TOTTENHAM LIONS HELP THEIR COMMUNITY BUILD AN AIRSTRIP

Totttenham is a small community located in the northern end of the Lachlan Shire and has the unique feature of being the closest village to the geographical centre of NSW.  It is situated on the Bogan Way which links the Newell Highway at Forbes or Parkes to the Mitchell Highway at Nyngan.

This small rural community enjoys a very relaxed lifestyle friendly, supportive residents and a very strong civic pride.

And now following years of effort, air ambulances can land in Tottenham after a community campaign to upgrade the airstrip.

The project manager, Ben Nicholls, says the town received no state or federal funding to help lengthen and seal the airstrip, install lighting and fencing.

He says after three medical planes refused to land in the town during emergencies, including his own heart attack, more than $170,000 was raised for the work.

“We were actually working hard to try and get answers to what we needed to do to get the planes to land, and then I had my heart attack so I was actually there to witness that they wouldn’t, when the phone call was made to get me airlifted out, that they refused to come again,” he said.

“So we had cause to act and work through the system to achieve what we’ve finally achieved now.”

Mr Nicholls says the completion of the project is a testament to the town’s spirit.

New South Wales Governor Marie Bashir officially unveiled the completed strip on 28 April.

“What needs to be recognised by this is what a small community can do if everyone just gets on the one page.

“The strength of the community is its heart, and our little community has plenty of heart, plenty of ticker, and have done what was needed.

“We didn’t get any state or federal funding, there was no money in the pot for any of this so we just went out and did it and have achieved it.”

Tottenham Lions rallied the community with support for the infrastructure needed such as solar lights, fences and tar for the airstrip so the air ambulance can land at any time.  The Project cost around $130,000 with support coming from the Australian Lions Foundation.  But most has come in cash/kind from the community.  This has been a great effort from a very small community.

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