CROWD FUNDING: A scene from last year’s Ballina to Byron Bay Charity Walk.
CROWD FUNDING: A scene from last year’s Ballina to Byron Bay Charity Walk. Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter

If you go down to the wall...

IF YOU normally take a stroll along the Ballina Wall of a morning, you might want to keep an eye out for the 1250 entrants who will be cruising along there on Sunday morning as they take part in the 2013 Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter charity walk.

Fundraising manager Zeke Huish said the numbers had more than doubled since the inaugural event in 2012.

"We always hoped the walk would capture the community's imagination but we have been blown away by the response," Mr Huish said.

"The coastal route is obviously an attraction, passing along the beautiful coastline and going past the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse."

"However the fundraising efforts of teams show just how much the community supports their local helicopter service."

"We expect to raise $80,000 from the event this year which will go directly towards helping us to save lives in our region."

Although the start will be staggered, there will be a large number of people streaming along the route to Shelly Beach, Lennox Head, Boulder Beach and Byron Bay. Event co-ordinator, Kellie Pinkerton, said the start area at Missingham Park would be very busy from 5.30am onwards as participants assembled for the start at 7am.

"Residents can expect a lot of activity until 8am when all walkers should have cleared the start," Ms Pinkerton said.

"Participants have been advised that Missingham Park is a drop-off point only and they should park in Bentinck and Owen Sts."

Mr Huish said people were welcome to join in the fun and meet the walkers at two of the finishing points.

"Our finish lines will be a hub of activity with food and face painting at the Lennox Head Surf Club and the finish line near the Byron Bay Surf Club will also have a jumping castle and the helicopter simulator van," he said. "We expect participants to arrive in Lennox Head from 9am, Broken Head from midday and Byron Bay from 3pm. Activities will take place from 11am-5pm in Byron Bay."

About the helicopter service

  • Started in 1982 in Ballina and has since flown over 7000 missions
  • The service has two aircraft based in Lismore that fly 6-7 missions per week
  • Its annual operating budget is $6.5m. Nearly 70% of that is donated by the community and corporate sector