Collective efforts from the agribusiness community have funded 4.5 days of local charity Air Ambualnce Northern Ireland to keep the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service operational, ready to dispatch to critically injured patients.

Air Ambulance NI’s agribusiness group partnered with local company Culchie Comps, who held a competition to win a Jalex roan heifer, secured with support from Jalex Livestock and HVS Liquid Gold.  Entries for the competition were sold online as well as Balmoral Show and Omagh, Ballymena, Kilrea, Markethill and Hilltown marts.  There were almost 4,000 entries and net proceeds of £24,686 were handed over to the charity at the recent Royal Ulster Beef and Lamb Championships event.

Libby Clarke from Air Ambualnce NI’s agribusiness group said, “This was a fantastic partnership that has generated an incredible result. Thank you to Niall and Megan at Culchie Comps who gifted endless hours to this competition including four full days promoting the competition at Balmoral Show and managing all competition logistics, to James Alexander at Jalex Livestock for providing us with the beautiful animal and to Paul at HVS Liquid Gold for sponsorship.  We’d also like to thank Balmoral Show and the marts in Omagh, Ballymena, Kilrea, Markethill and Hilltown, as well as our volunteers who helped us there with competition entries. The heifer ‘Hope’ now has a new owner, Brian McKenna from Co. Tyrone who is delighted with her.  The funds raised will help the air ambulance medical team reach another 8 patients for whom the worst has happened.”

Niall Turley from Culchie Comps said, “This project was all about raising as much as possible for the air ambulance service.  Megan and I admire the service, and this became all the more real when we saw the helicopter land close to home one evening driving home from Balmoral show.  It feels good to know the difference it will make to someone in need, it could be any one of us.”

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service has been tasked on 2,547 occasions since it started just over four years ago. It operates 365 days of the year and is a partnership between Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the charity Air Ambulance NI.  The charity needs to raise £2m each year to maintain and sustain this service so public support is crucial.  Currently the charity is appealing for support of its Christmas Campaign including sale of Christmas cards and baubles online. Click here to shop these items today.

A competition by Culchie Comps has raised £24,686 for Air Ambulance NI. Pictured at the cheque presentation are sponsors Niall and Megan Turley from Culchie Comps (left and third right), James Alexander of Jalex Herd,(second left), along with his children, Paul Elwood Liquid Gold (second right) and AANI representatives Kerry Anderson (third left) and Libby Clarke (right). The funds will keep the helicopter flying for another 4 days and as the medical team are usually called out twice a day, which could help 8 future casualties.

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