Two extraordinary local women are firing up their latest fundraising cause – raising $150,000 for Mangawhai Volunteer Fire Brigade’s (MVFB) brand new station.
Experienced fundraisers, Annie Kitchener and Carol Parkes, have been plotting events and ideas well into 2018, even though their fundraising group ‘Friends of the Brigade’ has only been operating for seven days.
“It’s been an action packed week,” Annie Kitchener says. “Since we’ve got going, our feet haven’t touched the ground.”
Kitchener and Parkes saw the need for a new station as the firefighter’s current building is partially condemned, leaving the team to operate out of a portacom situated at the back of the facility for over two years. More space is also needed to house the volunteers as numbers have steadily increased over the last year with MVFB currently retaining a crew of 20.
“These guys train every Monday night in all weathers as well as going to call-outs of all hours including medical calls, tsunamis and even emu rescues!” Parkes says. “They give enough of their time without having to try and find time to fundraise as well.”
The proposal is for the new premises to be located next to St John Ambulance Station on Molesworth Drive, allowing firefighters easier access to respond to emergencies in Mangawhai and surrounding areas.
Fundraising events range from sausage sizzles to the intriguing ‘Murder Mystery Weekend’ on Labour Weekend and ‘Fire Up Mangawhai’, a festival with live music, wine, food and an art and sculpture auction, to be held at Millers Vineyard on Anniversary Weekend, 2018.
New Officer-in-charge at Mangawhai station, Robert Leslie, transferred from his post as deputy chief of Kaiwaka brigade a year ago and has been a volunteer firefighter for 29 years. He is well aware of the time pressures that volunteers face and welcomes the help of the new fundraising group.
“As volunteers we don’t really have the time to fundraise due to call-outs and working ourselves,” he says. “It’s great to have the community support.”
Leslie’s plans under his leadership include keeping the team working well together and for everyone’s skill level to be trained to the national service standard.
“We’re always trying our best,” he says. “We want to work well for the community.”
n If you would like to be involved, have any ideas or offers of support, please email email@example.com
SIZZLING: Station officer Andy Mace and Julie Paget, volunteers for 17 and five years respectively, fire up the BBQ while Carol Parkes and Annie Kitchener attend to long-time ‘local’ holidaymaker Liz RobbMarkham, at the first Friends of the Brigade fundraiser.