Couples looking for help from people from the wedding industry, such as a Hunter Valley wedding planner, were in luck recently, as the Hunter Region Bridal Expo was held at the Maitland City Bowling Club last May 28.
The expo was a one-day event, lasting from 10am to 2pm, and was filled with more than 50 exhibitors from the wedding industry, such as drivers, suit makers, florists, fashion designers, with the occasional Hunter Valley wedding planner.
The event was conceptualized, held and managed by volunteers from the Westpac Helicopter Maitland Support Group, who decided to hold the expo in order to fund the life-saving service, which has been running since 1975 after it was created by the Newcastle branch of the Surf Life Australia group. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is a volunteer-based aeromedical operation that primarily works across the Mid Northern Regions such as Hunter Valley and Central Coast.
The exhibitors for the Hunter Region Bridal Expo paid $225 for a space in the expo, whilst visitors were charged $5 for entry into the event. All of that money then went to the Maitland Support Groups’ charity, and will help fund the continuation of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Group.
The Maitland Support Group branch has had issues with staffing recently, the group has been running low on volunteers, and, as such, have been facing issues with raising money for continued operations. Other support branches across the region have faced similar issues in attracting new volunteers. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter group, having been built upon volunteer efforts, have encouraged people who want to help their community volunteer and help the charity.
Maitland Support Group chairperson Margaret Kirkwood, stated that the Westpac Rescue Helicopter is something that is acknowledged by the community, as a positive agent for change.
The charity has over 1000 volunteers across 37 support groups, who handle work related to ensuring funding is raised for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, such as event organization, marketing and administration efforts. These endeavours help ensure that the service remains as a non-profit operation, airlifting people in need for free.