GNAAS collecting clothes at the Great North Run

A team from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) is collecting discarded clothing at the start of the Great North Run in the hopes of it funding a future call-out for the charity.

On Sunday 10 September after all the runners have crossed the start line of the world’s biggest half marathon, there will likely be several tonnes of clothing left behind.

This is a familiar sight at the event, as runners tend to wear outer layers to keep them warm while waiting to reach the starting point and begin their run.

Last year approximately 30 people, including staff from GNAAS and volunteers, filled seven vans with tops, jackets and bottoms that were scattered across the runners’ assembly area.

4,326kg of clothing was collected by GNAAS and the money raised from the collection helped to cover the cost of a call-out for the charity’s critical care team.

Despite the predicted warm weather on the day of the Great North Run, it is hoped GNAAS will be able to collect a similar amount of clothing this weekend.

Phil Hall, commercial project manager at GNAAS, said: “There was a big team effort last year to collect all the discarded clothing, and we were able to fill up seven vans in just an hour which was fantastic. We’re delighted to be able to collect the clothing again this year, and appreciate everyone who leaves their jogging bottoms, hoodies and jackets draped on the fences for us.

“We’re very aware that it’s going to be a hot day on Sunday, and runners may be less likely to take outer layers with them, but we’d urge people to still consider bringing them along.

“Every piece of clothing that is picked up by our team at the start of the Great North Run will be recycled and the funds generated from it will be reinvested back into the charity.”

Since the start of 2023, GNAAS’ critical care team, which includes a doctor and paramedic, have responded to more than 1,450 incidents across the region on their helicopters and rapid response vehicles.

The charity does not receive government funding and needs to raise £8.5m a year through public donations to remain operational.

Tracey Wright, events lead at GNAAS, said: “We’ve got hundreds of runners raising money for GNAAS and it’s been wonderful to hear their stories about why they’re supporting our charity. Several of our staff and volunteers are going to be stationed along the route to cheer everyone on, as well as looking after our runners in the charity village with refreshments and a massage.

“We’d like to wish everyone the best of luck with the Great North Run, and if you can spare a piece of clothing at the runners’ assembly, please do, as this will help our team continue to respond to those in need.”

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