The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter has kicked of its biggest annual fundraising campaign with the launch of Helicopter Awareness Week.

Helicopter Awareness Week officially kicks off this weekend, with a public open day today.

In other activities planned throughout the flight area during Awareness Week:

  • Over 500 primary school students will visit the Lismore helibase, where they will get to meet the pilots and crew and learn more about the vital lifesaving service
  • Over 5000 students across the region will participate in Red & Yellow Fundraising activities at their schools in aid of the service
  • Shopping centre promotions will take place in Lismore, Grafton, Ballina and Coffs Harbour
  • The week will culminate in the rescue helicopter service’s annual doorknock appeal on August 30-31 (sponsored by Bourke Love McCartney Young) where a record 2000 volunteer collectors will hit the streets in over 50 towns throughout the northern region, with an overall fundraising target of $150,000.

The rescue helicopter service’s General Manager Kris Beavis thanked the northern region community for its support over the past 26 years, and invited residents and businesses to lend their support to the service during Helicopter Awareness Week.

“Our annual operating costs are now $5 million, half of which we need to raise from the community, year in, year out. Indeed, without the support of the community, the service simply wouldn’t exist,” said Mr Beavis.

Mr Beavis said that Helicopter Awareness Week was all about raising awareness of the vital role the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter played in the northern region, and how people can support the service in any number of different ways.

“On average the rescue helicopter completes five to six missions a week … that’s 300 people over the next year that don’t yet know they will need the helicopter.

“We all hope we never need it, but it’s nice to know it’s there 24/7 if we do.”

Mr Beavis outlined the many different ways people can support the service. These include payroll deductions, monthly or annual contributions, conducting a fundraising activity, in-memoriam donations, bequests or gifts in lieu of birthday presents.

“We are encouraging people to please support their rescue helicopter during Awareness Week. Please don’t take the service for granted,” said Mr Beavis.

“One of the easiest ways to show support is through volunteering, and next Saturday or Sunday (August 30-31) during our Doorknock Appeal we still need people to assist in driving our volunteer collectors to their designated collecting area.

“It only takes a couple of hours, and yet it will make such a huge difference. People should call us on 6627 4444 (Lismore office) or 6650 9893 (Coffs Harbour office) if they can help.”