's name to be used as a money-making trap by St John's Auckland.
"I am at a stage in grieving where I am still waiting for David to come home. I still expect him to walk through the door for tea.
"This [the letter] is a step too far in the search for money.
"I do not allow for David's memory to be tarnished in this way. I do not give permission for David's name being put in rather big letters on a yellow background, to make money.
"I absolutely reject someone in Auckland sending me this. It's a slick marketing campaign. It is objectionable."
The front page of the letter from St John offered its condolences, and said it would waive its normal charges towards an ambulance callout, as is standard when a patient dies.
"Please accept my condolences, and the condolences of all the team at St John on the passing of David Kitt," stated the letter.
It went on to say: "We rely heavily on communities to support our work at St John and to fund our ambulance and medical equipment.
"If you should choose to make a donation on behalf of your loved one please find more information overleaf. Your kindness will help others in need."
St John New Zealand chief financial officer Gary Connolly said St John regretted any upset or distress caused to Margaret.
"This was not our intention.
"St John is always open to feedback and in light of objections to this letter, we have recently reviewed our process and will no longer send a donation form with the letter."