Scone’s Bush Poets’ Breakfast Helps To Save Lives


Scone’s Literary Festival celebrated a spectacular close to their three-day festival, raising $3000 for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter through their Bush Poets’ Breakfast hosted at the Scone Arts and Crafts Centre.

“Each year one of the components of the three-day festival is the Bush Poets’ Breakfast and as a festival committee we decide the community group we’d like to support and have those funds raised from the Poets Breakfast to go towards,” President of Scone Literary Festival Sally O’Regan told The Hunter River Times.

“It’s important for us that we contribute to an organisation that is really significant in our own area and we decided that the Westpac Rescue Helicopter is a fundamental part of our landscape and is used much more than you would hope, so it’s very important to all parts of our community,” Sally said.

The Bush Poets’ Breakfast not only showcased local and visiting bush poets but also blended in local identities sharing their own journey with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter including the story of David Gatwood, a member of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter’s Regional Advisory Committee, who was assisted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter over the 2021 October long weekend when he hit a cattle grid while cycling, fracturing his back.

“I was privileged to be asked along and share a bit of my story with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, which I think is important because whilst it’s very raw for me, it’s also a way of communicating that message as to how many people have been helped by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, whether it be someone they know or a family member, showing you how critical a service it is,” David said.

“We’re so fortunate here in Scone because we can call on Tamworth, Belmont or Lismore, if need be, which are the three bases where the choppers are stationed, and they never sleep. It’s 365 days a year and the frequency of those people needing assistance in the Upper Hunter, they’re big numbers and it really sends a very strong message to say that without it, people like me would’ve had a very different outcome and it’s so important to me through the likes of the Literary Festival to give back.”

The Poet’s Breakfast also took the chance to show their gratitude to the Upper Hunter’s frontline workers.

“One of the unique things about our Bush Poet’s Breakfast this year is that we also celebrated all frontline workers and they were all invited and attended for free, so the twofold of it was to not only acknowledge and raise funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and celebrate a love of words through poetry, but also to acknowledge all of our frontline workers and thank them and their families for everything they do, in order to keep that process and system rolling on and enabling us to be as safe as we can,” Sally said.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter’s Danny Eather accepted the donation from the Scone Literary Festival, reaffirming the service’s gratitude for the community’s support.

“The support that we get from the Upper Hunter is just incredible. It brings it back home why the helicopter service ultimately is there for the community and that’s because the community support it,” Danny said.

“On average, we’re flying to the Upper Hunter six to seven times a month and it’s all too often, so we’re very lucky and thankful that community organisations and events choose to put something on and allow us to be the beneficiary. We’re very lucky to have that support and are thankful to the Scone Literary Festival for their efforts.”