An­other am­bas­sador for the res­cue chop­per

The Northland Age - - Local News -

For­mer Trans-At­lantic row­ing cham­pion and Olympian Rob Hamill is the lat­est am­bas­sador for the North­land Res­cue Heli­copter ser­vice.

Mr Hamill put his hand up to help raise aware­ness of the need for on­go­ing pub­lic do­na­tions to keep the he­li­copters fly­ing af­ter spend­ing many weeks in North­land pre­par­ing his cata­ma­ran for a fam­ily sail­ing ad­ven­ture to the Pa­cific Is­lands and be­yond.

He knew only too well how life could change in a split sec­ond, hav­ing lost three of his sib­lings over the last 30 years. Row­ing more than 4000km across the At­lantic Ocean in 1997 had made him acutely aware of how vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple could be with­out help at hand.

“I am very priv­i­leged to be sup­port­ing the North­land Res­cue Heli­copter ser­vice, be­cause the work they do is amaz­ing,” he said.

“What is par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive is how they work to­gether with St John, the North­land DHB, the emer­gency ser­vices through­out North­land and so many amaz­ing vol­un­teers. It has been said by many peo­ple be­fore, but you just never know when you might need the ser­vice, and I am look­ing for­ward to tak­ing part in some of the ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the 2018 fundrais­ing ap­peal.”

Gen­eral man­ager Vanessa Furze said the ser­vice was thrilled to have Mr Hamill on board.

“We are so well rep­re­sented by our am­bas­sadors, and they re­ally are very im­por­tant to help­ing raise the aware­ness of our need to raise funds to meet op­er­a­tional short­falls over the busy sum­mer months,” she said. “Those pub­lic do­na­tions are just as cru­cial as the spon­sor­ship we re­ceive from North­power ($100,000 an­nu­ally) and Top En­ergy ($50,000 an­nu­ally), plus all our other spon­sors, sup­port­ers, and of course the gen­er­ous fund­ing and on­go­ing sup­port we re­ceive from North­land Re­gional Coun­cil.”

The ser­vice had flown more than 20,000 missions since 1988, and was in­stru­men­tal in sav­ing thou­sands of lives. The fleet con­tin­ued to clock up dozens of flights ev­ery month.

In 2011 the ser­vice com­pleted 581 jobs, ris­ing to 901 last year. The tally so far this year is al­ready well over 718.

PIC­TURE / SUP­PLIED

Rob Hamill has a new role in North­land.

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