Rescue Helicopter trust manager Paula Muddle, NBS CEO Tony Cadigan and helicopter crewman Paul Bryant (Ernie) celebrate the money raised as part of a rescue helicopter appeal week. Photo: Supplied.

$50k raised for helicopter trust

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The first-ever NBS appeal month for the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust (NMRHT) has raised more than $50,000.

The final figure raised for the helicopter rescue service was $50,475.53.

NBS’ CEO Tony Cadigan says the engagement from staff as well as the community response was outstanding, and NBS was incredibly proud to be involved and witness the total ticking up first-hand.

“I think this shows two things really clearly. One, that our community is extremely generous, and two, that they understand the huge importance of the rescue helicopter service and they want to back that.”

The month-long appeal was part of NBS’ ongoing sponsorship of the service, a venture which aims to shine a light on the trust’s critical work and boost public support – a goal Tony says the appeal has contributed to significantly.

The NMRHT is only partially government-funded for the 500-plus missions they fly every year, making donations absolutely vital to their operations.

So far, in 2020, the helicopter has averaged 10 missions per week, at an average cost of $3,500 per mission.

In September and October the crew completed 81 missions, adding to the total of 408 lives they have played a critical role in saving this year.

NMRHT general manager Paula Muddle says the donations from the appeal will help the trust to meet crucial costs, including keeping the crew safe on every mission.

“Making sure our team is safe during their dangerous work is high priority for us,” she says.

“Safety gear for pilots and crew, which includes fire-retardant clothing, all-terrain boots, flight suits, personal locator beacons, life vests and night vision goggles, adds up to around $35,000 each for the crew.”

Additionally, ensuring that the highly-skilled team meets regulatory requirements costs about $120,000 a year.

“It was so great to have the NBS staff onboard during the appeal, whether it was wearing their customised helicopter polos or liaising with customers, there was a real sense of engagement,” says Paula.

“The generosity of NBS’ clients during the month was incredibly humbling, it makes me so proud to live in the community that we do.”

Tony says the entire NBS team is proud to continue being a major sponsor of the NMRHT.