Volunteer awarded for 32 years of service

Liz Bell

ST John Ambulance Victoria volunteer Ann Payne has been recognised for her long standing service to the organisation.

The Sale resident was presented an award by Victorian Governor Linda Dessau at Government House recently.

Mrs Payne, who has spent more than 32 years with the service’s Wellington division, was one of 44 Victorian St John Ambulance volunteers awarded for their long-term contribution to strengthening community resilience at the awards ceremony.

She joined St John Ambulance in 1974 as a 12-year-old cadet because she wanted to follow in her aunt’s footsteps as a devoted St John Ambulance volunteer.

“I originally followed my aunt into the service, and then I stayed,” she said.

“I like giving back to the community, and I love the camaraderie of the team.”

St John Ambulance provides first aid services at events across Victoria, thanks to the commitment of more than 2200 volunteers.

The skills volunteers acquire prepare them for events on and off duty, enabling them to make a significant community contribution.

One of the most memorable experiences of Mrs Payne’s St John Ambulance career was in 1977 when she was travelling with other members of the Sale division and came across a two-vehicle collision.

“We were on our way to a St John Ambulance competition, and stopped to provide first aid with the guidance and supervision from our adult members,” she said.

“Thankfully everyone was OK.

“It was a truly empowering experience — a very proud moment.”

She said the experience gave the team the confidence to go on and win the competition they had been on their way to.

The full time nurse and mother of two said she was thankful for the experiences the organisation had provided, and to her volunteer colleagues.

“It’s really special to be a part of an organisation that is so well-respected,” she said.

“The community are always so appreciative to have St John Ambulance at events.”

Mrs Payne said the organisation’s volunteer force was made up of people with varying professional backgrounds, but it was their connection to the cause that united them and enabled the non-profit organisation to provide unwavering premium first aid services to the community.

“The knowledge and skills you learn through volunteering with St John Ambulance are completely transferrable, no matter what your professional background may be,” she said.

“You learn skills in communication, leadership, management and of course first aid.”

St John Ambulance is calling for more volunteers.

To express interest, visit www.stjohnvic.com.au/volunteers, or for the Wellington division, phone Lorraine Glover on 51442481.