Twin sisters Emily and Mary Betteridge have been raising money to support a rescue helicopter based in Lismore since 1982.
Twin sisters Emily and Mary Betteridge have been raising money to support a rescue helicopter based in Lismore since 1982. Ross Kendall

Emily thanked for 43 years of service to rescue helicopter

After over three decades of volunteering to support a rescue helicopter in Lismore an emotional Emily Betteridge said farewell to her "birds" at a formal morning tea and presentation at the heli-base in Lismore this morning.

Emily and her twin sister Mary Betteridge are 84 and started raising funds to get a rescue helicopter established in Lismore in 1982, 34 years ago.

The first raffle they ran was for a crochet blanket that raised $74, backed up by a "magnificent meat" raffle in Kyogle that earned over $367, Mary said.

"We have been doing it ever since. You have to give something back to the community," Mary said.

"This helicopter has saved many lives, you would be amazed at the stories we hear from people, including children, who have been saved by the helicopter. It is absolutely amazing.

"Some have tears running down their face and they grab your hand and they say 'thank you'.

"Money couldn't buy the feeling, it makes it all worthwhile," she said.

Health problems are forcing Emily to give up her regular volunteering efforts but she is determined that it will not be the end of her relationship with the organisation, vowing to help out where she can.

"We will still support our babies, they [the helicopters] are our babies," Emily said, pointing at two helicopters behind her.

The twins had no doubts that from relatively simple idea, Lismore would now boast a world class heli-base supplying 24 hours a day chopper rescue services across the region.

"You have to be positive, if you wan these things. You have to work hard as well," Mary said.

The Lismore heli-base chairman Warren Tozer presented Emily with a silver commemorative plate in front of a crowd of 20 people to thank her for her effort.



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