Mayor Honours Safety Heroes

23 September 2009

Mayor Kerry Prendergast will today honour people who have done their bit for safety in Wellington, from a crewman who jumped into the harbour to stop a man being crushed against a wharf by his vessel to health workers on the front line in the fight against swine flu.

The fifth annual Safety in the City awards will see 18 certificates presented to individuals or organisations to honour their extraordinary efforts over the past year.

Mayor Prendergast says: "As always, these awards have thrown up a huge variety of stories. There are people who have stepped in bravely to help in an emergency, but also individuals and groups whose work has helped make Wellington a safer place.

"They don't always have a happy ending, but I defy anyone to not be moved and inspired by what some of these ordinary Wellingtonians have done to help others."

Award winners include Ron Martin, a crewman on the harbour vessel MV Wellesley, who jumped into the water to save an elderly man who was in danger of being crushed against the Taranaki Street Wharf.

Others include Cameron Turchie, a 12-year-old who saved a younger boy in heavy surf during a Surf Lifesaving meeting; Stacey Stevens, a young mum who foiled an attempted abduction; and four surfers who battled waves and tide for 20 minutes in a vain attempt to save the life of an injured friend at Lyall Bay.

Also honoured will be two men who stepped in to stop a man smashing shop windows in Manners Mall; a Walkwise officer who battled to save a collapsed pedestrian; and a long-serving Volunteer Coastguard.

Two Police officers are honoured - Damian Rapira-Davies, for his work as Newtown Community Constable, and Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Borrell, who turned his experience of the dangers of alcohol abuse into a tireless safety campaign.

Wellington Regional Public Health and four Capital and Coast DHB departments are cited for the heroics of their staff. Mayor Prendergast says: "At one point Wellington was Ground Zero for swine flu. Staff across the health service worked furiously, often until they dropped and became patients themselves, to protect this region.

"This is a great opportunity to share these stories and congratulate and thank these people for the remarkable things they have done for others."

The awards ceremony starts at 5.30pm at the Council Chamber, Wellington Town Hall.