Kiwis have donated a record amount of money to this year's Westpac Chopper Appeal, which will see more than $200,000 donated to the local Waikato rescue team.
Westpac Community Sponsorship Manager Bec Williams said $1,672,085 was raised across the country, improving on the previous best of $1,656,858 raised in 2011.
“The helicopters are such a vital emergency service, but they depend on the support and generosity of our community to stay in the air. It's really important to play our part and raise awareness of this vital service, along with much-needed funds," Ms Williams said.
Philips Search & Rescue Trust has so far raised $1.8 million of the $3.5m required to purchase a new Waikato rescue helicopter that will replace the 25-year-old Bell 222B.
Trust marketing manager Kylie Harcourt said she hoped the total raised would reach $2 million by the end of the year.
"This is a one-off - the big push if you like, to raise money for a helicopter that will continue to serve the local community for many years," she said.
A final decision will be made within a few weeks on what will replace the ageing Bell, which completed 201 missions this year by June 30.
Ms Williams said donations could be made at www.chopperappeal.co.nz or any Westpac branch.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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