Help keep our air ambulance flying

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VITAL funds are desperately needed to keep a lifesaving service flying high.

This summer, the Great North Air Ambulance has experienced some of its busiest few weeks.

Flying medics have been called to Wearside and East Durham to help everyone from riders who have fallen off their horse to those in trouble off the coast.

The service played a key role in the search for teenagers Tonibeth Purvis and Chloe Fowler who drowned in the Wear at Washington.

The charity would normally expect to handle 38 call-outs during a two-week period, but its latest figures reveal it flew 53 times during 14 days in July.

Spokesman Jim Entwistle said: “We are putting this down to the warm weather spell we have had, particularly those two to three weeks in July when so many people were out and about.”

Mandy Drake, head of fund-raising at GNAAS, said: “Every call-out costs in the region of £2,500, so we soon see the costs racking up when we get busy.

“Because we don’t receive Government funding, every penny of this must be raised through public donations.” Now bosses are hoping they can replenish their funds during Air Ambulance Week from September 23-29.

Ms Drake added: “Air Ambulance Week provides a great opportunity for people to get behind the charity, whether it is donating, volunteering or holding their own events.”

For more information about Air Ambulance Week or to receive a volunteer pack, call 01325 487 263.