Saving Lives by Parking Cars
The frustration of finding a car park early on a Saturday morning for kid’s sport is something that most mums and dads have experienced at some point in time.
Through the generosity of The Freemasons of Canterbury and Calder Stewart, a four-storey parking building just metres from the Hagley netball courts was made available to help alleviate some of this craze and panic and for three years now, the Freemasons of Canterbury have volunteered as car park attendants at the overloaded Hagley courts.
Parking is free, with the suggestion of a gold coin donation, which has gone towards various charitable causes. For their gold coin donation, players and supporters have been able to park securely, with easy access, and in close proximity to the netball courts, all without having to battle the traffic and the mad rush around Christchurch Hospital and Moorhouse Avenue.
The Lodges of the Canterbury District volunteered their time, with Brethren, partners and family assisting during the Netball season. “One of the fundamentals of Freemasonry is our charity work. To provide parking close to the netball courts, as well as supporting worthy causes really makes the project a huge win for the community” said Dai Eveleigh, organiser and Charity Officer for District 25, “I really have to thank our volunteers and the support of Calder Stewart in making the car parking available and in turn, allowing The Freemasons to raise funds for charity”.
Over 430 volunteer hours were completed last season, even with the 2020 season being reduced from the standard 15-week season down to 10 weeks due to varying Covid Alert levels and lock-down. The square and compasses boldly on display, as well as signage placed on Moorhouse Avenue – one of the busiest roads in Christchurch – helping to attract attention.
Speak up, Step up, Show Up …. tick, tick and tick!
The District Charity Officers, Dai Eveleigh, Bob Wright and Graeme Wakelin met with District Grand Master, Michael Wooding to discuss a District Charity Project to use the 2020 funds raised from the car parking project. Further discussion with a Brother from Greymouth soon led to a joint District Project and with the collaboration of the Nelson Marlborough Westland District Grand Master, Alan Cameron. It was agreed to approach Air Rescue Canterbury West Coast to see if there was a way in which this organisation could be supported.
A year later, and after several calls, catch-ups, discussions, and of course fundraising, the efforts came to fruition in a donation to Air Rescue Canterbury West Coast. The funds raised through the car parking, a donation from brethren in District 23, along with a Charitable Grant from The Freemasons Charity enabled the purchase of lifesaving equipment exceeding $45,000.
The rescue equipment which included three water rescue life vests, ten Pelvic Stabilisation devices, three water rescue harnesses, multiple water rescue kits, a winch stretcher and open water dry-suits for the crew will be used throughout Canterbury and The West Coast.
Following a presentation at the Air Rescue Hangar at Christchurch Airport, Mrs Rachel McNutt – General Manager Air Rescue Canterbury West Coast – explained to a group of over 65 brethren, family and friends about their organisation, what they do, and how the funds raised will be used to help the people of Canterbury.
The Canterbury West Coast Rescue Helicopter covers rescues all the way south to Timaru, north to Kaikoura, along the West Coast, and covering the Alps and all of Canterbury in between. The Canterbury and West Coast rescue crews responded to 869 missions during 2020, an increase of 8% in mission numbers compared to 2019. Call outs included, mountaineering accidents, skiing related injuries, isolated motor vehicle accidents and medical emergencies.
“The support of the Freemasons has been amazing, to provide essential equipment really helps our crew and saves lives” said Mrs McNutt at the presentation. The square and compasses are proudly displayed on the pilot door of Airbus H145 Helicopter.
The 2021 netball season has started and once again the Freemasons of Canterbury can be seen every Saturday proudly supporting its community, helping save lives by parking cars.
It should be noted that the Freemasons of the Midland District has also supported this cause to the tune of $55,000 so that all up total is $100,000.