Rescue helicopter service launches its biggest fundraiser yet to help meet unprecedented costs.
Rescue helicopter service launches its biggest fundraiser yet to help meet unprecedented costs.

Digging deep could save lives

IMAGINE forking out $1600 for a new taillight next time your rego is due.

Or worse, consider parting with $8000 for a replacement seatbelt for your next pink slip – not to mention having to scratch up a lazy $1 million for a scheduled engine overhaul.

While the cost of getting the family car through its roadworthy inspection hasn’t got that bad yet, spare a thought for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

These are the kind of costs the service faces on an annual basis to get through its ‘rego’ check.

The vital service receives no direct government funding and depends heavily on local business and community support.

This week it launched the biggest fundraiser in its history in the face of unprecedented rising costs.

General manager Kris Beavis described the campaign as ‘critical’ and urged the community not to take the service for granted.

“We need to raise an extra $1 million this year just to keep our operations on track and continue the important business of saving lives,” he said.

The campaign, which runs until April, encourages people to make a donation or better, organise a weekly deduction from their pay.

Mr Beavis explained that the service’s operating budget had almost doubled to $6.5 million in the past four years while last year donations fell 12 per cent in the wake of the global financial crisis.

“We are facing unprecedented pressure to increase our income to continue to provide the services and support necessary to conduct our life-saving rescue missions,” he said.

Mr Beavis said most people knew of someone who had been rescued or saved by the familiar yellow helicopter in our skies, and all felt safer knowing it was there.

Just over 1 per cent of the community now make a regular direct debit donation to the service. If that figure was doubled, it would help to secure the service well into the future.

“Just a couple of dollars a week gives us a regular cash flow and most people wouldn’t even notice it,” he said.



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