Singleton volunteers prepare for tournament


Here’s a trivia question.

How many years of voluntary service have Singleton locals John Adam, Jayne Eather, Judy Smith and Denise Paul combined for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

The answer is 33 years and they have been worth their weight in gold.

All four will be present at this month’s A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Mining Charity Rugby League Day.

After a three-year hiatus, they agree it is the biggest day on the calendar.

“Even if you’re not interested in rugby league there are lots of activities that can entertain the children for hours,” Jayne told The Hunter River Times.

Though Jayne and her son Danny started volunteering in 2008, her connection to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service dates to many years’ earlier.

She recalled when they flew the first chopper in when she started working at the hospital at the age of 17.

“Back then we would pass the bucket around to raise funds, now we have these big fundraising days so a lot has changed.”

Judy Smith already had a strong connection the emergency services when married to the late Errol Smith, a former Singleton and Bulga Rural Fire Service Group Captain Errol Smith.

She has volunteered for nine years.

“He (Errol) asked me to come to an event because they needed some helpers and about six months later he quit and left me there,” she laughed.

“But you make lifelong friends here, I didn’t know Jayne until joining and now I consider her as one of my closest friends.”

John Adam has also volunteered for seven years after a long association with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

“We had been giving as far back as the early 1980s so when I retired I thought, I’d keep going and join this,” he added.

Denise Paul, who has returned from an overseas holiday, found herself in a similar position.

“My husband (Des) was the same, he was a big instigator at the union with the donations at the mine,” she explained.

“He was taken in the helicopter twice so after he passed away (in 2013) I said well this is something that I wanted to help with.”

While all four are now set for this month’s big event, the Singleton region only has nine current volunteers overall.

Jayne says it is time to welcome more to the family.

“You make lifelong friends when you volunteer for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and people just have to realise that you only have to do one event,” Jayne concluded.