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Honoured . . . Waikaia's Louise Ferguson has been made a member of the Order of St John after serving the organisation for about 14 years in Lumsden as a first responder.PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

A desire to help people in their time of need has led to Waikaia woman Louise Ferguson being made a member of the Order of St John.

A ceremony recognising the contribution of St John staff and volunteers was held at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland last week with Governor-General Patsy Reddy officiating.

St John is the only organisation in the country other than the government with its own royal honours system.

Admission to the order and promotion are based solely on exceptional service, not age or length of service.

Mrs Ferguson said she was overwhelmed to receive the membership.

“It is an honour. An absolute honour,” Mrs Ferguson said.

She had served for about 14 years as a first responder and ambulance officer based in Lumsden.

“I don’t do it for recognition.

“I do it to help people.

“I love doing the job.”

Earlier on in her life she had wanted to be a nurse, but married husband Ray and had lived in the area for 37 years.

Once her children became older she decided to join St John.

“I just wanted to train and do more – just do something for the community.”

For about 25 years she had also been part of a team based in Waikaia which could be called to support people after they rang for an ambulance.

“Waikaia is such a rural area and sometimes it takes quite a while for an ambulance to get here, so it’s nice to have somebody there for reassurance.”