Bras­si­cas raise chop­per funds

Clutha Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MARY-JO TO­HILL

Those lush fields of win­ter bras­si­cas, the swedes, fod­der beat and kale that south Otago grows so well, not only pro­vide win­ter feed for stock but also fund­ing for in­creas­ingly vi­tal ser­vices such as the Otago Re­gional Res­cue He­li­copter.

The time it takes to reach a sick or in­jured per­son can be a mat­ter of life or death.

Peo­ple in parts of the iso­lated Clutha dis­trict know that only too well, which is one of the rea­sons why ser­vice groups like the Clin­ton Lions Club hold win­ter bras­sica com­pe­ti­tions ev­ery year.

TV fish­ing show celebrity Graeme Sin­clair was the guest speaker at the re­cent auc­tion, which brought the to­tal amount raised from this year’s event to a record $85,000.

The club was grate­ful for the sup­port of the 130 farm­ers who en­tered 200 bras­sica crops, win­ter bras­sica com­pe­ti­tion con­vener War­ren Erick­son said.

‘‘Liv­ing in the ru­ral area, we de­pend more and more on the res­cue he­li­copter as it saves lives from se­ri­ous in­jury or a med­i­cal event, as it can ac­cess re­mote ar­eas in short time.’’

Club mem­ber Ger­ard Val­lely, who won the fod­der beat sec­tion this year with a 38 tonne crop, is a staunch sup­porter of the chop­per char­ity.

The Waipahi dairy farmer was badly hurt in a trac­tor ac­ci­dent about four years ago when he be­came crushed in the front loader.

‘‘I was do­ing an ad­just­ment and lean­ing over, and I got squashed in the boom.’’

It was a moment panic’’ for wife Ann.

She man­aged to re­lease the pres­sure off Ger­ard, who re­mained con­scious and swear­ing through­out, giv­ing in­struc­tions on what to do.

‘‘As soon as I heard the he­li­copter com­ing, I knew I was go­ing to be all right.’’

For Ann it was a pet­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. She thought he was a goner and should have been dead.

‘‘Off we went to Dunedin Hos­pi­tal, and I looked down at the he­li­pad. It was so small, and I thought, we’re not go­ing to be able to land.’’

But land they did, and Ger­ard did re­cover af­ter a year from his crush in­juries.

‘‘I hear a chop­per now, and I think, some­one is in trou­ble, some­one is hurt, but they’re go­ing to be res­cued.’’

The res­cue chop­per con­ducts about 450 mis­sions a year. of ‘‘to­tal

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