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This Is Northern New South Wales

Rescue Rumble



For over 30 years, the Northern Region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service – a not-for-profit community organisation based in Lismore – has provided an aero medical rescue service to the area’s residents and visitors, free of charge. During this period, it has flown more than 7800 life-saving missions. “Currently the rescue helicopter averages six-to-seven missions a week,” said Fundraising Manager Zeke Huish. “Our on-duty crews are on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Travelling at a cruising speed of 260 kmph enables the aero-medically fitted Eurocopter Dauphin AS365 N2 rescue helicopter – also known as the Westpac Chopper – to cover a massive flight area of over 80,000 sqkm of land and sea. “We service an area from the Queensland border south to Nambucca Heads and Macksville, west to Glen Innes and Tenterfield and east beyond the coast line,” Zeke said.

While the iconic red and yellow helicopter bears the Westpac logo, Zeke said the banking corporation is not responsible for its funding. “We did a recent online survey and found that there seems to be a lot of miss-conceptions about our organisation, namely people saying they thought that we were fully funded or that we charged patients who we fly,” he said. “This isn’t the case, which is why we need the community’s support to help fundraise each year.”


Remarkably, 60% of the Service’s funding comes from the community. “We have an annual operating budget of $7 million, and this is funded by the community and business/corporate sector each year,” Zeke explained. “We seek to raise this support through appeals, events, our six Op Shops, raffles and donations. Importantly, all proceeds raised in our region, stay in our region and go directly towards maintaining the Service to enable us to be on standby 24-hours a day.”

Next on the fundraising calendar is Rescue Rumble, an annual obstacle course event open to all ages and fitness abilities. Held on Sunday March 21 at Hosanna Farmstay in Stokers Siding, the 7km course features multiple obstacles and natural terrain challenges. “Funding sourced from Rescue Rumble helps us keep this valuable community servive alive,” Zeke said. “We can’t continue to save lives without the support our community.”

Register for Rescue Rumble here