Fairlie family backs chopper appeal

Help needed for rescue service

SAHIBAN KANWAL
Last updated 13:51 15/05/2014
olivia callaghan
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FARM ACCIDENT: Olivia Callaghan lost control of her truck and it ended up in a gully.

olivia callaghan
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LIFESAVING AIRLIFT: Olivia Callaghan is airlifted from a gully where she crashed her truck.
olivia callaghan
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HELPED OUT: Olivia Callaghan is one of the many people saved by the Westpac Helicopter, which is holding its street appeal on May 30.

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The rescue chopper was there for Olivia Callaghan just when she needed it most.

Two years ago Callaghan, then 21, was thrown out of the windscreen of a truck as it lost control and went down a gully.

"We live in Fairlie and my daughter was on a truck towing a grain feeder and the vehicle got out of control," Olivia's father, Ian Callaghan said.

"The fire brigade and ambulance called Westpac and she was airlifted in a stretcher and flown to Christchurch. I couldn't speak highly enough of them," he said.

Olivia is now working at a farm in Scotland.

Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust marketing and communications manager Bridget Neill said 171 rescue missions were undertaken in South Canterbury by Westpac Rescue Helicopters last year, 27 per cent of the total missions.

"More than 5500 rescue missions were undertaken nationwide including over 1200 in Canterbury," Neill said.

To help Westpac continue with the rescue missions, Westpac is urging people to dig deep and donate.

"We are grateful for the continued support from our local communities and it is this generosity that allows us to carry out local rescue missions on a daily basis making a huge difference in many people's lives," Neill said.

Westpac's director of corporate affairs Sue Foley, said New Zealand's rescue helicopter services are paramount in the life or death situations thousands of Kiwis face each year.

"Without this service the reality is many New Zealanders could lose their lives because help cannot reach them in time.

"It is such a vital and important service, and we encourage every Kiwi out there, with friends and family they love, to support it," Foley said.

Rescue missions cost thousands of dollars on average and include a mix of ambulance and search and rescue work.

They also assist with accidents in difficult locations and support search and rescue and fire operations.

Running throughout May, the Westpac Chopper Appeal is supported by open days at the helicopter bases, a variety of fundraising activities in schools and community centres, as well as a nationwide street appeal on Friday, May 30.

Westpac funds the marketing and administration costs and distributes funds raised back to the local rescue helicopter trust.

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- The Timaru Herald

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