18 May 2023

'Because I can' – Marine Rescue Shellharbour donation takes Scooter's fundraising tally to $60,000

| Katrina Condie
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Two men shaking hands

Shellharbour Unit Commander Rick O’Connor thanks Scooter Dave for his donation. Photo: MR NSW.

It took Scooter Dave about six months to collect the 50,000 bottles and cans needed to make a $5000 donation to the Marine Rescue Shellharbour Unit.

Dave Williamson, also known as Scooter Dave, has been battling a respiratory illness over the past six weeks, but that didn’t stop him from venturing out on his scooter to collect bottles and cans from community contributors and discarded items left near and around the Windang Bridge.

MR Shellharbour Unit Commander Rick O’Connor has long followed Scooter Dave’s work in the community and made him an honorary member of the Shellharbour unit because of his generosity to the service.

“We’d like to thank him for his donation. It’s greatly appreciated and will go a long way to serving our community further,” he said.

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“He’s always welcome down here at Marine Rescue Shellharbour and, as an honorary member, we hope to see him around all the time.”

Having raised more than $60,000 for organisations and Illawarra community groups over the past six years, Scooter Dave said he was pleased to support the MR volunteers.

“It’s because of what Marine Rescue does,” he said.

“If people break down in their boats, they go out and they help them and bring them back in and make sure they get back home safely.

“They’ve got to have all the people to do the Marine Rescue, they’re volunteers most of them, and they’ve got to have people to help them out, their fuel and all the different things that they need the money for, so I think it’s a good cause to be able to donate to.”

Group of men

Scooter Dave was made an honorary member of the Marine Rescue Shellharbour Unit. Photo: MR NSW.

A day after handing over his bottle and can-collecting proceeds to the unit, Scooter Dave suffered a medical episode while cleaning his home on Sunday, 14 May, and was transported to Wollongong Hospital for treatment. He spent the night in care and has been discharged but requires ongoing treatment.

Marine Rescue NSW Illawarra Zone Duty Operations Manager Stuart Massey said the donation would help the Shellharbour unit immensely.

“It’s fuel in the tank, it’s putting lights on, it’s keeping our operation going so we can go out there and help members of the public when they’re in distress on the water,” he said.

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Marine Rescue NSW is financially supported by the NSW Government, but also relies on fundraising to assist with operating costs at its 46 units across the state.

“Each of the Marine Rescue units does fundraising and that fundraising is very important to help us do what we do, to go out there and help the boating community of NSW,” Mr Massey said.

“It’s really important if members of the public can get behind us to help ease that burden that we currently have.”

Scooter Dave says he will continue to support the community and plans to make a cash donation to another organisation at the end of the year.

“I’m often asked why I do it,” he said.

“The answer is simple: because I can.”

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