The chief executive of the Great North Air Ambulance Service has heralded the impact of volunteers on the organisation after the latest stats showed they had travelled 23,000 miles to help the charity over the past year.
The charity has been working to expand its group of volunteers, who travel to collect donation boxes, give talks, attend events and generally support the work of the life-saving air ambulances.
The figure represents a 42 per cent increase on the previous year.
The charity’s founder and chief executive Grahame Pickering MBE said GNAAS covers approximately 8,000 square miles of the North-East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire, and that it simply would not be able to reach every community without the help of volunteers.
He added: “This is 23,000 miles that have not had to be covered by our small team of paid staff, saving money and freeing them up to fundraise in other areas.
“This is first and foremost something for our volunteers to be proud of, but I’d also like to praise the work done behind the scenes in recruiting and training these wonderful people. We could not continue to fly without them.
“We’ve taken huge strides in the last couple of years but there is still so much more to be done to keep our service flying and I would urge anyone interested in any aspect of volunteering to get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.”
Helena Peace, GNAAS volunteer said: “When I volunteered at my first event last month and had such a fun day, I signed up to help at another straight away! I met some very friendly and inspiring people, all while helping the air ambulance raise the money needed to keep them out there doing their job. That’s what it’s ultimately all about!”
GNAAS needs to raise around £5m every year to survive. Last year, it responded to 1072 call outs. If you would like to find out more about regular or one-off volunteering opportunities, please visit www.gnaas.com/volunteer or call 01325-487263.