Raymond Terrace: Irrawang High School students take on Westpac Rescue Helicopter challenge

CYCLIST: Kolby Mason, 16, from Raymond Terrace, with some school friends is helping to raise money for the rescue helicopter service.
CYCLIST: Kolby Mason, 16, from Raymond Terrace, with some school friends is helping to raise money for the rescue helicopter service.

It started with an idea from Raymond Terrace teen Kolby Mason as a means of keeping active during the COVID lockdown and has ballooned into a significant fundraiser involving no less than eight students and a teacher.

Flicking through her Facebook account earlier this month, Kolby's mum Belinda came across the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service 'Base to Base' Fitness Challenge and suggested it to her son Mason, a Year 11 student at Irrawang High School.

"I thought it might be a good way to stay active and an extra incentive to keep fit through the lockdown so I posted it on our class chat," the Raymond Terrace student said.

"I suggested that we get a group together as a common goal as some of [the students] had commented how they were finding it hard to get out."

Within the first week Kolby had five students - Georgia Stone, Wyatt Graham, Kai Shaw, Crystal Lean and Keira O'Brien - and teacher Damien Hurley prepared for the challenge.

Since then another three students have come on board - Nicholas Knezevic, Cohen Pressley and Jye Hampton.

The challenge set up by the helicopter service involves walking, running or cycling during the month of October the distances between any of the four Westpac Helicopter bases across Northern NSW: Belmont-Tamworth-Lismore-Broadmeadow- Belmont, a total loop of 1386kms.

For the Year 11 Irrawang High School group, they plan to achieve their distances at school, at their jobs and on bike rides where and whenever they are able. Distances via steps would be tallied each day.

In the first week the group had covered in excess of 400km and raised close to their $800 target.

Kolby said he enjoys both walking and cycling.

"Just yesterday I rode my bike to Medowie and back," he said.

He believes that the challenge has already made a difference among the participants.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is equipped to conduct and assist with land and marine based search and rescue operations 24/7 in all types of conditions, and rely on community funding.

"Irrawang High School is proud to have so many students willing to support wonderful causes," said a school spokesperson.

To show your support for the students competing in the challenge for this valuable charity, head to events.rescuehelicopter.com.au.

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