A MEDAL winning Olympian has handed over the keys to the winner of the GNAAS car raffle.
Equestrian rider Nicola Wilson, who took silver in the team eventing competition at the summer games, presented the Ford Fiesta to Alan Wade, of Ingleby Arncliffe, near Northallerton, at Sedgefield Racecourse today.
Mr Wade, 72, was drawn out as winner of the Great North Air Ambulance Service’s annual raffle last week.
The retired highways worker and his wife Venetia bought twenty tickets at £1 each. The couple, who have one son, are already members of the charity’s weekly lottery and have won prizes of £100 and £25 in the past.
Winning a car, however, came as a total shock, said Mr Wade. “I just couldn’t believe it. In some ways, I still can’t,” he added. “We are just waiting for it to sink in.”
Wilson, who is from Morton-on-Swale, near Northallerton, said: “It was lovely to be asked to present the prize. I am a supporter of the Great North Air Ambulance and I know how important the service is to rural communities, and horse riders in particular, so I was only too happy to help. Congratulations to Mr Wade.”
The main prize of a Ford Fiesta was donated by Roflow Environmental Engineering. The Tyneside firm’s Managing Director Tom Robson has been a long term supporter of GNAAS since his late-mother had to use the service.
He said: “I’m always looking for ways to help the charity and this just seemed like a great way of raising money for this fantastic cause.”
This year, 126,700 tickets were sold for the raffle. An additional £17,332 was donated along with the tickets, making a total of £144,032, nearly £18,000 more than the previous draw.
Ruth Davey, of GNAAS, who organised the raffle, said: “We just want to thank everyone for supporting the raffle. The money will be spent on flying missions throughout our region, and will make a real difference in the life-saving work of our crews.”