A Consett farmer has sold five sheep in aid of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who flew to his aid.
Colin Whitfield, 58, of Consett, County Durham, donated the sale of his five texel crosses which raised £500 at Darlington Farmer’s Auction Mart.
The father-of-two knows the importance of GNAAS after air ambulance medics treated him when he fell through a building roof while fixing old roofing sheets. He landed on a concrete floor and suffered a gash to his head and broken ribs on April 1, 2009.
His wife, Vivien Whitfield, said: “I phoned his son, Andrew, to tell him what had happened and he didn’t know whether I was joking or not as it was April Fool’s Day.”
Then, last year, GNAAS was called to airlift a rider from their farmland after a competitor fell from her horse during a TREC competition run by Corbridge and District Riding Club. The event was raising funds for the air ambulance.
Mrs Whitfield, who is a committee member at the club, said: “It was ironic that we were raising funds for the charity and then we had to call them out. Nobody could believe it. We always support GNAAS through the riding club because we think the air ambulance is fantastic. They are a vital life-saving organisation and crucial in a rural community. You never know when you might need them.”
Mr Whitfield added: “At the sale, the mart waived all fees and expenses so the full sale value could go towards the charity so a big thank you goes to them, as well as the generous buyer who also donated £20 ‘luck’ money which has also been put towards the cause.
“We hope to do the same again next year as it is a good way to raise both funds and awareness for the charity.”
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “We want to thank the Whitfield’s for their support and everyone else involved in this donation. Their efforts will help save lives.”
The Great North Air Ambulance Service operate three aircraft across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.