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March 20, 2023

Rescue chopper service to hold open day on Saturday

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The rescue helicopter is a common sight in the skies over Lismore, either off on a rescue mission, or training. (Darren Coyne)
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Volunteers have been out and about today, raising funds for the Northern Region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service ,which will be hosting an open day at the Lismore base on Saturday.

Peter Bullock of Goonellabah and Barry Simpson of Leycester were manning the donation desk in Woodlark Street, and said people were being very generous.

They told the Echonetdaily that the mini plastic helicopters, which cost $10, were the most popular item they were selling.

They had run out by 2pm, but not before young Lincoln Paine got his.

His mother Alison said she had good reason to make a donation.

‘The helicopter took me to Brisbane when I was 26 weeks pregnant with my eldest child,’ she said.

Her husband Cameron, a local police officer, said police often worked alongside the service and held it in high regard.

Mr Bullock, who has been a fundraising volunteer for 10 years, said the service had saved more than 3000 lives since it started in 1982.

He said in one memorable case about 26 years ago a baby was born on the way to Brisbane,’ he said.

‘When they got to Brisbane they had to bring the mother back to life.’

His fundraising friend, Barry Simpson, who is a quad bike enthusiast, was also happy to spend his afternoon raising funds for the service.

‘I’ve always been involved with motorcycles and lost my arm in an accident but it was a year before the helicopter service was launched,’ he said.

‘I had a long ride to Brisbane in a road ambulance back then. These days the trip would be a lot quicker in the helicopter.’

‘I’ve had friends use the service and I reckon it’s something worth supporting. The government should be throwing money into a service like this instead of relying solely on volunteers.’

Both volunteers urged people to take advantage of the open day on Saturday by visiting the chopper base at the entrance to Lismore on the road to Bangalow.

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