By Taylah Fellows
AWE and appreciation filled the air on Saturday night at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service fundraising dinner held at the Sporties Club in Scone.
See photo gallery below.
The dinner was a huge success with more than 100 attendees turning up to support and donate towards the service.
Graham Nickisson, retired veteran crewman and Richard Jones, CEO for the Westpac helicopter engrossed the crowd, sharing stories of success and servitude.
Mr Jones said he found it incredible that even during a drought so many country people had come out to support the chopper service – a generosity of spirit and pocket that they see in many of the regional communities they serve.
Beryl Bates, group secretary for the Westpac Rescue Service Support Group in Scone said she was thrilled with how the night went, with people having the chance to speak with both Graham and Richard personally.
“It just went exceptionally well, financially and socially,” said Ms Bates.
“Listening to the two speakers, it was just an insight into the Service and how it works and how the communities are the ones that are behind them,” she said.
The highlight of the night was when Graham Nickisson brought Karen McDonald and her daughter Danielle to the microphone to share their heartfelt rescue story, when Graham saved Danielle’s life after making a crucial decision to divert the chopper.
“People were able to put a face to the Service with somebody who has been involved for so many years, stories coming from them sound a lot different than when it comes from us,” said Ms Bates.
“Seeing Richard and Graham speaking to people and people being able to ask questions, it wasn’t just a talk and leave situation, they were still there when I left,” she said.
Ms Bates said the support group was grateful to the local businesses who donated prizes on the night .
“We’re very happy with the number of people who donated things to us,” said Ms Bates.
“It’s incredible because we’re really doing it tough in our area and for businesses to come good and donate prizes to auction or raffle, it was amazing,” she said.
Beryl Bates also commented on the generosity of the Sporties Club for donating part of their bar sales to the Service as well as the delicious meals which were devoured on the night.
“Raymond and his team at Scone Sporties provided the most exceptional meals,” said Ms Bates
“It’s the most incredible thing for the Sporties and the RSL to donate ten per cent of their bar sales to the service…I mean it just goes to show the money that can be raised,” she said.
Beryl said they were lucky with the turnout because community support is what keeps the service running.
“It was a great team effort, we’ve got a great support group and it couldn’t have been put on without every one of them,” said Ms Bates.
“Every dollar adds up and we’re not here to raise thousands and thousands of dollars but we’ve got to keep fundraising…we just keep hanging in there, finding things to bring in any amount of money and on Saturday night, that’s what we did,” she said.
scone.com.au will be working with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service to bring you personal accounts of how the Service has been critical in the lives of local people. If you have used the Service we’d love to speak with you: 0414 552 474.