October for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance has meant ‘Octobash’ - a mad month of fundraising to the extreme to celebrate the service’s tenth anniversary.
While people are of course welcome to hand in donations to the vital service at any time, this month its fundraising team has been working extra hard to mark the WNAA’a special anniversary.
And the service is supported in a big way by its volunteers. Among them is 71-year-old Bill Leech, who has been a committed supporter for the past seven years since he was rescued by the WNAA while out walking his dog in Henley-in-Arden.
He said: “It was a bit damp and I slipped. I damaged all the tendons in my knee.
“After dialling 999, I was waiting for about three minutes. It’s incredible - you suddenly see this helicopter in the sky and it lands just a few feet away from you.”
Mr Leech was flown to hospital in Redditch for treatment - and just a month later, he was walking again as normal.
He said: “I wanted to pay them back so I got in touch with the air ambulance’s volunteer manager, Jo Payne, who asked me if I’d do talks about the service. Then I formed a volunteer fundraising group.
“Last year we raised £26,000. We try to raise at least £18,000 each year because it costs around that much to send air ambulances to Henley each year.”
He added: “I would be delighted to go anywhere in Warwickshire to give presentations on the air ambulance.”
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The WNAA is holding an Octobash party at the Castle Keep in Warwick on Wednesday (October 30) at 7pm. Tickets cost £30, which includes a glass of champagne, five-course dinner and raffle. To book, call 258878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on Octobash, see www.theairambulanceservice.otg.uk/octobash