The first nationally-coordinated National Air Ambulance Week (NAAW) has proved an excellent focal point for charities to raise awareness and boost their fundraising. With media coverage across many outlets, including the Sun, local press and radio, and local televisions news, as well as invaluable support from Sir David Jason, we hope this week will make many more people aware of the work of air ambulances.
One high profile supporter is sportscar racer, Fergus Walkinshaw. He races in the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup.
During the rounds at Rockingham race circuit on 22 and 23
September, he did his bit to raise awareness by having stickers on his car and mentioning NAAW repeatedly during interviews on ITV4, which was covering the racing. Fergus commented:
“I am honoured to become a Motorsport Advocate for the
Association of Air Ambulances. The services provided by the
charities across England are of paramount importance while of course sports such as motor racing rely on their specialist trauma support.”.
The Essex Air Ambulance helicopter took part in ‘Go Yellow’, a week-long NAAW event, while its sister Herts Air Ambulance enjoyed a ‘Go Red’ week. Local businesses and members of thepublic were encouraged to adopt the colour by having themed displays, wearing the colour for the day, holding themed events such as a yellow cake sale or red themed quiz. This colourful idea comes hot on the heels of the thirteenth annual Essex Air Ambulance Motorcycle Run, which saw 4,000 bikers turn out in support of the air ambulance. The event was a huge success, so far raising over £28,000.
Devon Air Ambulance ran a ‘Be a Hero’ event in its charity
offices and shops – and some local schools too - on the
Monday, as well as a number of other events throughout the
week. Be a Hero day saw volunteers and staff dressing up in a range of extraordinary outfits.
On a similar theme, Thames Valley and Chiltern Air
Ambulance called on all local businesses, schools, colleges and communities to dress up as a Super Hero for the day and help keep their Super Hero, Air Ambulance BOB, in the air. People were invited to be Superman, Spiderman, Batman and Robin, a Soldier or even a Super Hero Paramedic.
Somerset-born Formula One star Jenson Button has been a
Vice-Patron of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance since
its formation in March 2000 and was right behind NAAW. He
said: “I was born in Frome, Somerset, a rural part of the county serviced by the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and I regularly saw first-hand its importance to the local community. Many of my family and friends still reside within the two counties and it is reassuring to know that they are in safe hands. “Coming from the fast and dangerous sport of Formula 1 Motor Racing, I understand the importance of having a highly skilled and dedicated team behind you and the crew of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance certainly match these criteria.”
East Anglian Air Ambulance ran a Come Dine With me style
fundraiser with its Come EAAA-T With Me initiative. People
have been asked to run Come EAAA-T With Me dinner parties where guests donate to the charity the amount they would have paid for the meal if they’d been served the same in a restaurant. It’s proved a great idea, with people loving the idea of enjoying a delicious meal while raising money for the air ambulance.
In London, they spent NAAW in front of the National Gallery,
running a week of entertainment and fundraising complete
with medical demonstrations on dummies and artistic
performances. The Friday saw Trafalgar Square becoming the platform to launch a new initiative - ‘Wear Red Day’,
encouraging all Londoners to wear the colour in support of the air ambulance. Enthusiastic crowds braved some very mixed weather to watch and join in throughout the week.
The above stories are just a number of examples of the many activities the air ambulance charities organised through National Air Ambulance Week, please visit their web sites from the links to the right.