SISTERS HONOURED: The amazing work of Mary and Emily Betteridge was honoured yesterday.
SISTERS HONOURED: The amazing work of Mary and Emily Betteridge was honoured yesterday. Alison Paterson

Twins honoured with 'special place' at helicopter base

THERE was laughter and a few tears of happiness when the amazing work of two sisters was formally acknowledged at the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter HQ in Lismore.

On Friday morning Mary Betteridge, 86, was the guest of honour at the formal opening of the Betteridge Gardens named in honour of her and her twin sister Emily, who passed away in October.

Together with Lismore MP Thomas George and the helicopter service's chief executive Richard Jones, OAM, and in front of a crowd of supporters, Mary pulled off a scarlet cloth to reveal the plaque set in a large boulder next to garden beds planted with red and white shrubs and flowers which are the colours of the sisters beloved St George Illawarra Dragon league team.

Mr Jones said the work of Mary and Emily have done since the inception of this service is quite remarkable

"I want to pay tribute to them,” he said.

"We could not think of a better way to signify the twins for their wonderful work.”

Thomas George MP said it was a special moment to have this recognition of Emily and Mary with a garden and plaque dedicated to their contribution.”

Cr Neil Marks said the sisters are an integral part of the Lismore community and he thanked them on behalf of council for their amazing work.

The plaque reads:

THE BETTERIDGE GARDENS. These gardens are planted in honour of the contribution made to the local rescue helicopter service by Mary and Emily Betteridge since its inception.

Thousands of people have benefited from their tireless support and dedication to saving lives in this region.

'The Twins' will always have a special place in the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Story. September 2018.

The twins started raising funds to get a rescue helicopter established in Lismore in 1982 and since then raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mary said her sister would have been thrilled.

"She would have loved to have been here today,” she said.

"We love the helicopters and I always remind people that they might need the service one day.”

After the ceremony a delicious morning tea provided by the Lismore Garden club was served.