A MAN who witnessed the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) in action 20 years ago, has been inspired to run half marathons to raise funds for the charity.
Andrew Boase, 54, from Hartlepool was driving to Whitby in the summer in 2003 and was waiting in a queue of traffic when a car crashed into the back of his on Birk Brow Bank near Charltons village, Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
He said: “I was waiting in the queue in my car when there was an unbelievable smash straight into the rear of my car.
“It was found that a Vauxhall Astra had come flying up behind at speed from Guisborough and straight into the stationary traffic queue, of which my car had been at the back, and received the full impact.”
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), who had been operating as a charity for a year at this point, flew to the scene to help those involved in the incident.
Despite the damage to Andrew’s car, thankfully he was not seriously injured, and was mainly shook up from the incident.
He said: “I was so happy to see GNAAS turn up. They stepped through bushes of a nearby field after landing close by near Charltons village.
“They were really nice and gave calming words of advice. I was mainly suffering shock and surprise after being shook up from what just happened. I was feeling very lucky it wasn’t a worse situation.”
Andrew suffered pain and stiffness from the crash and later visited a hospital to be checked over.
He said: “After overcoming the incident I recovered well and I’m back to my normal self of good health and wellbeing.”
Andrew is a keen runner who regularly takes part in the Great North Run, which is a half marathon that takes place annually in the North East.
Last year he decided to take the opportunity to raise funds for GNAAS, and received over £500 in sponsorship money.
He said: “I managed to raise a substantial amount of fundraising for GNAAS and got an amazing amount of support from the whole of the North East, from Skelton right up to Newcastle, including Darlington and all areas covered by me during my job as a 7.5 Tonne Royal Mail wagon driver, as well as a Royal Mail qualified first aider for about 25 years.”
Andrew has now decided to run the Great North Run again next year to raise even more funds for GNAAS.
He said: “I’ve always wanted to do something to give back to GNAAS after what they did for me.
“I have total respect and support for them all, they are all amazing and absolute lifesavers that are much needed in emergency situations.”