Original Friends of the Emergency Department volunteers, from left, Colleen Jamieson, Karyn Batt, Faith Fawcett, and Margaret Watson at the group's tenth birthday. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Original St John ‘friend’ retires on ten year anniversary


February 26 marked both the 10th anniversary of Nelson’s St John Friends of the Emergency Department (FED), and the final day for original volunteer Colleen Jamieson.

The St John FED service first began on February 26, 2007, with local Colleen at the helm.

As team leader for exactly 10 years, Colleen has been recruiting and training volunteers, creating rosters and spending hours in the Emergency Department supporting staff, patients and their families or friends.

“There have been quite a few memories made over the years, I’ve had a lot of good ones and a few sad ones, but I’ve kept every roster since day one and could put a face to just about all of the 116 volunteer names that we’ve had.”

Among the highlights was receiving the Order of St John from the Governor General three years ago, an award that must be approved by the Queen.

“That was just awesome, absolutely awesome, I wasn’t expecting it and to this day I don’t know who nominated me.”

Colleen says her send -off during the voluntary service’s 10th anniversary celebrations at Melrose House on Sunday was wonderful.

“It was a lovely send-off, a complete surprise, I knew we were celebrating the FED’s 10th birthday but they managed to keep the cat in the bag with me.”

Colleen says the people will be what she misses most about the role.

However, Colleen won’t be far away, helping with fundraising and appeals for St John.

Sarah McCabe says Sunday’s event was the perfect way to celebrate the milestone and those who have made it happen.

“As well as acknowledging the ten years, it was a really nice opportunity to thank the volunteers who give a lot of time to the service, and a really nice time to acknowledge Colleen, our retiring team leader.”

Colleen will be replaced by Jeanette Douglas, who has been alongside Colleen, training for the role, for the past 12 months.

The group are looking for more volunteers. Anyone interested in this role is invited to attend an information evening on Tuesday, March 14, at 5pm at the Stoke Baptist Church.

To register your interest or for further information please contact Sarah McCabe, St John Nelson. Phone 548 8157 or [email protected].