New children’s book brings rescue helicopters to life

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service (WRHS) has launched a new children’s book, Mildred Makes a Difference, to help raise funds for the community-owned service and teach children about the lifesaving work of the helicopters and their crews. 

Aimed at preschool and primary school aged children, the story takes readers on a lifesaving rescue mission with helicopter Mildred as she heads for the skies to save an injured child lost in the bush. 

WRHS community liaison officer Kylie Morris said Mildred and Friends is the first in a series of four books and was already proving popular with children of all ages at school book readings across regional NSW.

“The feedback we’ve received from school principals, teachers and parents has been fantastic. Many children have a keen interest in emergency services, so they really enjoy seeing our helicopter character, Mildred, come to life,” Mrs Morris said.

“It’s also an opportunity for us to let families know that the rescue helicopter is owned by all of us, and that by purchasing a book, attending an event or making a donation, they are helping to keep the helicopters flying in their community.” 

Mrs Morris said all proceeds go to the WHRS to help ensure the organisation can continue to provide vital services to the community for free. 

Nikki Lee reading Mildred Makes a Difference at Glen Innes Public School.

Nikki Lee reading Mildred Makes a Difference at Glen Innes Public School.

“By purchasing a copy of the book for only $10, you are directly helping us to transport sick people to hospital, fly in to help people in accidents, and search for missing people in the bush and at sea.”

The book was cowritten by one of the service’s employees, community liaison Officer Mick Wilson, and his wife, primary school teacher Mel Wilson of Calrossy Anglican School, who have volunteered their time to get the book project off the ground. The illustrations were designed by Mic Rees.

Michelle Newman, whose six-year-old son Thomas was transported by the helicopter service when he was a baby, said it was wonderful to see her son reading about the service that helped save his life. 

“It’s such a great fundraising initiative because it allows the children to make a real connection with the service in a fun way. I’ve bought copies to give as gifts to Thomas’ friends because I want as many people as possible to know how important it is to support this service,” Mrs Newman said.  

The books introduce children to all the people, equipment and training required to provide a world-class emergency rescue service, and include a tribute to Mildred Scanes of Nelson Bay who left a generous bequest in 1994. 

With three other books planned for release, children will have the opportunity to meet Betty the Bell412 from the Newcastle base, Barry the BK from Tamworth and a brand new helicopter, Gus the Augusta AW139, who will be joining the service in 2017. 

Books can be ordered online at and you can follow Mildred’s adventures at

Schools interested in organising a book reading can contact

Sean Maher at a preschool reading of Mildred Makes a Difference.

Sean Maher at a preschool reading of Mildred Makes a Difference.

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