Historic milestone for airborne lifesavers

Lee and Jayne Rothwell from Rothwells Pump and Irrigation in Alstonville with Tony Birmingham, the pilot who flew the Life Saver Rescue Helicopters historic 5000th mission.

Saving lives is part of the job description for pilots on board the Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, but now local businesses can also say theyve given the gift of life as part of a new fundraising initiative.

Lee and Jayne Rothwell from Rothwells Pump and Irrigation in Alstonville are the first to come on board, proudly becoming mission sponsors of the historic 5000th mission last Monday, when the helicopter airlifted a patient to Lismore Base Hospital after a motor vehicle accident on Woodford Dale Road near Lawrence Ferry.

There is so much pressure on everyone to support a huge number of charities, and so much of it is at arms length, said Lee Rothwell. But sponsoring a helicopter mission is a bit like putting your hand in your pocket on the day and saving someones life. It makes it much more personal.

The helicopter service commenced in 1982 in Ballina with a single piston-engine Hillier 12E helicopter. Since then it has developed into a sophisticated operation using state-of-the-art twin-engined turbo Dauphin helicopters with crews on alert 24 hours.

Time is the most crucial factor in emergencies, and over the past 24 years, thousands of locals have been saved purely because the Rescue Helicopter got to the scene quickly.

With a mission costing an average of $5000 (around $3.5 million annually) the Life Saver Rescue Helicopter relies heavily on the community for financial support.

We would not have been able to reach this significant achievement without our sponsors and the community, said Rescue Helicopter general manager, Perry Wells.

For more information or to sponsor a mission visit www.helirescue.com.au or phone 6627 4444.


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