CLARENCE Valley Anglican School student Ethan McDonough knows first-hand how important the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is.

Four weeks ago his "pop" was transported by the service in a critical condition, and today the grateful Year 6 student got to thank the pilots in person for helping to save his grandfather's life.

The helicopter landed on the CVAS oval as part of Rescue Day, the service's annual appeal day, to give the school's lucky students a close look at the chopper which has transported thousands of people in their time of need.

It was an opportunity they relished, said CVAS teacher Tanya Huish, and was combined with a gold-coin mufti day fundraising barbecue and I-Scream stall.

"It's a cause most of the kids are quite passionate about.. that's why we choose to do the fundraiser," she said.

Further afield, Rescue Day volunteers were out in force across the Clarence Valley with their donation buckets and merchandise tables.

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter local committee member and volunteer Anne Messer, who was this morning stationed out the front of Toast Espresso in Grafton, said the response from the public had been great.

"I think because it's such a worthy charity for the area, and it needs to be supported," she said.

"The good thing about money raised here is that it stays local, it goes to our Lismore base which covers this area."

Ms Messer has supported the service as a volunteer for 23 years, and in that time has known several people who have had to use it.

"Whether it's an accident or whether it's actually been a hospital transfer, it's such an important service and if we don't raise money and volunteer, then it doesn't fly."

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter fundraising manager Zeke Huish said the major appeal was great in that it was a chance to give back to the community while at the same time receiving support.

"Rescue Day is the celebration of the service being able to help in times of need for hundreds of patients each year," he said.



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