The Hollywood family from Omagh have been in two incidents that needed the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) over 18 months.

Mountfield farmer Michael Hollywood never thought a trip to his local vets in Omagh would result in a serious agricultural incident but that is what unfortunately happened in October 2021.

Michael brought his 11-month-old bull to the vets on the outskirts of Omagh when suddenly, the young bull turned on him as it was being loaded onto its trailer. Michael’s adrenaline gave him the almighty strength to run and jump over a fence, gaining some distance from the animal. Emergency response from Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), the PSNI and HEMS were all tasked to the scene. Michael was treated by the HEMS team consisting of consultant doctor and paramedic. The young bull had to be put down as it posed a threat to other individuals.

Michael was flown to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast in a journey time of approximately twenty minutes.

Speaking about his accident, Michael said, “It’s been a long few months. Initially I wasn’t able to do even simple tasks for myself, but I am getting back on my feet. It really makes you count your blessings. As many have said I am lucky to be here to tell the tale. With the help and support of my family and friends, I hope to get better with time. Air Ambulance NI is a credit to the whole community, as a family we have always supported the charity and you appreciate the service even more when it comes to your own doorstep.”

Following Michael’s accident, his youngest daughter Niamh decided to give something back to the charity and signed up for the Santa Abseil at Belfast Castle in December 2022. However, only days prior to the charity fundraiser, Niamh was unfortunately involved in a multi-vehicle road traffic collision on her way to university in which the HEMS was also tasked.

Niamh said, “Anytime I think of air ambulance, it brings back all the memories from daddy’s accident. It was very emotional to see the helicopter that morning”. Thankfully Niamh didn’t require treatment from the medics on board the air ambulance and was treated by NIAS road crews. The accident meant she had to postpone her abseil and she is now looking forward to the challenge later this year.

The Hollywood family visited the Air Ambulance NI base outside Lisburn and met some of the charity and aviation team. Despite not yet having completed the abseil due to her accident, Niamh has already raised an amazing £2160 for the charity service. Niamh said, “I am delighted with the amount of money we raised and can’t thank family and friends enough for their donations to the service as you never know when you might need it”.

Damien McAnespie, Fundraising Manager for Air Ambulance NI, said, “It was lovely meeting the Hollywood family. They have all been through a lot over the last 18 months having had air ambulance to their accidents on two separate occasions.  We wish Michael continued recovery and would like to thank them for their support as a family.  On average every day, the HEMS is needed twice by a critically ill or injured individual somewhere in the region. Road traffic collisions and agricultural incidents combined make up over 40% of what HEMS attend to. At a fundraising need of £5,500 a day to maintain and sustain the service, continued support is crucial.”

One of the easiest ways to support the charity is by becoming a member of their Club AANI.  As a member you receive a pack of branded items, monthly e-newsletter and annual BBQ get together.  Most members donate by direct debit each month, annual subscription is also possible.  Members contribute from £8 per month.  Sign up is easy, simply click here.

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