Pupils pull together to support wildlife and reforestation expedition

A group of 12 children from Robert Gordon’s College pulled a 8.6 tonne helicopter 25 metres to raise money for a wildlife and reforestation expedition in Borneo during Summer 2020.

The S3-S4 pupils used a 110ft single long-line sling – ordinarily used for offshore search and rescue operations, to pull the aircraft tug-of-war style. The helicopter, a Leonardo AW189, has just arrived in Aberdeen and is the fourth AW189 in CHC’s global fleet. The aircraft will take to the skies later this month in Aberdeen.

Emelia (S3) said: “The cost of the expedition is £4,000 per person and Camp International insist that individuals take charge of their own fundraising; this is not a holiday paid for by parents. It is a team effort, so any money raised will be shared equally and will allow them to travel together to help do some good. It is great that CHC are willing to support this, and help the next generation be good world citizens. I think that this generation of young people is the most ecologically responsible ever, and any support we can give them will be absolutely brilliant.”The aim of the project is to travel deep into the remaining jungle (of which more than 50% has been lost in the last 30 years) to collect seeds under the supervision of local wildlife experts to help replant the rainforest. This will benefit both the local people and the incredible wildlife on the island. The Borneo rainforest is one of the most important natural habitats on Earth, but is under threat from both the logging and palm oil industries and desperately needs help."

Mrs Porteous shared: "What an amazing feeling when the helicopter started moving - for a moment we weren’t sure if we were going to be strong enough. It was very surreal turning around and seeing that we were actually making progress down the strip, and it was definitely hard work. It was a fun and unusual team building and fundraising experience and great to see what we could achieve when we worked together."

CHC’s Captain Maxine Ackerley and mother of one of the participants explained: “The children are travelling to Borneo next summer with Camps International as part of a larger team from Robert Gordon’s College. The four-week expedition will see the children participate in four different projects including reforestation and building a local facility such as a well or school. The money raised will help support their project placement as well as budget for materials etc in Borneo.”

Mark Abbey, CHC’s Regional Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa said: “We have been delighted to be able to support this fundraising initiative. CHC works hard to play an active role in the communities in which it works raising money for local charities, offering visits to schools and supporting community activities."