Every step contributes to Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service

LONG WALK: This year's Stockton to Birubi beach walk. Picture: Josh Killen Photography

LONG WALK: This year's Stockton to Birubi beach walk. Picture: Josh Killen Photography

WESTPAC Rescue Helicopter Service has attended more than 80 missions in and around Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in recent months.

In May and April, the service attended 85 missions. Of these, 41 were to the scene of motor vehicle, farming and water accidents.

Forty-two were secondary response where the pilots, crew and paramedics transferred the patient to specialist medical treatment, and the remaining two were search and rescue missions.

These missions were funded by the local community and the NSW Government, which ensures no patient has had to pay for the service.

In the local community there are many fund-raising events each year. One of these is the Stockton to Birubi beach walk.

Karen and Scott Cooper have organised the 32-kilometre trek for the past six years.

The couple combined a challenge with a love of the outdoors and a strong community spirit to start the trek.

It has grown into a highly anticipated annual event, which has raised almost $200,000.

This year, more than 30 people undertook the seven-hour walk.

Mrs Cooper said the event had given the couple a great deal of satisfaction.

"When we started we only knew of the helicopter service when it flew over our home. We've now built up a great relationship with the staff at the service and are proud to do our little bit," she said.

"On both a personal and a business level the beach walk has been a great experience. We will be hitting the beach again next year."

The Coopers are franchisees of Caltex Maryland and this year received the support of Caltex Australia and 13 local franchises through sponsorship, advertising and raffles.

Mrs Cooper said the event would not happen without the support of local people and businesses.

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