My husband and I are what are called Red Angels – this means that we give a regular contribution to the Life Flight Trust. Many years ago my husband and I were members of the emergency response unit. This was a Civil Defence rescue team and as part of our training we did some work with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the Life Flight trust. These people are called out to help people that need air ambulance help immediately.
Here is the History and how the Life Flight Trust came about
Belief in a better way
In 1929 a boy was born next to the runway in Wellington, his name was Peter Button. He grew up watching planes and helping out at the local fire station. From that runway, Peter’s passion for flying became a vision for a better way for New Zealand.
The Wahine disaster
Peter’s house shook as Cyclone Giselle, one of the worst storms to ever hit New Zealand, reached Wellington in 1968. He heard the cyclone had caused the inter-island ferry Wahine to come aground in Wellington Harbour so he rushed to the beach to help.
As 51 people drowned in sight of shore Peter realised a helicopter would have been able to rescue people from the sea. On that beach he famously said the words that founded Life Flight, “There has to be a better way.”
History in the making
Despite challenging bureaucracy and lack of funding Peter learned to fly and created a rescue helicopter service. He made history and eventually his work culminated in the launch of The Life Flight Trust. The Trust’s operations and equipment set records and lead the way in air rescue work in New Zealand and around the world.
Peter Button became a household name and a local hero. In 1982 his work was recognised with an OBE and he also received a Queen’s Gallantry Medal for bravery in 1987.
In 1987 Peter was flying the Westpac Rescue Helicopter on a police mission when the machine hit power lines. The crash was fatal for all those onboard.
Thousands lined the streets of Wellington for the memorial service and a cortege of helicopters flew overhead to honour the loss of one of New Zealand’s heroes.
The Governor General, Sir Peter Reeves, became patron of The Life Flight Trust and a public appeal was launched in Peter’s memory. Donations poured in to continue his vision.
The dream is realised
Peter Button’s incredible vision of a 24/7 dedicated emergency air service has gone on to save more than 22,000 lives around New Zealand. Through the support of the community, Life Flight has become the organisation one pioneering New Zealander dreamed of.
Find out how you can help continue Peter Button’s life-saving dream.
As you can see this plays a big part in the life of Wellingtonians.
This is something I would love to be able to give more time as well as finance to, and am looking forward to being able to in the future.
If you have a charity, passion you want to spend more time on why don’t you join me by clicking the banner in the middle of this article or contacting me on Facebook or Twitter so we can work together on making the world a better place.