Last year, the proceeds from our annual sportive were set aside for Air Ambulance NI. With AANI being an incredibly busy charity, it took a little bit of organising to find a suitable date, but finally it was arranged that Saturday 25 January would be the cheque handover, with a visit to their base at the Maze.
Air Ambulance NI, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services for the region. The charity’s operational helicopter carries a crew of pilot, doctor and paramedic 365 days of the year. They attend some of the most traumatic medical incidents across the province and are dedicated to delivering the very best pre-hospital care, both at the scene and whilst transferring the patient to hospital. Their EC135 helicopter can be basically anywhere in the province in under half an hour. This rapid response is vital in an emergency, as if a patient reaches hospital within the ‘Golden Hour’ their chances of survival are dramatically increased.
Our cheque handover took the form of our regular Saturday morning club run, but with an extra push to get a good number out. We even had the usual mile munchers out beforehand, who had already finished a quick coffee before the rest of the group met at the tearooms in Scarva. Of course, Davy wasn’t going to let the opportunity for a quick selfie pass him by, before the group made a move.
A tailwind ushered the peloton along at a steady pace, however a greasy roundabout in Dollingstown resulted in 4 men hitting the deck. Thankfully nobody was seriously injured, but at the same time the incident served as a stark reminder of how quickly circumstances can change and how anyone could require the assistance of the air ambulance, or other emergency services, at a moment’s notice.
This delay meant that the guys needed to get their heads down ‘team time trial style’ to make it to the Maze before the air ambulance took off! With minutes to spare, the group arrived to witness the Air Ambulance doing it’s thing. A welcomed coffee break and photo opportunity followed, as well as presentation from the AANI staff on the services they provide.
A hilly and windy spin back to Scarva drew to a close an eventful Saturday morning, but great to see a good squad out and even ‘Richie Pork’ made an appearance!
Please remember that AANI is a charity. Each day costs in the region of £5,500 and £2m is need each year to keep the air ambulance service operational. They rely entirely on support from the public and local businesses. To learn more about Air Ambulance NI, or to find out how you can support them, please visit their website: