Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crewman Tom Lee Lewis at the Lismore open day.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crewman Tom Lee Lewis at the Lismore open day. Patrick Gorbunovs

Rescuers open doors

THE Westpac helicopter crew set out to do something special for the community at its 30th anniversary open day.

The helicopter crew welcomed the public into their Lismore base on Saturday to show what happens behind the scenes.

"A lot of people see the helicopter flying around but they never really get a chance to get up close and see what people contribute towards," Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter fundraising manager Zeke Huish said.

"Today is a great opportunity for people to find out how the service actually operates and have a chat to pilots and crew."

The helicopter crew simulated some of its rescue operations, such as throwing life buoys into the water, and there was an obstacle course and rescue winch that the kids could ride on.

"It's all in the name of fun," Mr Huish said.

"The service is really keen to say thank-you to the community, so we're trying to make this as big and special as we can."

Leanne Hepburn's two children, Ryley and Chloe, were excited to see the organisation's two helicopters up close.

"They always see the helicopter in the sky going around and Ryley actually gets all excited when he sees it flying over," Ms Hepburn said.

"He keeps mentioning he wants a ride in it."

An estimated 2500 people attended the day and funds were raised for the helicopter, which Mr Huish said was an essential service for the Northern Rivers.



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