“It’s been a busy few decades,” Vivienne Gillespie reminisces. 

Vivienne Gillespie is a long-serving member of New Zealand Red Cross and was President of Lower Hutt Branch from 1988 to 1997. She heads down memory lane to acknowledge the bittersweet closure of the Lower Hutt Group and recalls why she got involved with Red Cross in the first place. 

With a long history spanning over multiple decades, the Lower Hutt Branch, which later became a Red Cross Group, has been a special part of its community. For Vivienne, the closure sparks a time to remember and retell the awesome work done in the Lower Hutt community.  

“The group at the time was a very committed group of ladies in charge of Red Cross [Branch] in Lower Hutt. These ladies were my mother’s friends and she became involved with Red Cross also,” says Vivienne.  

“We came back to Wellington from overseas in 1980 and I got involved through my mother and joined Red Cross. I ended up becoming the president in 1988 until 1997.” 

Vivienne Gillespie, Lower Hutt Branch President, 1988-1997

Active in the community

The Lower Hutt Group had a very active presence in their community during Vivienne’s time as Branch President. It held several annual fundraisers including a tennis tournament, fashion parade and an annual luncheon. 

“We did lots of community things. And we also had the annual fundraiser luncheon. That was a great success, and everyone looked forward to it.”  

“One of the members had a dress shop in Eastbourne and ran a fashion parade fundraiser in the 80s. We used to have it at a bowling club in Lower Hutt,” Vivienne recalls. 

She and the Branch were also involved in annual Street Appeals and often set up special appeals for disaster relief efforts in the Pacific.

New Zealand Red Cross’ Lower Hutt Branch Golf Tournament, 1983.

Carrying on the Red Cross spirit

The spirit of the Lower Hutt Group continues today despite its closure.

Vivienne and the ladies she has volunteered alongside over the years have maintained a strong presence in the community and, to this day, still represent Red Cross.  

“Judy, a Group member, works at the Red Cross Shop in Petone and carried on her connections with Red Cross. The other three members of the Group have been part of Red Cross for years,” says Vivienne. 

For Vivienne, being involved with Red Cross has positively impacted her. From the very start, being a member was an enjoyable and pleasurable aspect of her life.  

“I enjoyed doing it and it filled in my time and that’s the way I got my enjoyment in life, by helping others. I met some really nice people who have added to my life in various ways.” 


Join a branch!

Red Cross Branches do good in our communities across Aotearoa every day. Each Branch consists of dedicated members who fundraise, educate and engage with their local community. 

As part of a Red Cross Branch. you will connect with your community and neighbours, learn new skills and meet some great people. Start doing good and sign up today.