Posted by Gil Elliott
Saturday 6th of October 2018, 10am to 2pm
Gil Elliott - Convenor
The Stroke Foundation blood pressure campaign is held on the first Saturday in October each year. The venues include New World, Pack n Save and Four-square supermarkets.
Several days prior to the event I contacted the Manager of the New World supermarket in Alexandra to allow Rotary and St John to have a suitable area in which to set up. St John staff were also contacted prior to the event.
The placement of table and chairs for the event was inside the building and very close to the main entrance on the side of the building. The supermarket manager/owner Kevin Ryan and his son Shane were able to supply a table and chairs for the day, as they had done in previous years. 
Forms/pads, brochures and a banner arrived at the supermarket a day or so prior to the event. The Stroke Foundation information brochures supplied were handed out to participants. These brochures explained the importance of blood pressure measurement and indicated normal and abnormal results as examples. Participants blood pressures were written on the brochure along with the date for them as a record.
The day was hot and sunny and therefore perfect for the event. St John were very good and there were two to four members present for the whole period working very hard. All blood pressure readings were recorded on sheets supplied, with these returned to the Stroke Foundation. Six members of the public with abnormal BP readings were chosen to fill out a questionnaire. These as well were returned to the Stroke Foundation for them to contact the writer. A courier package was supplied by the Stroke Foundation for this purpose.
Rotary volunteers included Gil Elliott (convenor), Charles French, Nev Grubb, Stu Beattie, Jim Penno, Robyn Bowman, Jillian Jopp, Ken Cook, Judy Clark and Denis Flynn. These volunteers were spread over the 4-hour period, with numbers just right for the event (the convenor and others stayed for the whole 4-hour period writing up results.
The number of participants at 175 was down a little on previous years with no obvious reason.  Those participants with high and low blood pressure readings were referred by St John staff to their GP. The highest reading went to a relatively young Asian lady with a BP of 230/138, which is pretty disquieting when one considers a normal blood pressure is around 120/80 for a person of her age. 
The Stroke Foundation Blood Pressure Program for 2018 appeared to be well received by the public. Thanks go to St John volunteers and also to Shane at the Alexandra New World Supermarket for allowing the BP event to be held at the supermarket and in a place that was entirely suitable for the occasion.