Briar-Rose Harder and her new best friend are the faces of Helicopter Awareness Week, which runs from August 20-27.
Briar-Rose Harder and her new best friend are the faces of Helicopter Awareness Week, which runs from August 20-27. Contributed

Chopper rescue may happen to you

THE Coffs Coast will soon be inundated with envelopes so residents can do their bit to help the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

The annual appeal, which aims to raise more than $150,000 throughout the North Coast, runs during Helicopter Awareness Week, which starts on Saturday.

As many as 170,000 letterboxes throughout the service’s flight region will receive the specially marked donation envelopes.

“The service relies on the business and community sector for over 60% of its $6.5 million operating budget and this is our major fundraiser for the year,” said Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter general manager Kris Beavis.

“We are appealing to our supportive community to once again donate to help us continue to save lives.”

Featured on this year’s appeal envelope is the story of seven-year-old Lismore girl Briar-Rose Harder.

In January, Briar-Rose fell while she was jumping on an exercise ball and broke a bone in her neck.

She was airlifted by the rescue helicopter to Brisbane for specialist care.

Her mother, Alison Dunkley, said she had never given much thought to the rescue helicopter despite living close to the Lismore helibase and often hearing the helicopter fly over.

“You think it could never happen to you, but it can,” she said.

“We would like to thank the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter not only for the outstanding care we received, but for all the lives saved by this important service.”

Local pubs in the flight region will be running bucket collections during Helicopter Awareness Week.

On Saturday, August 27, volunteers will converge on shopping centres across the Coffs Coast for bucket collections.

Other activities for what is shaping up to be a big week include community visits to the helibase and visits to schools and hospitals across the region.

Aircrew chief Roger Fry will be taking along his interactive box of tricks that involves kids being part of a makeshift helicopter – always a popular activity and very realistic.



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