War survivor gives back

Luke Parker
War survivor gives back

Holocaust survivor Tina van der Velden is a lifetime supporter of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

The grandmother-of-8 visits the Westpac Hornby Branch every fortnight following the payment of her superannuation, to make a donation of $100 to the Chopper fund. The team says she has been coming in for as long as they can remember.

Born in the Netherlands in 1939, Tina is part Jewish but managed to avoid persecution during WWII.

SEE ALSO: Chopper saves crushed quad victim

She said due to the brutal conditions of the war, her family would regularly starve and experienced what Tina said was called the starvation winter.

“I was barely alive and only just made it through. We were starving and hungry a lot of the time.”

As the war came to a close, Tina can still remember the day when Allied planes flew over and dropping food parcels.

“They were dropped in big tins,” she says. “I remember feeling so lucky and grateful that I was alive.”

She made a decision after the war to give to good causes out of gratitude for the rest of her life, and the life-saving rescue helicopters are just one beneficiary of her generosity.

Becoming a blood donor and giving over 60 blood donations is one of the other ways Tina has decided to give back.

The eighty-something-year-old says it’s the fact that no matter what race, religion, or colour you are, the rescue helicopters and there to serve the community and help those in need.

“They do a fantastic job and I will continue to support them.”

2015 Westpac Chopper Appeal:

More than 5,900 rescue missions were undertaken by local rescue helicopters around New Zealand last year

Running throughout May, the 2015 Westpac Chopper Appeal is supported by a variety of fundraising activities in schools and community centres, as well as a nationwide street appeal on Friday May 1st

Westpac funds the marketing and administration costs of the Appeal, and distributes 100% of funds raised back to the local rescue helicopter trust.

The Appeal aims to raise funds and continued awareness for the 12 charitable rescue helicopter trusts operating around the country with all donations going back to the region they are collected from.

Donations for the 2015 Westpac Chopper Appeal can be made:

SEE ALSO: Chopper saves crushed quad victim

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