It's time for the community to show their support for Northland's high-flying helicopter rescue teams.
The annual fundraising appeal is under way for the Northland Rescue Helicopter which has to the end of September flown 702 rescue missions in the region.
Paul Ahlers, trustee of the Northland Emergency Services Trust and CEO of the Northland Rescue Chopper Service, said as part of the appeal there would be a number of community events – three fundraising breakfasts, a fundraising lunch and the launch of the latest children's book – Cheeky Charlie to the Rescue – at three schools around Northland.
"We receive tremendous support around Northland at these events and there is such a strong community spirit that shows through," Ahlers said.
"The annual fundraising appeal is really important to us at this time of the year because we are ramping up for our busiest time of year. In fact, this year is already shaping up to be our busiest on record and we know the summer period with the influx of holiday makers will mean demand for our choppers will be higher than ever."
He said the service appreciated the generosity of Northlanders and they would not be able to do without the additional support and the backing of our many long-term sponsors, Northpower, Top Energy and the Northland Regional Council.
Northpower and Top Energy have sponsored the service since it launched back in 1988 and will again match public donations dollar for dollar up to $150,000.
The Northland Rescue Chopper service is now home to two state of the art air ambulances, one of the largest aviation projects ever undertaken in Northland.
"We have significantly updated our fleet and have advanced avionics at hand and the highest levels of safety. Again we are looking forward to getting out there in the community over the next couple of months and saying thanks to the people of Northland for their ongoing support," Ahlers said.
Meanwhile, the latest children's book Cheeky Charlie to the Rescue based around the Northland Rescue Helicopter crews was launched yesterday at Springbank School in Kerikeri.
The book follows the service's new chopper, Charlie, on his first day on the job when an unexpected rescue call comes in. The new helicopter will be operational later this year and is one of two new choppers joining the service's fleet.
Fans of the story book series will recognise brother and sister duo Ollie and Tia from previous books. No strangers to getting themselves into trouble, this time they encounter a friendly stingray who goes by the name of Tipene while out exploring the mighty Mangawhai on an old tyre tube.
All proceeds from the sale of the books go to the Northland Rescue Helicopter which is operated by Northland Emergency Services Trust.