Get this; the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) relies 100% on charitable donations! I had no idea and was frankly stunned when I found out. From what I understand for those of you not in the GNAAS service area the same applies to your air ambulance. I think the Scottish Air Ambulance service receives national funding so kudos to the Scottish Parliament for that*.
Growing up in the heart of the Lake District I have seen the Air Ambulance Service helicopter many times, frequently passing directly over my house on route to Helvellyn. I never envisaged I would be making use of the service at any point and never really thought about its role.
Given the remote areas and narrow roads in much of the North there are few, if any, other alternatives if you have a serious accident. The helicopter reduces the response time - it took 18 minutes to get me from the A66 to Newcastle. Risk of further injury is also reduced, imagine being carried by stretcher off a fell with a spinal injury! It is a service which is genuinely saving lives. Daily.
It should be valued far more than it is, particularly to anyone involved in outdoor pursuits in the region. The people working there, both raising the funds required to run the service and operating the service in the form of paramedics and pilots, are fantastic. I personally owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their help on the day of my accident and for making sure the service is available at all.
While I hope to do some fundraising for them in the not too distant future (it would be rude to not at least cover the cost of my flight) I can't make firm plans until I know more about how my recovering is progressing. In the mean time they NEED your donations so they can be there when you NEED them! You can donate here.
I was lucky (in more than one way) to get to meet the folks from the GNAAS who helped me when I needed it. ITV Border News decided to come along and you can see the footage here.
*bit of an incentive for the North to go with Scotland if they vote for independence perhaps?
Hi, I'm Ali. I like riding bikes and coaching people to achieve their athletic goals. I've been coaching for more than 10 years now and have never failed to make an athlete faster (I can't quite believe this myself either). I used to race bikes, triathlon and in 2014 I broke 9 vertebrae and my skull. Follow my journey here and on Twitter.