Chopper appeal support pleases

ROB MAETZIG
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013

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A big turnout to an envelope-stuffing appeal for the Taranaki Community rescue helicopter has trust chairman Bryce Barnett hopeful public support for the service is on the rise.

Mr Barnett said he could hardly believe almost 100 people turned up to put more than 30,000 pamphlets in envelopes for the trust's annual mailout appeal yesterday.

"I'm absolutely delighted - to think all those people gave up their time on a sunny Sunday afternoon to help," Mr Barnett said.

"And what really impressed me is the number of young people who turned up. We had at least 26 helpers who were under 20 years old, including 16 from New Plymouth Boys' High School. That's fantastic."

Last year there was a shortage of volunteers - but this year, the big team of helpers at the trust's headquarters got through the big task in record time.

The trust needs at least $700,000 a year to keep the rescue helicopter flying, and the annual mailout appeal is a vital part of the fundraising effort.

Mr Barnett hoped it would raise at least $300,000.

"We were concerned that last year the public support had started to fall. We were unsure whether it was a sign of tougher economic times, or whether the trust wasn't communicating with the public as well as we should," he said.

"So now we're working on that - to make as many Taranaki people as possible aware that the rescue helicopter service exists.

"Hopefully the fantastic turnout for the envelope-stuffing operation is an indication that we're succeeding."

Mr Barnett said the envelopes should start arriving in Taranaki letterboxes this week.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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