New Zealand: 2011 Northland Rescue Helicopter Appeal targets $300K

New Zealand: 2011 Northland Rescue Helicopter Appeal targets $300K

28-Oct-2011 Source: Northpower

Northlanders are being urged to again show their generosity as the 2011 Electricity Rescue Helicopter Appeal lifts-off.

Appeal envelopes are being distributed throughout the North now and major sponsors, Northpower and Top Energy, hope to better last year’s combined fundraising total of $264,360 by topping the $300,000 mark.

The Electricity Rescue Helicopter is owned and operated by the Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) which based in Whangarei.

Since its launch in November 1988, Northland’s only independent rescue helicopter service has transported well over 12,000 locals and saved over 1700 lives.

But NEST’s Chairman, John Bain, says there is increasing demand for the service and additional funding is needed urgently.

“There is no doubt our workload is climbing. In fact we expect our patient numbers to lift by almost 6% in the next year which will push our annual flights to more than 700,” says Mr Bain.

“It puts a strain on our finances because the cost of running a helicopter is extremely high. So anything people can give is greatly appreciated because this service is vital for Northland.”

With Top Energy and Northpower combining to back the service with $150,000 in sponsorship annually, Top Energy CEO Russell Shaw hopes that figure will be doubled by public donations during the 2011 Appeal.

“The value of a 24 hour rescue helicopter service like this is undeniable. It provides an emergency response link to every one of Northland’s geographically isolated communities who would otherwise struggle to access emergency services at short notice,” says Mr Shaw.

“It is of immense benefit to the entire Northland region and that is why all money raised in the Electricity Rescue Helicopter Appeal will go directly to NEST to help meet operational costs so the generosity of locals is very important.”

Northpower Public Affairs Manager Steve Macmillan says the amount of lives saved by the Electricity Rescue Helicopter highlights a compelling statistic.

He is asking Northlanders who have not had first-hand experience of the service to talk to their friends, family members and colleagues about it.

“I guarantee if people take the time to ask around they will find someone who has been touched by the service. Listening to those stories is a humbling experience,” says Mr Macmillan.

“Obviously we have the expertise of the pilots, paramedics, medical staff and various emergency services to thank for making our Electricity Rescue Helicopter service what it is. But the financial contribution of Northlanders who have donated so generously over the years to keep the service operating cannot be overlooked.

“The Electricity Rescue Helicopter needs the ongoing support of us all, so every little bit people can contribute ultimately helps maintain a lifesaving service that is here for the good of us all. Unfortunately, you just never know when you may need it.”

Donations can be made using the official donation form and freepost envelope delivered to household letterboxes throughout the Far North, Kaipara and Whangarei regions. Locals can also donate by visiting any Northland ASB Bank or a one-off online payment to ERH Appeal – ASB Bank Account No: 12 3106 0046000 00.

Those who donate $5 or more can be into win one of 30 rides in the Electricity Rescue Helicopter.

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