CATTLE buyers and sellers yesterday gathered in the rain to raise money the best way they know how for the New England and North West Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
Two steers were sold off as part of the regular Friday Tamworth Selling Agents Association cattle sale and the second annual charity sale, with proceeds going to the service.
While a total figure won’t be known until about the end of next week, organisers hope it will be more than last year’s inaugural $10,000 amount.
Westpac head of agribusiness Susan Bower was in town to mark the occasion and support the sale of local cattle which helps fund the highly skilled paramedics, medical staff, pilots, air and rescue crew members.
Ms Bower said yesterday’s auction was a true reflection of the service provided by the choppers, with the region’s farmers pulling together to support it.
“Because of the New England and North West’s remoteness, farmers and community members pull together in the good and bad times,” she said.
“For us, helping to bring the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service to rural, regional and remote communities is part of our commitment to champion the things that matter in the regions we are part of.”
She said landholders had done it tough in the past decade’s drought but were finally starting to see “light at the end of the tunnel”.
“They’re starting to see confidence back in the market – they’re now looking at ways to maintain and expand their businesses,” Ms Bower said.
“It shows the resilience of agriculture.”
She said the sale was just one of the several generous programs local farmers took part in to raise money for the service.
The fundraiser is an initiative of Anne Legge, of the Bingara Support Group, who last year tagged two steers, called Westpac and Rescue, and helped raise $10,000.
A series of smaller sales will be held across the region this year, including a fundraiser at Gunnedah on March 14.
Other sales will be held at Armidale, Narrabri, Maitland and Scone.