New boss for chop­per trust

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Greg Bar­row isn’t shy of a chal­lenge.

On July 1 he’ll take up the role of chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at the Auck­land West­pac Res­cue He­li­copter Trust at a time when the air am­bu­lance ser­vice is get­ting 40 per cent more call outs than it was three years ago and is con­tin­u­ally fight­ing for fund­ing.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant to me that the ser­vice main­tains the high stan­dard it de­liv­ers to Auck­land,’’ Mr Bar­row says.

Prob­a­bly the big­gest project to hit his desk will be buy­ing a new he­li­copter by 2015, at a cost of $14 mil­lion to $15m.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously it will be a chal­lenge to raise the money and then it will need to be set up, and the staff trained to use it,’’ he says.

The ser­vices’ two present he­li­copters are 26 and 28 years old.

They are still fully func­tional, but needs are chang­ing.

‘‘On board there are the pi­lots, a doc­tor and in some cases a paramedic even be­fore there is a pa­tient.

‘‘The new he­li­copter will be able to take a big­ger pay­load,’’ he says.

The Ep­som man is an avi­a­tion in­dus­try vet­eran and is a pi­lot for Vir­gin Air­lines and a self­em­ployed avi­a­tion con­sul­tant.

‘‘I mar­ried a girl that grew up around where we live and I was brought up in Man­gere Bridge so we’ve moved about 7 miles in our life,’’ he says.

Present chief ex­ec­u­tive Bob Parkin­son is re­tir­ing from his post af­ter five years.

‘‘I stepped in on a tem­po­rary three-month con­tract ini­tially but fell in love with it and stayed for five years,’’ he says.

‘‘Fund­ing has been a daily, weekly, monthly chal­lenge. We rely on about 50 per cent of fund­ing to come from the com­mu­nity.

‘‘In say­ing that we do en­joy fan­tas­tic sup­port from the Auck­land com­mu­nity and cor­po­rates.’’

Mr Parkin­son will re­main a trustee of the West­pac Res­cue He­li­copter Trust.

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