Ultimatum for Runanga St John

By Viv Logie
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An institution that has been part of Runanga for almost 80 years could be lost due to a lack of volunteers.
The Runanga St John ambulance service is down to just three volunteers — in its heyday it had as many as 10.
Team leader Norm Walsh said he did not want to abandon the service, but if they did not get more people on board they would have to shut it down.
“We have only got three people left and that is not enough to keep the service running in Runanga.
“Our seriously depleted volunteer staff are at crisis point where, unless we can recruit new volunteers, the local service will be terminated.”
The service had lost six volunteers in recent years and none had been replaced.
“Three people is not enough to run the station now — we need to work the night shift as well as attend local events.”
Runanga St John covered emergencies as far away as Punakaiki, although the Greymouth St John was currently covering the area, except for Monday nights when “we work the nightshift”.
“It now means people needing an ambulance have a longer wait, which is not ideal,” Mr Walsh said.
A public meeting has been called for Monday night to try to drum up more support and avert closure.