Serenaded by a single saxophonist, guests were reminded of how the service began on a cold day in 1927, when Mayor Sir Charles Norwood came across a man injured in central Lambton Quay. 90 years on, Wellington Free Ambulance remains the only free ambulance service in New Zealand.
The evening involved breath taking performances from Colossal aerialists, the Beat Girls, and local band The Noodles rounded the night off nicely with a packed dance floor. Hosted by local celebrity Ginette McDonald, there was a laugh a minute, and something for everyone.
As well as a mighty celebration to mark the service’s 90th birthday, the mission of the One-of-a-Kindness Gala was to buy a People’s Ambulance – an ambulance fundraised by the people, for the people.
Thanks to the generosity of all who were in the room more than $185,000 was raised on the night. This combined with other fundraisers including the Old Skool Ball in Wairarapa in August, the job is now done! The people of Greater Wellington and Wairarapa have raised $200,000, and Wellington Free Ambulance has put an order in for the People’s Ambulance.
Head of fundraising and communications Diane Livingston says she has never seen such a show of generosity.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support of our community. How kind, how generous are the people of our region?”
Diane Livingston says it will be next year before the People’s Ambulance is ready to hit the streets of our neighbourhoods.
“It needs to be brought in from overseas, kitted out, and have its own special branding treatment so that everyone can spot it easily as it whizzes around their community.
“Once we have got it here and ready to go, we will organise an event where everyone who has helped pay for it can help us launch it. What a pleasure that will be,” Diane Livingston says.