Leaving a legacy – Mandy and Simon’s story

Like many people, we aren’t in a position to donate to the charity regularly so leaving GNAAS a gift in our will is an ideal way to show our support and a way of helping to futureproof a charity that’s so desperately needed.”

Three helicopters, two rapid response cars, and one team of highly-trained medical professionals cover the 8000 square miles that are the operational area of the Great North Air Ambulance Service. And behind them are the people who give 100% of the money this takes.

Together, with our doctors, paramedics, pilots and supporters who have pledged to provide urgent care throughout the North East, Cumbria and North Yorkshire, we have saved countless lives and kept families united.

Legacies are responsible for more than one-third of our operational costs; even a small sum can go a long way. This week is Legacy Week, a week to celebrate all the amazing pledges our supporters have made to help us.

Together, with your pledge and ours, we will be there for many more families.

Two incredible people who have pledged to support us in their will is Mandy and Simon Becconsall from Northumberland.

Ahead of the legacy week, the couple wanted to share their thoughts on why they have pledged to leave 33% of their estate to GNAAS and in doing so, will hopefully, encourage others to do the same.

In her own words, Mandy said:

“Simon and I met through family – his sister and my brother are married.

I’m 60, and Simon is 55, and we’ve known each other for around 25 years – we have been together for 20 of those years.

We realised very early on how much we enjoyed each other’s company and having a laugh together and we got closer through family gatherings.

Simon has two brothers who now live in Australia, but they were born on Hayling Island.  Their father was in the Royal Navy, but when he retired he joined the Coastguard Service as the full-time Station Officer on Hayling Island and Simon later joined as an auxiliary before I met him.

He volunteered for the RNLI and has always worked as a Qualified Greenkeeper on golf courses, so he realised very early on in life how important the emergency services are and it has been ingrained in him ever since.

We moved to Australia and spent nine years there before returning in 2015.

We settled in Wakefield for Simon’s work and then moved to North Yorkshire before he found a job in Northumberland last year – we call it our final resting place as it is where we want to be when he retires.

We enjoy a quiet life and love walks with our dogs and peace and quiet, so we do tend to spend a lot of our time out in rural areas and that’s why we wanted to move to Northumberland.

I was diagnosed with bladder cancer when we lived in Australia, and it was very serious – I had a life-saving operation, and thankfully I am here today.

I think since going through something like that, Simon and I just valued life so much.

We appreciate all the health services and the work that they do.

You don’t have to do outdoor extreme sports to appreciate the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and you just never know when it could be you or your loved one that needs them one day and accidents do unfortunately happen.

Changing our will to add in GNAAS this year was such an easy process.

When we went to see the solicitor, straight away she said ‘GNAAS flew to my grandfather when he had an accident and he wouldn’t have survived without their help’, so it just goes to show how many people’s lives the charity has saved.

Like many people, we aren’t in a position to donate to the charity regularly so leaving GNAAS a gift in our will is an ideal way to show our support and a way of helping to futureproof a charity that’s so desperately needed.

All of the emergency services are struggling and there has never been a more vital time to support a life-saving service.

This is what is important to us, and we wanted to put our money somewhere we have a connection to.

What GNAAS do is invaluable, and so many lives would be lost without them.

If you’re thinking about leaving a gift in your will, GO FOR IT! It really isn’t a complicated process; all you have to do is contact a solicitor and take a small amount of time out of your day to go and see them to make the change.

They do the rest – it’s really that simple. Give the gift of life!”

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