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Rescue Helicopter Staff Humbled By Community Generosity

Despite an economically challenging 2023, Northlanders still dug deep and donated more than $302,000 to the 2023 Northland Rescue Helicopter annual appeal.

Fundraising and Marketing Manager Jan Hewitt says she is blown away by the generosity of Northlanders 36 years after the service was established.

“Year in, year out our local community supports us in the most amazing way, whether it is doing a fundraiser on our behalf, donating some coins or cash, or sponsoring us in some way,” says Mrs Hewitt.

“But we couldn’t do our jobs without our loyal media partners, local businesses, ambassadors and staff who help fly the flag for the operation and assist us with fundraising events and presentations to community organisations, schools and businesses.

“It is also important that people are able to meet our team and see what a lean operation we run. There are only three of us in the fundraising team and we are tasked with finding around $2 million annually which is no mean feat.

“That’s why getting out and about at iconic events like the Northland A&P Show and Northland Field Days is so important. We also really enjoy having people drop by our Field Days stand with Northland Federated Farmers and hearing stories of when they were injured or ill and needed the help of one of our rescue helicopters.

“Those interactions are often very emotional and are a good reminder of why the work of our engineers, pilots, paramedics and office staff are crucial to running a lifesaving charity like ours so well,” she says.

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Northland Emergency Services Trust Chair Paul Ahlers says given how tough times have been for people recently it is particularly overwhelming to receive this level of support.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that our community have raised over $300k during our appeal period from October to Christmas and we are so grateful for that kindness,” says Mr Ahlers.

“It constantly amazes me how people manage to dig deep but I guess that just shows how highly the service is valued by the people of Northland – and visitors to our region. We certainly don’t take the annual appeal period for granted and we are lucky to have such a strong fundraising team in Jan Hewitt, Briar Edwards and Steve Macmillan.

“They are extremely passionate about their roles within the service and are strongly supported by all the staff year-round. That makes a real difference to our fundraising efforts.”

Some highlights of the 2023 annual appeal included the MoreFM Northland All Day Breakfast which raised $81k in just 12 hours, the Pines golf tournament organised by McKenzie Contracting and Commercial Diesel which raised $50k, the Northern Wairoa golf tournament which raised $26k, a substantial donation from The Den, alongside and many other generous community fundraisers.

People wanting to donate can do so at

https://www.nest.org.nz/donate

and they can also find out what the Northland Rescue Helicopter team are up to at

https://www.facebook.com/northland.rescuehelicopter

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