While Coronavirus has grounded the traditional fundraising calendar, online public support has taken off to help Helimed 79 continue saving lives across the country.
In line with guidance from the Scottish Government, charity workers for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) have had to continue their efforts to raise the £6 million needed to fund Helimad 79’s first three years while working from home.
But while their usual fundraising events have been halted – at least for another few months – that hasn’t stopped the public rallying around the cause.
Community groups and Rotary clubs have stepped-up across the north-east, as have individuals seeking to secure much needed money for the life-saving helicopter’s mission.
They include youngsters like Arabella Winn, who was inspired to raise hundreds by her father, who works as a rescue pilot with SCAA.
The nine-year-old was joined by her classmates to fund comforting teddy bears for emergency crews.
SCAA deputy CEO and director of fundraising and communications, Nick Harvey, said: “We are so incredibly grateful for the generosity that has been shown by the community.
“It is that goodwill that helps us keep doing the work that we do.
“Without those donations we wouldn’t be around to help save peoples lives when they need us, so it has been amazing to see.
“Everyone has been impacted by the pandemic, but we have continued to provide our lifesaving service across the whole of Scotland.
“We can only do that with continued support.”
He added: “It has been a massive challenge to raise funds in a traditional sense, with all of our calendared events being cancelled, but with the help of the community running virtual events we have been able to continue.”
With lockdown restrictions easing and a sense of normality creeping back into people’s everyday lives, the charity is hoping to pair its traditional fundraising methods with newer digital ones.
“People have taken to digital platforms in a way we have never really seen before and the help we have had from our corporate partners has been outstanding,” Mr Harvey said.
Kate Loades, who is the charity’s community fundraiser and heads up the efforts to raise the £6 million needed to keep the Aberdeen-based helicopter flying for its first three years, added: “One woman out in Banchory is running 750 miles over the next few months between the 10 different horse trial events.
“With SCAA going out to attend many different equestrian based emergencies she just wanted to raise both some money and awareness which is great.”
Launching just a year ago, nearly 100 people have been flown to hospitals across Scotland by Helimed 79 and its crew.
It has been called to 196 emergencies, 65% of which were within the Grampian region as well as proving a lifeline service to communities in Orkney and remote parts of the Highlands too.