Harold Fredericks was instrumental in forming the Rescue Helicopter.
Harold Fredericks was instrumental in forming the Rescue Helicopter.

Lismore mourns former mayor

By Alex Easton

HAROLD Richmond Fredericks' legacy can be seen almost daily from every hill and valley of the Northern Rivers, racing through the sky saving lives.

Mr Fredericks, who passed away on Sunday, was a lot of things over his 84 years many of them heroic.

During World War II he served with the elite Z Force, parachuting behind enemy lines in Borneo to teach the locals how to fight the Japanese.

He then served as a police officer for 36 years, including 17 as a Lismore-based detective, travelling between Tweed Heads and Taree solving crimes.

He served 13 years on Lismore council, after being elected in a landslide in 1983 the year after he retired from the police force and was the city's mayor from 1987.

However, the thing he will likely be best remembered for is the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

Helicopter general manager Perry Wells, who Mr Fredericks regarded as a third son, yesterday said the Northern Rivers might not have a helicopter rescue service were it not for the determined faith of Mr Fredericks.

Mr Fredericks, along with the late Bruce Duncan, was one of the key players who fought for the return of the helicopter service after it fizzled in 1984 for want of funding, and helped build it into the professional organisation it is today.

His son, Paul Fredericks, who followed him into the police service, said the helicopter was one of the things his father had been proudest of.

"While he never claimed any credit, he was part of it and felt great pride that it grew into what it is," he said.

Paul said his father was a man of immense principles, ethics and compassion.

"He lived his life by two simple principles," Paul said. "He always believed that you do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The second was not to ask what your fellow man can do for you, but what you can do for your fellow man."

That philosophy was recognised in 2003, when he was made a Member of the Order of Australia.

A funeral service for Mr Fredericks will be held at the St Andrew's Anglican Church, Lismore, at 2pm tomorrow.



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