The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has chosen Air Ambulance Northern Ireland as her official charity this year.
Cllr Lindsay Millar said: “I’m really pleased and proud to be supporting such an invaluable cause during my term. Air Ambulance NI provides a vital service and helps save lives, but is a voluntary organisation which needs support. Mid and East Antrim covers 400 square miles, has 62 miles of coastline, with many who live here in rural areas. This vast space requires a service like the Air Ambulance to provide emergency cover.
“With a fantastic coastal road network which many enjoy here, open beaches and mountainous walks, accidents can happen at any time and the crucial service the Air Ambulance provides here is essential to keep our citizens and visitors safe. I met with the medical team to chat about the hard work they’re doing, and it really is something I feel passionate about supporting and hope the public will too.
“It’s not well known that the service is actually a charity, it operates twelve hours a day, seven days a week and costs £5,500 daily to maintain the service. I would encourage all the citizens to support the charity by hosting events and please let council know if you are and we can help promote these for you. I will be taking part in collections and even an abseil later this year, and I have a huge fear of heights, so wish me luck and watch this space."
AANI, in partnership with Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the region.
From its base in Lisburn it can reach any part of Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes.
Ian Crowe, chairman for the charity said: “We’re delighted to have the support from the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim this year. We are a relatively new service which requires public support to survive, so this chance to raise our profile and much needed funds is welcomed. Serious or life-threatening situations can happen to anyone at any time, and on average, one person a day finds themselves in desperate need of AANI.
“Since our launch last year we have responded to 380 incidents. The primary role of HEMS is to deliver advanced pre-hospital care to patients at the scene, whose lives are at risk following serious trauma. Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2million each year to maintain this service so funding and public donations are crucial.”