Nelson volunteer's royal promotion

Tracy Simonsen with St John Chancellor John Whitehead at this year's St John investiture ceremony in Christchurch. Photo: Supplied.

Erin Bradnock

Tracy Simonsen began volunteering for St John at just eight years old. Now over 40 years later Tracy has been awarded a royal honour for her community work in Nelson.

The investiture ceremony recognising the contribution of St John staff and volunteers was held at the end of May at the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral.

St John is the only organisation in New Zealand outside of Government with its own royal honours system, and Tracy was one of three St John members made a Commander this year for her exceptional work with St John Nelson Area Committee.

Tracey began in the youth programme at just eight years old and has volunteered and worked with the organisation ever since.

“It was very humbling to receive that honour. It’s an amazing ceremony celebrating the history of St John that goes over 900 years. It was a great honour and a great night,” says Tracey.

Nelson’s Area Committee is one of 145 across the country that host community programmes and fundraising events, with funds used for ambulances, stretchers and defibrillators.

Tracey was recognised for her work in youth space, as a youth leader in various roles and her work as a co-ordinator for the National Youth Festival in Nelson in 2018, a four-day event designed to engage St John Cadets and spread awareness of the opportunities proved to young people.

Across Nelson, Motueka and Golden Bay between 80 and 100 cadets fall under the Nelson Area Committee.