Highlanders flying high this year

Celebrating the Highlanders and Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust 2013 official charity partnership yesterday are (from left) chief pilot Graeme Gale, Highlander Jarrad Hoeata, pilot Glen Kingan, pilot Grant Withers, paramedic Ian Ridley, paramedic Dave Hay, Highlander Aaron Smith, Otago Rescue Helicopter trustee Paul Moodie and Highlanders commercial manager Mike Kerr. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Celebrating the Highlanders and Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust 2013 official charity partnership yesterday are (from left) chief pilot Graeme Gale, Highlander Jarrad Hoeata, pilot Glen Kingan, pilot Grant Withers, paramedic Ian Ridley, paramedic Dave Hay, Highlander Aaron Smith, Otago Rescue Helicopter trustee Paul Moodie and Highlanders commercial manager Mike Kerr. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The Highlanders will be playing with the wind this Super 15 season.

The Highlanders yesterday announced the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust as its 2013 charity partner.

''The decision to work with the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust in a formal way is a significant and positive one for the Highlanders,'' the team's commercial manager, Mike Kerr, said at the announcement yesterday.

''The trust does a remarkable job fundraising for a service that is so important to our community. The service touches all parts of the community from children, to the elderly, to the rural and even the rugby community.''

The Highlanders would help with fundraising and help raise awareness of the trust, Mr Kerr said.

Otago Rescue Helicopter trustee Paul Moodie said the Highlanders were a great fit ''and we welcome the opportunity to work together over the coming season''.

The trust was formed in 1998 to establish and fund a dedicated Otago intensive care rescue helicopter service. It receives an hourly rate to cover helicopter flying costs from ACC for accidents, hospitals for patient transfers and police for search and rescue missions.

However, it cost another $500,000 a year to cover the fixed costs of maintaining the helicopter and having pilots and paramedics on permanent stand-by, Mr Moodie said.

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