Red Cross honorary life members, Mary Keddie and Pat Borlase, were two of the 23 volunteers recognised for their contributions to the New Zealand Red Cross organisation. Photo: Jessie Johnston.

Red Cross volunteers recognised

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Compassion and dedication have never been absent from New Zealand Red Cross volunteers Mary Keddie and Pat Borlase.

The ladies were amongst several that received awards for their services to the Red Cross organisation at their annual gathering, last Thursday. Branches from across Nelson and Tasman region came together to celebrate the end of the year and recognise the contributions made by volunteers, ranging from five years of service all the way up to 70 years. “Nobody expects the recognition, but from the Red Cross’s perspective, it’s nice for them to be recognised, they don’t do it for that reason, they do it because they enjoy doing it and because they care,” says Red Cross’s service centre coordinator, Jackie Tye.

While 23 volunteers received long service awards, Mary Keddie and Pat Borlase were also acknowledged with Honorary Life Membership Awards, given to those who have played a particular role in the Red Cross over an extended period of time and made a valuable contribution to the organisation.

Pat became part of Red Cross officially in 1989. Back in the sixties, she had been involved with sewing for Red Cross through the Women’s Division of Federated Farmers, and after her move to Richmond it seemed natural to join them. She began as a relief driver for Meals on Wheels and two months later found herself on the committee. Her dedication to making sure none of the recipients missed their meals when drivers were low has even led to her roping in her whole family to get the job done.

Mary is also primarily involved with Meals on Wheels, and has been since 1960. As well as gaining honorary life membership to Red Cross, she was also the recipient of 2014’s Outstanding Community Services Award. Over her 70 years with Red Cross she has greatly enjoyed meeting a lot of “lovely people” and encourages more young people to come into the organisation.

Red Cross will also be celebrating its centenary year in 2015, with activities planned both locally and nationwide.