The first Byron Bay Charity Walk for Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter on Sunday raised $40,000 towards the ongoing running of the service.
Five hundred and forty walkers completed various legs of the 37km coastal walk to thank the helicopter for 30 years of life saving missions.
Around 300 walkers completed the full 37km, including 20 who ran the distance. A further 250 walked the first leg of 12km to Lennox Head and 50 went to Broken Head, 25km.
Fundraising manager with the helicopter Zeke Huish said the service was very grateful to all those who entered the walk and all those who supported participants in their fundraising efforts.
As participants gathered in the pre-dawn cold at Missingham Park there was a buzz of anticipation and excitement. A big roar went up as the walkers headed off on the challenging route, led by former Olympian and world champion walker Kerry Saxby-Junna.
Heading along the Ballina north wall the helicopter ‘saluted’ the stream of walkers on its way to a water-winch training exercise, with the crew getting a big wave in return.
Event coordinator Krystal Cox said she and the team of volunteers and staff, including members of Far North Coast Surf Life Saving, were blown away by the positive response from walkers on the day, and the numbers who signed up.
‘Everyone was just so happy and in high spirits both before and after the walk,’ Ms Cox said.
‘The weather was superb and the amazing views on the route were an inspiration for the walkers.’