Every year the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Service, an integral part of the Hawke's Bay community, relies on the help of the community for donations and support.

The lifesaving service must fundraise $1.3 million every year to ensure it is available, 24/7, 365 days a year, for all of those who need it, free of charge.

Last year money raised by the community meant the specialised and highly trained staff of the helicopter service could respond to about 300 patients who needed vital medical attention.

Many of them were in remote locations unable to be reached any other way.


But rural support has fallen away, says marketing and fundraising manager Beth O'Reilly.

"Unfortunately, the support from those in the rural community has dropped, but our workload has not.

"We are still flying all over Hawke's Bay to those who need help, and costs continue to rise in keeping the service available, so we are going back to our rural community to ask them to consider supporting us."

One of the many lifesaving missions undertaken by the team was the rescue of farmer Robert Pattullo.

The local community leader and trustee of the Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust was rescued when he was gored by a bull on his rural farm and needed emergency help.

The bull overturned his quad bike and continued to ram into him whilst he tried to use the bike as protection.

"Having the bull continue to circle me was very unnerving but I was reassured that having activated my PLB [personal locator beacon] that the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter would be coming to my assistance shortly," Mr Pattullo said.

"I can't thank the crew of the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter enough"

Thankfully the helicopter was able to get to him quickly with intensive care paramedics and took Mr Pattullo to Hawke's Bay Hospital.

The rescue helicopter service is a vital lifeline for many in the rural community of Hawke's Bay. It flies as far south as Porongahau and as far north as Mahia.

"We recently sent out an appeal envelope through the rural delivery system, to all of those in the rural community of Hawke's Bay," the service said.

"We have some wonderful rural supporters who have been donating to us for a long time, but the appeal is to ask people in the rural community who don't support us to consider making a donation to us. No matter what you can afford, big or small, it is hugely helpful in keeping our rescue service available".