Off-road drive set to raise much-needed funds for LandSAR

Off road . . . Chris Birchall and Amy Francis are excited to be holding a 4WD adventure to raise funds for North Otago Land Search and Rescue.

An off-road adventure for the whole family that will also benefit a volunteer organisation is gaining traction in Oamaru.

North Otago Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) is holding a 4WD adventure to help raise funds for the organisation next weekend.

Donations and fundraising were a big part of allowing it to help the community, but Covid-19 had impacted the ability to raise money, field member Chris Birchall said.

‘‘We haven’t been able to really do any fundraising for the last couple of years, but we’ve still had to go out and do searches and still had to do training and everything else.

‘‘So, the money has been going out without anything really coming in.’’

LandSAR assisted police in a variety of areas, including searches, and rescuing injured and trapped people. It was a valuable service that saved lives, Mr Birchall said.

‘‘When we’re needed, we are seriously needed.

‘‘We save lives and we get people home back to their families.’’

The organisation was made up of more than 25 volunteers, often on call 24/7, incident management team volunteer Amy Francis said. Being a typically outdoor service, much of the equipment needed to be replaced regularly.

The ‘‘adventure’’ was an offroad drive, open to anyone with a 4WD vehicle. It started at Te Akatarawa Station, travelled through Black Forest Station, and ended at Haldon Station.

It would be an exciting event not many would have experienced, Mrs Francis said.

‘‘It’s land that people don’t usually get to access, it’s private property.

‘‘The farmers are very kindly letting us access it and bring people through.’’

They expected the journey to be filled with picturesque scenery, Mr Birchall said.

‘‘I’ve been told by so many people the views are stunning, like, bring a camera.’’

Mrs Francis said they planned to hold a ‘‘more advanced’’ adventure in the future. Registrations for the 4WD adventure would remain open right up until the day of the event.