Worth of health volunteers recognised with Health Minister awards – Stuff

Most days, even when Covid-19 was making a comeback, Palmerston North retiree Hugh Fairbarn has been out and about driving cancer patients to their appointments.
He is one of the 30-year-old Cancer Society Central Districts driving team that was the runner-up in the Covid section of the health volunteer awards presented by Health Minister Andrew Little as part of National Volunteer Week.
Fairbairn said he had been driving cancer patients for many years, and continued through Covid-19 restrictions.
Although the society paid its volunteer drivers for petrol expenses, Fairbairn said he did not usually claim them.
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“I don’t worry about that. I drive as a volunteer, it’s not a job.”
Cancer Society Central Districts chief executive Debra Elgar said the volunteer drivers continued to get people to their treatment appointments through the pandemic even when they were given an opportunity to pull back.
She said they were an integral part of the society’s service, and it was a delight to see them acknowledged.
They were not the only Manawatū volunteers recognised at the health awards.
Another win went to the Mash Trust’s Friendship Service, which was runner-up in the community or NGO team award section.
The service was set up after the closure of the Kimberley Centre for people with disabilities in 2006, to link former residents with people in the community.
Mash Trust chief executive Karleen Edwards said the volunteers brought real joy to the people they befriended, enhancing their social life and leisure opportunities and offering practical support.
The group of 21 volunteers had built more than 45 friendships in Manawatū, Horowhenua and Kapitī.
The other success was for St John volunteer Darren Joyce, joint winner of the outstanding achievement for healthcare provider services individual award with St John colleague from Te Awamutu David Jones.
St John national operations manager, emergency ambulance services volunteer James Stewart said the organisation was thrilled by their win.
Joyce is a volunteer team leader, having spent more than three years creating and leading a volunteer support group, which involved training and mentoring others who gave up their time to serve the community.
Stewart said he had made a substantial contribution to St John Manawatū-Horowhenua volunteers.
“St John commends both men for their hard work and commitment, all of which is carried out in addition to their full-time jobs and family commitments.”
© 2022 Stuff Limited


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