DRIVERS OF CHARITY: Dude and Merilyn Ensbey at Evans Head.
DRIVERS OF CHARITY: Dude and Merilyn Ensbey at Evans Head. Susanna Freymark

Accidents inspire giving: Family raise money for chopper

MERILYN Ensbey talks in a matter-of-fact tone about her husband breaking his neck - twice.

Both times Dude Ensbey was driving a truck and both times the Westpac Helicopter came to his rescue.

The accidents explain why the couple are keen to raise money for the Westpac Helicopter and the Casino Rescue Squad who had to cut Mr Ensbey out of the truck cab.

But how does Ms Ensbey feel about her husband getting back in a truck?

"It's not going to happen," she said, shaking her head.

In the first accident Dude was driving a cattle truck with 400 cows in the back.

Because they weren't packed tight, some cows started climbing on top of the others. It unbalanced the truck and as Mr Ensbey turned a corner the truck flipped on its side.

"As I went over I thought, 'sh*t, this is going to hurt'," he said. That was on June 5, 10 years ago.

The cost of the Westpac Helicopter rescue was $4000 and prompted the Ensbeys to start an annual golf day to pay back the service.

The North Coast Truck Drivers Incorporated was born.

Then in May 2014, driving a truck down the Dorrigo Range, the brakes failed and Mr Ensbey found himself in a similar situation.

"I knew I had to go into the bank or take out the school bus," he said.

He knew the school bus was due to round the corner and drove the nose of the truck into the bank. His neck was broken again and after his recovery the Ensbeys continued their fundraising.

Then in a strange twist of fate their daughter was flown from Lismore to Brisbane to save the life of her baby, and their son was flown from Grafton to the Gold Coast when he had a heart attack.

In nine years the Ensbeys have raised $116,000.



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