GNAAS unveiled as building society’s charity of the year

A building society has made the Great North Air Ambulance its charity of the year after a member of staff discovered first-hand how important the service can be.

The charity will benefit from a year’s worth of fundraising and awareness in Leeds Building Society’s store in Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

The branch launched a regular-giving scheme with the charity’s popular mascot Miles the Bear, who stopped off to meet and greet staff, customers and passers-by.

Customers are being offered the chance to sign up, which involves them donating on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis to support the charity’s work.

Staff will promote the scheme for one month and if it is successful, the branch plans to roll it out across its other branches in the area.

One staff member has a personal reason for getting behind the charity. The husband of assistant manager Julie Cummings, 41, has used the service twice.

Neil Cummings, 43, of Durham, fell off a ladder at Eggleston in Teesdale, County Durham, where he suffered a broken arm and head injuries.

Earlier this year, misfortune struck again for the construction worker when the scaffolding he was standing on collapsed at Billingham, near Stockton-on-Tees. The incident left him unable to work for weeks.

Mrs Cummings said: “I know what it is like to get that phone call to say something has happened. We chose to support the air ambulance because we think it is a service that benefits everyone. Without their help, the outcome of Neil’s accident could have been very different today.”

As well as setting up the regular giving scheme, the society have raised money by holding a raffle for their customers, and the four winners were picked by a GNAAS representative on the day of the launch.

Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “We would like to thank Leeds Building Society and hope that as many people as possible sign up to the scheme. Even if it is just small amounts, it really could save lives.”

Anyone wishing to sign up regular giving can call GNAAS on 01325-487263.

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