AN amateur photographer from County Down has raised a staggering £28,000 for the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland after selling 1,750 copies of his agriculture calendar featuring imagery of farming contractors working on the Ards Peninsula.
Steven Evans, 31, from Kirkistown, who raised £11,400 from his previous year’s calendar, dedicated this year’s calendar to the memory of Master Harry Steele, of Rowreagh Farm, Kircubbin.
Stevie commented: “None of this would ever have been possible without the generosity of the contractors, as well as those who bought the calendars from many local businesses who’d agreed to sell them on my behalf. Only today, when doing the cheque handover, have I realised what has been achieved.
“A night at the end of August shook the local farming community to the core, when a young man was lost that no matter where you went, no matter who you spoke to, everyone had a great word of him. He was a young man who was never far from his father, Samuel Steele.
“I always knew that if I saw Samuel, his side-kick was never far away, and of course, the thumbs up, the big wave and the big smile always was there. Sadly, after an evening at the end of August, everyone has lost a bright shining star of the future.”
He continued: “It was a big effort to do the calendar this year alongside my day job as an automatic greaser technician. I was ready to throw the towel in a few times. However, the memory of Harry kept me going to achieve what we have.
“The support has been over-whelming from the rural community, mainly on the Ards Peninsula where the calendar was photographed, showing just how much of a benefit they feel the Air Ambulance NI is.”
Harry’s parents, Samuel and Naomi Steele, commented: “We would like to thank Stevie Evans for the opportunity he gave us to dedicate his 2022 calendar in memory of our son, Harry. We wish to thank all who have supported the calendar so generously this year and helped in any way to raise a huge amount of money for the Air Ambulance.
“A special thank you to Stevie for the time and work he put into the calendar in making it such a success.”
Grace Williams, Area Fundraising Manager at Air Ambulance NI, said: “We are truly inspired by Stevie’s amazing fundraising efforts! Stevie has taken on this project of creating his own calendar for the second year, while raising vital funds for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland and dedicating it in loving memory of Harry Steele.
“We’re extremely grateful that Stevie chose to support Air Ambulance NI again in this unique way.
“The medical team are tasked on average twice per day and with a daily fundraising requirement of £5,500, we rely on the kindness of wonderful supporters like Stevie to ensure we can reach those in need.”
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