CAN YOU HELP? Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter volunteers (from left) Marlene Croft, Bob and Sue Smith devote regular hours to the service.
CAN YOU HELP? Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter volunteers (from left) Marlene Croft, Bob and Sue Smith devote regular hours to the service. Yvonne Gardiner

Life saver helicopter a worthy cause

SENIORS with time on their hands volunteer for a variety of reasons, and choose from numerous worthy causes.

Many on the Northern Rivers help out the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

For 35 years, this service has delivered aeromedical search and rescue services for the northern parts of NSW.

Volunteers do many tasks, including selling raffle tickets, working in one of the six op shops in the region, helping out with major events, collecting money tins, administration and catering events.

Bob and Sue Smith sell raffle tickets at shopping centres in Ballina.

Sue, a volunteer for eight years, says she contributes about 100 hours a year to the service to "give back to the community'.

"We've had people come up to us while we've been selling raffle tickets," she said.

"One person said, 'if it wasn't for the service, I'd be dead now'.

"All the money comes from the community and stays in the community.

"We also empty money boxes at the helicopter base and help with mail-outs."

Marlene Croft has been volunteering at the Ballina Op Shop two days a week for seven years.

"I was suffering from depression and couldn't get about," she said.

"I classify the op shop as my safe house.

"I work Tuesday and Thursday on a regular basis.

"We're helping to save lives. It's a fantastic organisation."

The op shop is in need of more volunteers and donations of good quality, clean clothing.

Coming up is the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter annual appeal called Rescue Day, on August 11.

Rescue Day is a celebration of the lives and families the service has touched since it started in 1982.

The service seeks support from the community on the day to sell merchandise or collect donations in their town, or to hold a red and yellow fundraiser among social or sporting groups, or at workplaces.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, call 1800 155 155 or visit the website www.helirescue.com.au.


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