Date: 6 December 2009 EMBARGOED until 8am 7 December 2009
Subject: Lottery Winners present Wairarapa DHB with new ambulance
It was a “Big Monday’ for the Wairarapa Ambulance Service, as ‘Big Wednesday’ winners from the Irish Luck syndicate were on hand for blessing and commissioning of the brand new ambulance they have donated to Wairarapa DHB.
From the 6.45am pick-up in the about-to-be-replaced ambulance, through the guard of honour formed by the ambulance staff, the photos, ribbon cutting and blessings, Margaret Heaney and Fiona Wilton were centre stage – not a position either seek or relish.
Wairarapa DHB Chair, Bob Francis, acknowledged their preference for a low profile as he thanked the Wilton and Heaney family for their generosity. “I’m speaking for the whole Wairarapa when I congratulate the Irish Luck syndicate on their win, and even more so for the manner in which they have conducted themselves since then, in sharing the joy of their good fortune, and still remaining the same people they were before their big win.”
“There are times in our lives when we all want to quietly and sincerely thank someone for a kindness, a thoughtfulness, a helping hand,” he said. “ Margaret and Fiona decided to make a very concrete vote of their thanks, in the form of the brand new purpose built ambulance. In making this gift, they have thanked not only the Wairarapa Ambulance Service for the tireless work they do attending more than 4,500 callouts a year, but they have also thanked the whole Wairarapa community,” said Mr Francis.
Along with the fully equipped ambulance, Margaret and Fiona have also funded provision a complete set of new uniforms for all the ambulance staff, specifically designed to protect them in the often difficult circumstances in which they perform their duties. Their gift has also enabled purchase of state of the art Stryker stretchers, extrication gear and other much needed equipment.
NZ Lotteries’ Chief Executive Todd McLeay says these winners are quite remarkable for what they’ve given back to the community.
“From the moment they came in to the Wellington NZ Lotteries office in June to collect their $36 million Big Wednesday prize , they have talked about how they were going to donate money to areas they felt strongly about – and they have really come through on their word.
“This family is quite special, and what makes them stand out even more is that their generosity comes so naturally to them – and they want nothing in return. We’re thrilled the whole of the Wairarapa will benefit from this incredibly generous donation from Fiona and her family, and believe this will be the best equipped ambulance in the country – which will no doubt be the envy of everyone!”
After breakfasting with the crew, Mrs Heaney was taken home by ambulance officers, who vied for the task, in the brand new ambulance, which has already been dubbed ‘The Shamrock’ and sports two four-leaf clovers on the back doors as a permanent reminder of the shared good luck from a very big Wednesday for the Wairarapa.