Community champion

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) receives reports of stolen clothes collection bags daily, but one lady makes sure her unwanted clothes are used to save lives.

Reports of collection bag theft is a regular incidence at the GNAAS Trading Company, but collections from Edna Tone, from Otterburn, reach GNAAS every time.

The retiree has helped raise more than £34,000 for the charity over 8 years from her biannual community collections.

She organises clothing collections from four collection points at the remote areas of Otterburn, Bellingham, Kirk Whelpington and Falstone.

Residents in the surrounding areas group together to gather bags and drop them off at a local church, village hall and post office where GNAAS Trading Company picks them up.

Mrs Tone said: “It is hugely beneficial for us to come together as a community because no one is afraid the bags will be stolen and it means GNAAS only have to make one trip. I have been overwhelmed by the response each time. It’s magnificent. Everyone in the local area is so supportive, they highly respect the service.

Mrs Tone stresses that it is the individuals who bring the clothes who deserve the recognition.

She said: “It just shows how much can be raised if everyone joins together, I would encourage other areas to do this too. You never know when you’re going to need the air ambulance. It can take so long to get to hospital by road – it is a vital life-saving service.”

The GNAAS Trading Company was established by GNAAS and is committed to giving 100 per cent of its profits to the charity.

Julie Woodcock, general manager at GNAAS Trading Company said: “We are so grateful for Edna, she has been such a big help to us over the years by coordinating community giving. Working together can make a huge difference.”

Mrs Tone’s next clothing collection takes place on October 9th at Otterburn Memorial Hall.

For more information on setting up a community collection, please contact the GNAAS Trading Company on 01325-308139.

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