Air rescue service needs help
Taranaki's ambulance in the sky is looking for friends to open their wallets to keep it in the air.
The Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter Trust needs more than $700,000 annually through sponsorship, grants and donations to keep the dedicated air rescue service free to patients.
The newly-established Friends of the Rescue Helicopter membership programme will be calling homes over the next eight weeks looking for donations and new members.
The helicopter undertook 179 missions in 2013 and has been called to almost one a day this year, chairman Bryce Barnett said.
"People hiking and biking up the mountain, boating or fishing, crashes on the road and farms.
"We are proud to be available to help but we never forget that we are only able to do so because of the generosity of the Taranaki community."
Friends of the Rescue Helicopter will receive transport back to Taranaki Base Hospital if they need to go to hospital outside of the region and require a return to the hospital for an extended recovery period.
A Friends membership is $50 per year - a $5 membership fee together with a minimum donation of $45.
In 2013, the programme was launched to current supporters with more than 1000 people joining up.
"It enables us to look after each other," Mr Barnett said.
Donations over $5 made to the Rescue Helicopter Trust are issued with a tax receipt, allowing donors to claim 33 per cent of their donation back at the end of the financial year.
For further information please contact the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter on 0508 4737 283 or visit
Taranaki Daily News