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Byron Shire
October 24, 2021

Annual fundraiser for life saving chopper service

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The crew of a NSW Westpac Helicopter.

The annual Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service fundraising appeal usually sees people from across the area out in droves collecting for this essential lifesaving service.

With all face to face fundraising and major event activity on hold as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has launched its annual appeal with a goal to raise over $300,000. The financial appeal will directly assist the helicopter service to save local lives across Northern NSW.

CEO Richard Jones OAM says annually the people of Northern NSW are very generous in supporting this appeal. ‘Year in year out we see that a little from many goes a long way and we are ever grateful for that.

We know that this year is different and donation support may be difficult for many in our community at this time

‘We know that this year is different and donation support may be difficult for many in our community at this time. We are all in this together and we hope our appeal reaches out to everyone with those who are able taking the steps to make their support count at this crucial time.’

Mr Jones says that through the current Coronavirus health crisis, the service’s pilots, aircrew and engineers along with the NSW Health doctors and NSW Ambulance critical care paramedics who fly with us, are working hard to deliver medical care for those in need across Northern NSW.

‘Every year on average we fly over 1500 missions, including responding to emergency Triple 0 calls, inter-hospital transfers and search and rescue. We have also seen a milestone achieved by our Lismore base who performed its 10,000th mission since operations started in that area in 1982.’

The Appeal comes as the community service also recognises 45 years of operation in Newcastle and 20 years of operation in Tamworth.

With the onset of the Coronavirus, we have taken additional steps, over and above our existing protection, to address the challenges associated with the virus

‘With the onset of the Coronavirus, we have taken additional steps, over and above our existing protection, to address the challenges associated with the virus. This has been achieved through an increase in levels of personal protective equipment and modifying procedures to ensure the safety of patients and crew,’ said Mr Jones.

‘This invitation, however, is made mindful that many communities are yet to recover from the bushfire crisis and are now faced with these further challenges. We are very conscious, that not everyone in our community is in a position to donate but we will be very grateful to those that are able.

‘This truly is a community-run service. In the end, we are one community and as our thoughts are with those who are suffering in these trying times, our focus remains on the provision of the best aeromedical support for those in need 24-7.’

The community can make donations to the Service’s Appeal at www.rescuehelicopter.com.au/Appeal or by freecall on 1800 155 155.

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