Penshurst RSL helps sick kids thanks to Little Wings charity grant

Helping hand: Little Wings chief executive Clare Pearson (centre) with Penshurst RSL's president John Hoban (left) and chief executive Chris Hendley (right). Picture: Supplied
Helping hand: Little Wings chief executive Clare Pearson (centre) with Penshurst RSL's president John Hoban (left) and chief executive Chris Hendley (right). Picture: Supplied

A charity that provides free air and ground transport so seriously ill children in regional and rural NSW can access specialist treatment in Sydney has received a much-needed boost from Penshurst RSL.

Little Wings is based at Bankstown Aerodrome and provides transport so children can access life-saving treatment, not available in their hometowns, from Sydney Children's Hospital network.

Despite a major drop in turnover due to the COVID pandemic, Penshurst RSL recently provided a grant worth $2000 to Little Wings so it could continue its work.

The club has donated a total of $20,700 to the charity over the past five years.

Little Wings chief executive Clare Pearson said the charity had lost almost all funding as a result of the COVID pandemic.

"COVID has had a significant impact on Little Wings, seeing all funding cease in March," she said.

"However, with time we have seen partners give what they can, when they can."

With each flight for four people costing about $1500, Penshurst RSL's recent donation sponsored a flight home for a little boy named Ollie, after 12 months' treatment at Westmead Children's Hospital.

Olllie was just eight months old when he suffered serious burns to his hand and fingers after coming into contact with a humidifier.

After being told he would need ongoing treatment at Westmead Children's Hospital, his mum Emily started making the 11-hour round trip by road, putting a strain on the family and her employment.

The family was referred to Little Wings, and the long car trips were replaced with flights to and from Westmead, where Ollie underwent regular intensive treatments and therapies to help heal, strengthen and rebuild function in his hand.

Penshurst RSL's donations have sponsored the equivalent of 14 flights.

"We at Little Wings are so grateful for the incredible support of Penshurst RSL," Ms Pearson said. "It is this very partnership that has enabled us to continue the commitment to families and provide meaningful support in the darkest and most uncertain times."