Many people are aware that the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service plays a vital role in communities throughout NSW – countless lives have been saved because of the skill and dedication of the rescue service’s crew. What people may not be aware of is the fact that there’s a hardworking local support group raising funds for the service. Bruce Cant, Chairman of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Hastings Support Group fills us in …
Bruce, what’s your position with the support group, and how long have you been involved?
My position is Chairman. I have been involved since the Hastings Support Group formed in 2005. I was elected Chairman in 2006 and currently still hold that position.
Why did you decide to become involved with the group?
The original meeting of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Hastings Support Group was called in Wauchope back in August 2005 by Head Office in Newcastle, with a view to forming a fundraising group in this area – due to a group in Port Macquarie folding up because of lack of support.
As I am always interested in community affairs, I attended this meeting and after listening to the Co-ordinator speak, I realised this was a very worthy cause.
Some twelve months after our group was formed, tragedy struck my family, involving our son-in-law. The rescue helicopter attended the scene and although he could not be saved, two of the team remained with him through the night until the mission could be completed the following day. After witnessing this commitment and dedication of the service, it gave me and my wife Shirley more incentive to keep the group going.
What is the aim of the group?
The main aim of our volunteers is helping to increase awareness of the role of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, as well as raising much needed funds for the maintenance and operation of our rescue helicopters.
Apart from all the fun you will have and the interesting people you meet, most importantly you are ensuring that the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service continues to save lives and provide free service to anyone who is unfortunate enough to need the service.
Since my involvement, I have spoken with several people who have had firsthand experience, and they all can’t speak highly enough of the service.
When, where and how often does the group meet?
The group meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Wauchope RSL Club at 6pm.
What is the best way to contact the group?
Anyone wishing to contact the group with ideas, donations or becoming a member may do so by contacting Bruce Cant, Chairman 6585 1393 or Chris Cavanagh, Secretary 6585 1393, or email
This story was published in issue 77 of Port Macquarie Focus