WESTPAC Life Saver Rescue Helicopter today celebrated its 30 year anniversary in the Northern Rivers with a special celebration at its Lismore helibase.
The ceremony was marked by a donation of $50,000 from major sponsor, Westpac, and the unveiling of a large mural symbolising the community's support of the service.
Since its humble beginnings in 1982, the helicopter rescue service has become an important aero-medical service on call 24/7 across a 40,000sq km area in Northern NSW.
The service passed 7000 missions earlier this year and now averages 320 missions per year - almost one a day.
The ceremony was delayed by one such mission earlier this morning in which the helicopter attended the near-drowning of a toddler in a Coffs Harbour pool.
NSW Minister for the North Coast Don Page unveiled a commemorative plaque and reflected on how people are always telling him how much they value the helicopter.
"People call it 'our helicopter'," Mr Page said. "When we hear it fly over we spare a thought for the people involved."
"I join Westpac in offering my congratulations to the helicopter service for delivering 30 years of lifesaving service to our community. This is a wonderful tribute to the pilots, crew, engineers, and all who work at the helicopter service, including the hundreds of volunteers."