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Joan Gives Wellington Free Ambulance The Ultimate Gift

Joan Gives Wellington Free Ambulance The Ultimate Gift

Joan Gives Wellington Free Ambulance The Ultimate Gift

Lifelong Upper Hutt resident Joan Hodgins (nee Alexander) was born the year after Sir Charles Norwood founded Wellington Free Ambulance in 1927. 95 years later her friends, family and community of BUPA Fergusson Retirement Village gathered to launch the ambulance, Riverside, that Joan has generously donated to Wellington Free Ambulance.

Joan Hodgins and the team from Wellington Free Ambulance

‘Riverside’ honours the Upper Hutt farm that was in the family for more than seven generations, a place and name dear to Joan and her family.  

Joan is known for her generosity and kindness towards others.  For her 90th birthday several years ago she treated a group of school children living with disabilities to a “treat day out” where they experienced a flight over Kapiti Island, a trip to the Zoo and a party lunch. 

When launching ‘Riverside’ Joan reflected “Every one of us has an ambulance experience and it’s most important for us to donate, every $5 makes a difference especially after the COVID shutdowns.”

Board Chair of Wellington Free Ambulance, Dame Kerry Prendergast reiterated the importance of the gift Joan has made to the service.  “Your gift will impact on the lives of many for years to come.”

“Joan has given not just Wellington Free Ambulance the ultimate gift – but every single person in our community can feel reassured knowing this state-of-the-art ambulance will be there for them if they need it.”

Chief Executive of Wellington Free, Dave Robinson, commented on the impact not only for the community but also for the emergency ambulance crews.

‘Riverside’ will attend around 1000-1200 callouts per week.  Each of these callouts is to a person who has a family and a name, people who need our help.  The ambulance is also the paramedic crew’s office, their workplace, the key piece of equipment they have to get them to where they need to be to save lives.”

When asked why she decided to donate the ambulance, Joan’s answer was simple “Because I can and because you need it.”   A perfect example of the selfless reason behind Joan’s support.

As Joan’s fellow residents of the Village congratulated and thanked her for the amazing gift, she told them “I hope I have to wait a long time to use it, but I’m pleased to see it done.” 

Joan also expressed to Wellington Free paramedic, Benjamin, that she can’t take things with her and would like to see some positive things come from her time on this earth and would hope her generosity inspires others to also give.  

Each of the emergency ambulances in the Wellington Free fleet travel around 350,000kms during their lifetime of service on the road, taking front-line staff to where they are needed the most.  After that, our ambulances are retired from front line emergency road and are put to use in other areas, including our important patient transfer service and at major events that we attend at venues such as Sky Stadium. A fully equipped emergency ambulance costs approx. $300,000 and Wellington Free Ambulance requires around 8 new ambulances each year to ensure there is capability to respond when needed.

If you are interested in finding out more about donating an ambulance or donating in any way to keep Wellington Free Ambulance free of charge, please contact Claire Carruthers at [email protected]


Joan cuts the ribbon to launch new ambulance




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