COMMUNITY RECOGNITION STATEMENT - Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service

Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland) (18:44:12): In the sparsely populated regional, rural and remote areas of New South Wales many people live hundreds of kilometres from major medical services. When people suffer acute trauma or illness or require medical transfer for specialist services, often there is no time for road travel. The fastest and most direct is through our skies in the capable hands of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. It costs $4,000 an hour for the service to operate one of the four life-saving helicopters. It relies heavily on fundraising and community generosity to stay in the skies.

Recently ultra distance athlete Paul Cornwell set out to raise money for the service by running 139 kilometres of laps around All Saints' College, St Mary's Campus, where he works. Throughout his mission Paul was supported by running partners and when burst blisters forced him to stop for a while his friends took up the charge and kept the lap count ticking over.

I congratulate Paul on his efforts and on inspiring others to take up this cause. The $2,470 they raised together will be greatly appreciated and used well.