St John volunteers gather for reunion

It wasn't only the top brass at Taft who had reason to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Womad Taranaki during the weekend - the onsite paramedic crew were also in festive mode.

St John volunteers who have volunteered at Taranaki Womad since its inception in 2004 travelled from around the world for a reunion at this year's festival.

Womad St John co-ordinator Doug Ashby, who ran the onsite first aid station over the weekend, said he had enjoyed catching up with his friends and former colleagues.

Mr Ashby said some had come from as far away as the UK and Australia for the reunion.

"I'm hoping like hell they don't claim mileage," he said.

Among the 32-strong group were nursing advisor Simon Browes who returned from the UK and first responder Beth Caughley, from Adelaide, and Dr Richard Pon Ton had travelled from Dunedin.

Mr Ashby said the group was on duty over the weekend but had a special night out planned for tomorrow night once they had rested up a bit.

He said this Womad had been more relaxed than some in the past because there had been fewer heat-related issues and fewer intoxicated festival-goers to deal with. There were still, however, plenty of "good time injuries" including people needing Band Aids for grazed feet, perhaps because they were walking around more in the damp weather.

Mr Ashby said they had attended to more than 220 injuries by yesterday morning which in previous years would have been up to 350.

"We've also handed out plenty of Panadol," he added.

Christine Walsh is a Witt journalism student

Taranaki Daily News