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Raising more than $40,000 for rescue helicopter

12 June 2008

Solid Energy efforts raise more than $40,000 to support the rescue helicopter service

Efforts during May by Solid Energy staff, Rotarians, members of Probus, local businesses and schools on the West Coast have raised $40,350 for the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust, the body behind the Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter.

Fundraising by Solid Energy staff on the West Coast in May, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Awareness month, resulted in $15,000 in donations from individuals and companies. More than $5,000 was collected during the street appeal, with Rotary club members, Probus members and children from schools along the Coast assisting. Solid Energy staff, in Christchurch, also collected about $1,300 on appeal day.

More than $20,300 was donated by tourists who visited Solid Energy’s Stockton Opencast Mine with Outwest Tours over the last 18 months.

Solid Energy’s West Coast Sponsorship Coordinator, Mary Wilson, and Joanne Wright, a representative from Westpac, presented a cheque to Trustee, John Sturgeon, and Solid Energy rescue helicopter pilot, Steve Batchelor, in Greymouth yesterday (11 June).

May was Westpac Rescue Helicopter Awareness Month for all rescue helicopter services around the country, with the main public fundraising effort centred around a street collection on 23 May. The Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust’s funding environment means that only 40% of air rescue operational costs are met by ACC and Hospital payments. That leaves a shortfall of 60% to be met by public donations and business sponsorship support.

“It was great to see the community step up and donate to the rescue helicopter again this year,” Mary Wilson says. “The number of companies that continue to support our efforts with fundraising for the service is overwhelming. We take this as acknowledgement of how important West Coasters see the service provided by the rescue helicopter.“

The Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter is one of Solid Energy’s major community support initiatives. The service began operating in 1997 and Solid Energy became the major sponsor in 2001. The dedicated helicopter service operates from Karamea to Haast.
The Solid Energy Rescue Helicopter service is a partnership between the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust, Order of St John and Garden City Helicopters Ltd, which also operates the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and New Zealand Flying Doctor Service out of Christchurch.


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