A group of over forty volunteers from Co Fermanagh have been recognised and rewarded for their time and fundraising efforts for Air Ambulance NI Charity by the NI Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

The ‘Fermanagh Air Ambulance’ volunteers picked up the award for ‘Volunteer Team of the Year’ at the event in Titanic Hotel, Belfast which recognises and celebrates the incredible work of local fundraisers, volunteers and businesses who make a huge difference to the lives of people living in Northern Ireland.

The volunteer group was formed in 2017 by Enniskillen husband and wife, George & Myrtle Irvine, who began supporting the charity following the sudden and tragic passing of their son Alistair in 2016. In seven years, the group has grown from two to over forty individuals and has generated income of circa £384,000 since 2017 for Air Ambulance NI Charity.

In 2023-24 alone, George & Myrtle lodged over £123,000, an amount in real terms of 18 days of flying for Air Ambulance NI with at least 36 individual lives, brains and limbs potentially being saved. The Fermanagh volunteer group have also gifted over 800 hours of their time to the charity across 2023-24 from events such as organising the fifth annual signature ‘Erne Vintage Classic Car Show’ event which raised £14,000, managing, counting and banking the income of over 120 Air Ambulance NI collection boxes in shops which yielded an income of £13,020 across 2023 and delivered presentations to 20 local community groups and clubs reaching over 700 people. They also have supported at least 40 in-aid of events and ensuring the organisers have adequate materials plus representing the charity at follow-up cheque presentations.

The Graham family from Garrison, who are also part of the volunteering group, raised over £20,000 in May 2023 after they took part in the team relay event at Belfast City Marathon in memory of their son and brother Neil Graham who tragically passed away in 2018.

Damien McAnespie, Fundraising Manager for Air Ambulance NI, said, “I am absolutely delighted that the Fermanagh volunteers have been recognised for their incredible team effort and for everything they do for the charity. Air Ambulance NI considers itself very privileged and lucky to have this group of volunteers as friends of the charity and it is proof of what can be achieved when passionate people come together.

We have a Whatsapp group where so many events, rotas, photos and social interactions are shared across the year. We also regularly meet up in-person, and over a cup of tea, to discuss future fundraising events and in December 2023, the group had its first Christmas dinner at the Killyhelvin Hotel where their year’s success was recognised and celebrated.

We are also looking to continue to grow the number of volunteers we have however so if anyone over the age of 18 years old is interested in becoming a volunteer for Air Ambulance NI, please do contact us on 028 9262 2677, email info@airambulanceni.org

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