A family who required the help of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has raised more than £13,000 for the charity after their most recent clothing collection.
Will Clark, from Grasmere, has been a keen supporter of GNAAS, since he required their services back in July 2012, following a serious cycling incident.
Recalling what happened, he said: “Tragically during a charity triathlon, a stick got caught in the wheel of my bike sending me over the handlebars leading to me breaking the right side of my neck with permanent damage at the C4 vertebrae. This led to me being paralysed from the shoulders down.
“Being young and fit I hadn’t given GNAAS much thought prior to this accident. The good thing is other people’s support meant that they were there when I needed them.”
Will was flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for surgery before being transferred to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he spent five months in rehab before finally being discharged.
Ever since, Will has been incredibly supportive of GNAAS and in 2014 he raised more than £12,500 after completing the Great North Run in a manual chair which was pushed by a team of friends and family.
Will, who is a unitary councillor for Windermere and Ambleside, not only fundraises for the charity, but is also a volunteer, and has regularly given talks to the local community about GNAAS.
Last year the charity hosted an open day for volunteers at their headquarters in the North East, and that’s when Will and his mother Angela were inspired to raise further funds for GNAAS by organising collections of unwanted clothing.
He said: “In the year since we visited the base, we have completed six collections, had a tombola at a Christmas fair and friends have held a village coffee morning.
“The highlight was finding £4,500 worth of shoes in a warehouse in Lancaster destined for landfill for which Phil Hall, from the charity’s Trading Company kindly found a buyer. This saved Kidds haulage the cost of disposal and ensured they are re-used. This brings the annual total to over £13,000.”
After each collection, the clothes and other unwanted items are picked up by the recycling team from GNAAS’ Trading Company, who sell them to buyers across Europe and the UK and then donate the proceeds to the charity.
From their most recent collection, which took place in July, they received 1400kg of unwanted items generating a donation of £1,500.
Mr Clark said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received and have increased collection points to three, most recently, Grasmere, Ambleside Parish Centre and the Carver Church Windermere. We also had a volunteer suggesting a fourth collection point in South Lakeland.
“Angela has really driven the collections process since being inspired by the visit to the base with the assistance of friends and family, especially Sarah Hodgson-Jones & Judith Keeley.
“It has been nice to give something back to GNAAS. It was only when I needed to use this service, I realised how invaluable it is.
“You hope and perhaps think you will never need to use the Pride of Cumbria II but by fundraising it means the service continues to be available if you, your friends or family do.
We will be holding the next collection in October with details to follow closer to the date.”
Collections can be booked with our Trading Company online, over the phone by calling 01325 308 139 or via GNAAS’ Facebook page and can either be a large collection like Angela and Will’s, or small amounts of bags from individual’s homes.