THOUSANDS of kilometres, helping hundreds of people, the Winton St John Healthcare Shuttle service has transported many to various medical and health-related appointments in Invercargill and Southland.
Whether it be to Southland Hospital in South Invercargill, eye appointments, or other medical needs, the community service offered a door-to-door service, Winton St John committee chairman Alastair McLees said.
The service began 12 years ago.
“It was one of the first health shuttles… Russell Hodges from the committee said people needed transport to go to the hospital in Invercargill.”
In the beginning, the healthcare shuttle alternated with Lumsden every second week, until another shuttle was bought through community donations, Mr McLees said.
The Winton shuttle now made on average 10-12 trips a month, with six drivers sharing the roster.
It had since expanded throughout the South Island.
Helping to keep the Winton shuttle on the road, Forklifts NZ Ltd had been its “fuel sponsor”, which Mr McLees said had “amounted to approximately $20,000” since 2008.
In recognition of this support, Forklifts NZ Ltd chief executive Wayne McCulloch was given an Order of St John in New Zealand Priory Vote of Thanks recently.
The Priory was “the highest award of recognition that can be awarded to a company or individual for outstanding support of St John”, Mr McLees said.
It was signed by the Governor General, Patsy Reddy, who was also “the Queen’s representative of St John” and the New Zealand St John Prior, Mr McLees said.
St John normally held an awards ceremony each year to present the special award.
However, due to the Covid-19 situation, it had to be “put off this year” and localised, he said.
After receiving the framed acknowledgement, Mr McCulloch said supporting the Winton Healthcare Shuttle was one way of supporting its community.
“As Craigpine Timber [which was based in Winton] was one of our bigger customers, I thought it was apt to support this cause.”