The scale of Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service operations, the technical sophistication of the equipment and dedication of its personnel impressed the audience at Friday night’s fundraiser organised by the Rescue Service support group.
However, visiting WRHS personnel emphasised that the work of the volunteer fund raisers was as vital as the role of personnel aboard the helicopter.
The night featured an exhibition of the Narrabri Shire Civic Collection, artworks, on display for the first time in many years.
The helicopter support group, volunteers who raise funds throughout the year to help keep the vital airborne service operating, were familiar with the activities of the organisation but others were impressed to hear the statistics.
The helicopter rescue service, based at Tamworth Airport, ranges across the north west of NSW and the Queensland border and sometimes into southern Queensland, on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week every day of the year.
The service is free to the people it serves.
The WRHS has one helicopter based in Tamworth, one in Lismore and one in Newcastle.
The basic machine costs $16 million, but after extensive fit out to the standard of a flying Intensive Care Unit, the cost comes in at $18 million.
And operational costs are high.