Helping To Save Lives in the Waikato

The Westpac Waikato Rescue Helicopter service was founded in 1987 and has touched the lives of almost 10,000 patients since its inception. Last year the current Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter, operated by the Philips Search and Rescue Trust, completed 385 missions in the region, in some cases making the difference between life and death.

Plymouth Brethren - Waikato Rescue Helicopter

Recently the Bell 222B helicopter, reached its 25th year and the Trust recognised the need for a newer machine, ultimately to provide more advanced rescue capabilities. A fundraising campaign was launched with a target of $4.5million for a replacement rescue helicopter.

“Thousands of Kiwis will need this service over the coming year – the reality is next time it could be any one of us, a member of our family or a friend,” said Chief pilot Grant Bremner.

Plymouth Brethren - Waikato Helicopter

After a two-year quest, a new rescue and air ambulance helicopter was purchased for the Waikato and King Country community. “The multi-role BK117 is a multi-million dollar investment and the capabilities that it adds to our rescue portfolio are immense,” said Grant, “all emergency services and those members of the public living in our region will greatly benefit from this investment.”

The new helicopter will enhance the current level of air ambulance service with increased search and rescue capability that will include a 600lb (two-person) winch for patient extraction from difficult terrain as well as night vision for increased night flying safety.

In March 2013 after becoming aware of the needs of this vital community service, the local Plymouth Brethren fund raising team became involved. After visiting the Helicopter crew and discussing their requirements the Brethren team decided on a target of $4,900.00 which would enable the Trust to purchase the vital winch stretcher.

A fund raising campaign was launched within the Plymouth Brethren community and through the month of April they smashed their target and raised $7,805.00 of donations.

As the Brethren presented the Trust with the cheque, Kylie Harcourt, Marketing Manager said “We are truly grateful for your support and this thanks is not only from us, but from the people that you will help save. I would like to pass on how delighted we were to receive your generous donation and to thank you all for the efforts in raising funds for our significant project.” 

Plymouth Brethren - Waikato Helicopter

These funds have enabled the Trust to not only purchase the patient stretcher for the winch but also a crane that will lift the very heavy winch on and off the helicopter.  Two very necessary items that enable winch rescues.

Waikato’s latest air ambulance is now in the final stages of becoming rescue-ready as the fundraising efforts to pay for the multi-million dollar lifesaving machine wrap up.

Plymouth Brethren- Waikato Rescue Helicopter

Waikato Rescue Helicopter Letter 1

Plymouth Brethren - Waikato Rescue Helicopter

Waikato Rescue Helicopter Letter Cont

Plymouth Brethren - Waikato Rescue Helicopter

WRH Thank you letter 1

12 thoughts on “Helping To Save Lives in the Waikato”

  1. Pommie says:

    Hello, this looks great. Me and my friend support our local air ambulance, a charity very very close to our hearts, and that has lifted a few of our friends to hospital. Please feel free to donate generously! the link is
    (no, I’m not Marina 🙂 )

  2. Hello says:

    Brilliant work! 🙂

  3. Simon says:

    Does this church make any donations to the rescue helicopter services in Australia? Our helicopter and plane services in Australia are in great need of funds too.

    1. H says:

      Yes we do. We have donated to the Royal Flying Doctor:

      Not sure if there’s been any to rescue helicopters in Australia as yet….

    2. Anonymous says:

      Yes, I know that in NSW there have been a couple of schools do fundraising events for the Westpac Helicopter. I know that one school alone raised
      $53 700.00 for Care Flight as well. So YES there has been donations made by the plymouth brethren in Australia, to the rescue helicopter services in Australia.

    3. Ali says:

      I am a Year 8 PBCC student from a small school in Australia and just last term we donated approximately $6000 to the Royal Flying Doctor. We were also lucky to have a demonstration come to our school.

  4. Blinky Bill says:

    Well done in fundraising that awesome amount.
    Cheers 🙂
    Blinky Bill

  5. Dave W says:

    Gr8 work guys.
    I agree with grannys comment, the RNLI do a gr8 job

  6. Granny says:

    I am always amazed that a vital rescue service such as this has to raise the money themselves for their equipment – it’s the same in the UK – lifeboats too! We need to do all we can to support these brave people who serve the community like this. Well done PBCC for raising such a large amount towards this project! Keep going!! Everywhere you look there is another need…..

  7. Callum says:

    Oh boy they look so proud handing that large cheque over, WOW. I spend alot of time on the road in my truck (basically 24/7) actually been in numerous accidents and rollovers myself so I know how vital the rescue helicopter is to the area. Thanks!

  8. Norma says:

    Extra thanks to those that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make fundraising efforts like this a success.

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