A $1.5 million state-of-the-art new ambulance station and St John centre in Stratford is almost finished, and thanks to a generous donation from four local Lions groups, everything inside is brand new and fit for purpose.
Peter McDonald, the former chair of Stratford St John who has been involved in the fundraising for the new station since the idea was first floated, says he was delighted to meet with members of the Eltham, Kaponga, Stratford and Toko Lions last week to receive a $47,000 donation from the four clubs. Peter accepted the cheque on behalf of Jon (Jono) Burrows, the current Stratford and Inglewood area St John Committee chairperson who was unable to attend, but passed on his gratitude to the Lions members.
Peter says the donation will cover the total cost of fitting out the inside of the building.
"It is covering everything, from the linen on the beds in the rest areas, the appliances in the kitchen, the furniture. It has meant everything can be purchased brand new so the new station and St John centre will look as good inside as it does outside."
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President of the Toko Lions, Jo Corlett, says $15,000 of the amount donated came from the Lloyd Morgan Lions Charitable Trust, a national trust established in 1979-1980 in honour of Lloyd Morgan, the only New Zealander to have been president of the International Association of Lions Clubs. Since it started, the trust has made numerous grants and loans to support all manner of Lions humanitarian projects across New Zealand.
Jo says she thinks trustees looked favourably on the application to support the Stratford St John ambulance station and centre because it was made by more than one club.
"I think the fact the application was put in by all four clubs really helped."
The remaining $32,000 donated by the four clubs came from their various fundraising efforts, which have involved a wide range of activities and many hundreds of volunteer hours.
Fundraising efforts by the Eltham Lions was mainly through their annual kite day, which took place last month. The Kaponga Lions held plenty of barbecues as well as selling firewood, while the Toko Lions sold wood to grow rather than burn. Thanks to a donation of 2000 trees from the Lees family, they were able to sell them to the community as a fundraiser, says Jo, who adds the Toko Lions regular stint helping with parking at Stratford Speedway meetings was another fundraiser they accessed for this donation. Stratford Lions president Jean Taylor says they also held a range of fundraising activities over the year, with the majority of their donation coming from sales of their Christmas raffle tickets.
"So everyone who brought a ticket for the Christmas Stocking raffle contributed to this centre which will benefit everyone in the community."