Fundraising event for Air Ambulance raises £6,000

Gail Lees, Jacob Lees, and Bill Lees, with Michelle McDaid Area Fundraising Manager AANI
Gail Lees, Jacob Lees, and Bill Lees, with Michelle McDaid Area Fundraising Manager AANI

The local community turned out in force to support the Air Ambulance NI at a special afternoon tea, held last month.

A local Cookstown family organised the event with the help of friends, family and volunteers at Claggan Presbyterian Church.

Speaking after the event, one of the organisers, Gail Lees said: “The event was organised to support the sterling work the AANI carry out, a service which my son Bill availed off last year 2018, after a serious motorbike accident which left him with life changing injuries. The event was very well supported and exceeded our expectations.

“We as a family cannot thank the community enough for their generosity without their support this event would not have been a success. The family organised two separate fundraisers Afternoon Tea and the sale of Snow Patrol tickets. A grand total of £6,000 was raised.

“On behalf of the family I would like to take this opportunity and thank everyone who continues to pray for Bill’s recuperation, Claggan Presbyterian Church for use of the hall, Tesco Stores for supplying beverages, friends and family who kindly baked scones, cakes and tray bakes; we could not have done it without them.”

Michelle McDaid, Area Fundraising Manager for AANI, who attended the event, said: “This is one of our success stories and I was delighted to be able to join Bill and his family.”

AANI is a charity, which launched in July 2017 in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

The AANI provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service for the region.

They attend some of the most traumatic medical incidents across the province and are dedicated to delivering the very best pre-hospital care, both at the scene and whilst transferring the patient to the most appropriate hospital for their specific injuries.

Key personnel within the HEMS team consists of 15 trauma specialist doctors, six full time HEMS paramedics and two pilots all of whom work on a rota basis, 365 days of the year operating for 12 hours every day.

There is one operational helicopter and one back up helicopter, as well as a rapid response vehicle. It costs the charity £5,500 per day and £2 million a year to keep AANI operational.

Michelle added: “AANI is fortunate to count on tremendous public support and good will. It is not only the medical crew who save lives but also the people who support the service. Thank you to everyone for your support.”

If you would like further information on how you can support or donate to AANI please contact Michelle McDaid Area Fundraising Manager on 028 9262 2677 or email