The Masonic Province of Tyrone and Fermanagh has raised an incredible £41,000 for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI), which will fund the service for more than one week.
The organisation presented the cheque to AANI Head of Fundraising Kerry Anderson and charity trustee Rodney Connor at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh.
In celebration of the Masonic Province of Tyrone and Fermanagh’s 150th anniversary, an initial target of £150 for each of the 41 lodges was set which the organisation exceeded through a number of fundraising events including sponsored walks, coffee mornings, car displays and raffles.
Maurice Lee, Provincial Grand Master Tyrone and Fermanagh, personally visited each of the lodges in a 24-hour period during the fundraising efforts and said: “We are so thrilled with what has been achieved.
“AANI is an incredible charity providing a vital and potentially life-saving service and is already making a huge difference in rural communities. I am so grateful to the efforts put in by each and every one of our lodges.
“UK Freemasonry is the largest contributor to charitable causes after the National Lottery and we are delighted to continue with this tradition.”
The Masonic Province of Tyrone and Fermanagh was constituted in 1868 and is comprised of the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh. Currently it is made up of 41 Craft Lodges, 14 of which have a Royal Arch Chapter bearing the same name and number
Kerry Anderson, AANI Head of Fundraising, said: “We are so grateful for the support of Masonic Province of Tyrone and Fermanagh and completely bowled over by total raised.
“Maurice’s leadership of the project has been fantastic. We are so grateful to him and to all of the 41 lodges as well as the other Masonic lodges that have supported AANI throughout our journey.”
AANI is a local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS).
The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the Province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes.
This doctor/paramedic service benefits those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma. Effectively the service brings emergency hospital care direct to the casualty.
Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2 million each year to maintain this service so public donations are crucial.