St John frontline volunteer ‘proud’

A privilege to serve ... St John Dunedin area committee member and frontline volunteer Annette Tiffen has volunteered for the emergency ambulance service for nearly a decade. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Dunedin volunteer Annette Tiffen wears her St John uniform with pride.

“I am proud to wear the green.”

Mrs Tiffen, of Halfway Bush, said her association with St John began when she was working for ASB sponsor of the ambulance service.

She volunteered to be a St John Dunedin area committee member about nine years ago and became its chairwoman three years ago.

Nearly five years ago – as she was set to call time on her nearly 40-year banking career – she decided to train as a St John frontline volunteer to be able to work “ambulance shifts”.

Entering the homes of people “at their most vulnerable” to help them was a privilege, she said.

She also volunteered for St John at events such as concerts at Forsyth Barr Stadium and the Hyde St party.

“I like the party – I think the students are fun.”

As a frontline volunteer, she was required to work at least twice a month on average, and had no plans to retire from her voluntary role.

St John operations director Dan Ohs said volunteers were vital in responding to medical emergencies in rural and remote areas.

“Out frontline volunteers make it possible to get help quickly to those who need it most.”

St John volunteers also reduced feelings of isolation with the Caring Caller programme, supported people in hospitals and care homes, co-ordinated pet therapy, fundraised for ambulances, managed St John stores and trained young leaders.

Community programmes director Sarah Manley said National Volunteer Week, which ends on Saturday, was a chance to “thank the volunteers .. who give their time to support New Zealand with their selfless work”.

St John received more than 500,000 111 emergency calls in the year up to the end of June 2019.