The inaugural ‘Auction of Hope’ organised by Air Ambulance Northern Ireland’s agribusiness group and Richard Beattie of Beattie Livestock Sales has raised a phenomenal £92,450 for two well-loved charities, Air Ambulance NI and Cancer Fund for Children.  The auction event involved the sale of 161 lots over 3 and a half hours on the online Marteye platform on Friday 16 April.  All lots were gifted at no cost and over 20,000 people tuned in to the event.

Speaking on behalf of the AANI Agribusiness Group, Libby Clarke said, “We have been completely overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received through this auction.  As soon as we put out the idea into the media, our phones did not stop with people offering items to auction.  We are so, so grateful to each of those businesses who donated- we even had to stop taking lot items because we had so many!  There wasn’t too much sleep in the run up to the auction, there was so much to be done and on the night the atmosphere was brilliant.  People have told us it felt like a social occasion in their living room with everyone around the screen watching from start to finish.  We are delighted that every lot was sold and so much raised for charity.  Thank you to everyone.”

Income for both charities has been hit hard by the health pandemic and both Air Ambulance NI and Cancer Fund for Children have been overwhelmed by the support and amount raised via the online auction.

Barclay Bell, Trustee of Air Ambulance NI said, “As a team, we are still buzzing from this event and genuinely filled with pride!  From the moment the agribusiness group got together the energy really has been phenomenal.  We are astounded at the support from the community and the success really is a testament to the group members, Richard and Selina Beattie, Marteye and the incredible people of Northern Ireland who have donated so generously. Despite the pandemic, the air ambulance service has continued to be busy and tasked to trauma accidents every day.  The medical team are needed by critically ill or injured patients on average twice per day and these are patients whose lives are at risk in that moment when the worst has happened. To date the service has been tasked out on over 2054 occasions- this could not happen without donations and awareness raising of the service.”

Phil Alexander, CEO of Cancer Fund for Children said, “Cancer and how it affects children, and their families hasn’t stopped during the Covid 19 pandemic. During the past year Daisy Lodge has remained open, providing vital short breaks to vulnerable families. Our community services have operated online and in person ensuring no child faces cancer alone. In a difficult year for fundraising, with virtually all our events cancelled we were thrilled to be one of the chosen charities benefiting from the, ‘Auction of Hope.’ We want to thank the organising committee for all their time and effort in planning an incredible event that took Northern Ireland by storm. We also wish to thank everyone who took part and very generously participated in the auction. It was very humbling to witness the support and kindness of the farming community during a difficult time for the charitable sector.”

Both charities want to say a very sincere and special thank you to the Air Ambulance NI Agribusiness Committee, to Richard and Selina Beattie for their tireless energy, commitment and support, to the businesses who gave so kindly to the auction, especially at a time when local businesses have been struggling, and to all those who bid, purchased lots, helped promote, organise and tuned in!

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