Friends do 'a lap of the Lough' for air ambulance charity

A group of cycling enthusiasts from Cookstown have raised much needed cash for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland after their friend required help from the emergency trauma service following a motocross accident.

The team of eight cycling enthusiasts pose for a photo before their 85 mile fundraising event in aid of Air Ambulance NI.
The team of eight cycling enthusiasts pose for a photo before their 85 mile fundraising event in aid of Air Ambulance NI.
The team of eight cycling enthusiasts pose for a photo before their 85 mile fundraising event in aid of Air Ambulance NI.

Sarah Coulter, her husband Jonny Coulter, Jonny Marcus, Mark Hewitt, James Thompson, Karen Alexander, David Marks and Raymond Young all completed an 85 mile ‘Lap of the Lough’ cycle challenge in September, raising over £4,000 to date via their Justgiving page.

With an original target of £500, the group of friends quickly surpassed that as their link was circulated online amongst family, friends and colleagues.

Sarah said: “Air Ambulance NI did such an amazing job helping our daughter’s friend, Anna, immediately after her motocross accident in October 2019. When we started looking into the charity, I was surprised to find out the aim is to raise £5,500 per day and that can’t be easy especially now when so many big fundraising events have had to be cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19.”

Fellow cyclist James Thompson said: “I found that people were very sympathetic to the cause of Air Ambulance NI. Nobody wants to need a flight in the red helicopter, but everyone is glad to know it’s there if they should ever need it.”

Damien McAnespie, Area Fundraising Manager for Air Ambulance NI, remarked: “I want to commend the team of eight cyclists not only in completing the challenge but also raising over £4,000 in the process. The money raised could potentially save an individual’s life, brain or limb in Northern Ireland.”

Sarah added: “We are overwhelmed with the support and we’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this important cause. We were so grateful for the prayers and generosity of our friends in Molesworth Church and the entire local community.”

The charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service for Northern Ireland. The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes.

The HEMS team attend patients who are seriously ill or injured, bringing emergency pre-hospital care direct to the casualty with the aim of saving lives, brains and limbs.

Air Ambulance NI aspires to raise £2million each year to maintain this service so public donations are crucial. Fundraising has been severely impacted by Covid19. If you would like to donate, organise an event or could spare some time volunteering, please contact Air Ambulance NI by email at [email protected] or call 028 9262 2677.

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