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Helicopter Appeal signals 25 years of saving lives


dirt bike accident(copy)The founder of Northland’s Electricity Rescue Helicopter service is paying tribute to the paramedics and pilots who have helped save hundreds of lives since 1988.

NEST Chairman John Bain is hoping for a highly successful Year 25 fundraising appeal.

And his stance is being backed by All Blacks’ selector Grant Fox who is encouraging Northlanders to donate to their lifesaving air ambulance service during the just launched 25th anniversary fundraising campaign.

“Well over a thousand lives saved in 25 years and more than 15,000 people flown ... that’s incredible,” says Mr Fox.

“They do a great job. It’s worth supporting. You never know when you might need it. This service and the people who operate it, and are inside it, give selflessly and service their community.

Mr Bain is adamant at least 20% of flights have been lifesaving thanks to reaching patients in the crucial golden hour and platinum half hour.

“The Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter Service is the only 24 hour IFR (Instrument Flight Rule) service in New Zealand and we have the mostly highly trained paramedics in the country,” says Mr Bain.

Mr Bain says because of the impact it has had on the community, any Northlanders 25 years or younger simply expect it as a public service.

So his challenge to locals is to make the Year 25 celebrations particularly memorable by ensuring it the biggest fundraising campaign in the history of NEST.

“We were the first community in New Zealand to buy its own rescue helicopter to use as an air ambulance. Now we have three and we are the busiest independent air ambulance service in New Zealand because we service 38% of the length of the North Island’s coastline and we can operate 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year – flying well over 1000 patients a year.”

“Northlanders have been immensely generous to us over the years. We need that goodwill to continue to allow us to keep saving lives and bringing happiness and hope to people in times of need.”

November 15 marks the anniversary of the first flight by the Northland Emergency Services Trust back in 1988. November 17 will be the 25th anniversary of the first medical flight by the service.

Northland electricity lines companies Northpower and Top Energy, which have sponsored Northland’s Electricity Rescue Helicopter service since 1988, will again match public donations to the 2013 Electricity Rescue Helicopter Appeal up to $150,000.

■ Follow the campaign at www.facebook.com/northland.rescuehelicopter

People can donate in three ways:
- Return your Freepost official donation envelope sent out to all Northland homes.
- Donate at any Northland ASB Branch.
- Internet banking donation to ERH Appeal, ASB 12 3106 0046000 00.

Those who donate $5 or more can be in to win one of 60 rides in an Electricity Rescue Helicopter.

Caption: GOLDEN HOUR: Northlanders are lucky to have this sort of emergency service available 24 hours a day.

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