One of Gloucester's vital services has been handed a big cheque filled with community raised funds.
For the committee of the Gloucester Community Shop, it was an easy decision to kick off Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service's major local fundraisers with a $10,000 donation.
Each year, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Gloucester Support Group holds three fundraising events with the dinner and auction being the big ticket event. Funds raised help support the free helicopter service that transports critical patients from the region to Newcastle and Taree hospitals.
Last year, due to COVID, all fundraising was halted. Now that events are back on the menu, the group decided to run the auction as soon as possible, choosing a May date instead of the usual September one.
When the community shop committee found out it was going ahead, they agreed at a meeting to make a sizable donation. On Tuesday, April 27, community shop volunteers happily handed the cheque to support group committee members.
According to support group president Brian Clarke, the helicopter service flies into the region roughly once a week - sometimes even multiple times.
"I'd guess that nearly everyone knows someone that been taken in it," Brian said. "It's the only air medical service that reliably comes to Gloucester."
I'd guess that nearly everyone knows someone that been taken in itBrian Clarke
And Brian knows what he's talking about, having been flown in the helicopter himself after he was in a motorcycle accident on the Bucketts Way in 1995. He credits the service for saving his life.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Gloucester Support Group's dinner and auction takes place at the Gloucester Soldiers Club on Saturday, May 22 with doors opening at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets cost $50 per person and can be purchased at Gloucester Furniture One, 50-52 Church Street by May 17. For more information, contact Jo Fitzpatrick on 0428782224.
The Gloucester Community Shop, located at 41 King Street, takes all of it profits from its op shop sales and donates it back to the community. Other recent donations include two bench seats for Gloucester Primary School, funds to support the Gloucester High School breakfast club, funds for the Gloucester Soccer Club and a donation to the Colour Beyond Blue fun run.