THE longtime friend of a man who was airlifted after being shot in the eye has raised £1,150 for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Brian Cook, 64, arranged a charity clay pigeon shoot on the top of Carlton Bank in the North York Moors, on behalf of his friend Jim Harding, 63.
In October 2014, Mr Harding was working on a shoot on the Danby Estate in North Yorkshire, which has been his job for more than 30 years.
The incident happened when firing started before father-of-one Mr Harding was in position. As a result, he had not put on his safety glasses. One of the pellets that was fired hit him in the left eye which severed the optic nerve and damaged his vision, causing him to lose his sight in that eye.
Mr Harding, from Whitby, said: “A gentlemen shot in my direction, and when I heard the shot, I wondered ‘what was that?’ and then I turned round and another shot was fired and I could see it coming towards me before it hit me in the eye. It happened in an instant, and felt like when you get something caught in your eye.
“I was situated two miles from the road, so this is just one example of why we need air ambulances. If we didn’t have them, a lot of people probably wouldn’t get to hospital in time. After ringing 999, GNAAS came in straight away and I was flown to James Cook Hospital.”
Despite everyone’s best efforts, Mr Harding lost the sight in one eye. But he still wanted to thank GNAAS for their service, so him and his son Sam Harding, 38, asked Mr Cook to help them arrange a clay pigeon shoot to raise money for the charity.
Mr Cook, 64, said: “I’ve organised clay pigeon shoots in the past, so when Jim and Sam asked if I would put one together for GNAAS I obviously said yes.
“My daughter has been airlifted twice after being in horse riding accidents, and it’s surprising how many of her riding friends have also fell and required the assistance of GNAAS.
“I really appreciate the service the air ambulance provides as you never know when you are going to need it.”
The clay pigeon shoot was held alongside a BBQ and a raffle, and the organisers said the event was a huge success. Plans are now being put in place to hold it annually, with the winner of each shoot getting their name put on a trophy shield.