Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) has been overwhelmed by the funds raised by Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) totalling an incredible £200,000. This doubled their initial ambitious centenary target of £100,000 and will fund 36 days of the service.

Members and staff of UFU became involved in a range of fundraising initiatives throughout the year from selling calendars and books, cake sales to gala dinners, to hiking five peaks across NI’s six counties in one day. These activities raised an incredible £186,000 and the UFU Board generously agreed to contribute £14,000 bringing the official centenary year total to £200,000.

UFU past president, Barclay Bell, chose AANI as UFU’s charity partner for the centenary year, and said, “We are delighted with what has been achieved. Our fundraising efforts will fund 36 days of service. It’s already making a difference in rural communities and has been called out to a number of farm incidents. It’s a service that makes people in rural areas feel less isolated.”

UFU president, Ivor Ferguson, added that he has been blown away by the generosity of members, the rural community and industry partners. “Everyone has really gotten behind us. We set ourselves an ambitious target to raise £100,000 for this life-saving charity. True to form, the agriculture industry has not let us down, not only did we hit our target but we doubled it.

“It’s a service that we all hope we, or any one in our family, will never need but will be forever grateful that it is there if we do.”

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at AANI said, “UFU had faith in the air ambulance service at the earliest stage, committing endless enthusiasm and dedication to their fundraising efforts and exceeding all of our expectations. The service is theirs, just like it is yours and mine, and that passion to sustain and maintain has been apparent throughout.  In addition to the phenomenal total funds raised, the partnership generated substantial profile and awareness that would have been impossible for a fledgling charity to achieve in such a short period of time.  This has been the largest partnership that AANI has had and we thank everyone who has contributed: those in UFU headquarters, all members, rural communities and the wider agribusiness sector. You are saving lives and are part of the history of sustaining your local air ambulance – on behalf of thank you.”

HEMS Operational Lead, Glenn O’Rorke, added, “We have found that unfortunately, agricultural incidents occur frequently and can be life threatening – everything from cattle injuries, entrapments and crushing’s from farming equipment, machinery and vehicles.  The speed of arrival of the Doctor / Paramedic team enables critical care to start at a much earlier stage than would be possible without this service and can mean the difference between life and death.”

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