THE Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) has raised an incredible £33,723.75 for Air Ambulance NI (AANI) this year.
AANI is the local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with its 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.
YFCU President James Speers, who has chosen to support the charity throughout his two-year term, visited the charity on Saturday, December 1, with other YFCU members to present the cheque to Head of Fundraising Kerry Anderson and Area Fundraising Manager Colleen Milligan.
One of the key fundraising activities this year was a fundraising barn dance held by James at his farm in Armagh in September during Air Ambulance month.
The event included entertainment by popular country music performer Richie Remo and raised £21,539.05.
James commented: “The barn dance was a tremendous success, I was delighted with the turnout and how much the event raised. So many contributed to the making the event happen, in particular, I would like to mention Hewitt Meats Loughgall; Linwoods Bakery; Armagh Marquees; and the teams of volunteers – the McCartney family and the Gibson family.”
The remainder of the funds, £12,184.70, was raised through activities organised by various Young Farmers’ Clubs across NI, including coffee mornings, bag packing, and even a sponsored leg waxing for the YFCU Presidential Team.
YFCU President James Speers said: “This is a remarkable achievement by YFCU to raise such a significant amount of money for AANI. I personally chose to support this charity as it provides a lifesaving service for rural communities throughout Northern Ireland and is a very worthy charity to donate this money to.
Representatives from YFC and myself were delighted to be invited to the AANI base for a tour and to hear first-hand where the money would be utilised. I am extremely grateful to the clubs, organisations and local communities who assisted me in supporting this great cause and gave so generously.”
Air Ambulance NI Head of Fundraising Kerry Anderson said: “We are delighted to have the support of the YFCU and in particular to James who has been so committed.
“I appreciate the effort that goes into organising a massive event which James took on wholeheartedly. It was humbling the fact that over 1,000 people attended in support of the charity.
“The farming community have been great supporters, and this is vitally required.”