Published: 28 March 2024

A Torfaen couple has raised vital funds for the Wales Air Ambulance by taking part in the charity’s newest event.

Local Councillor, Catherine Bonera and her husband, Steven, who works for an IT company as an Office 365 Consultant, recently held their own Coffee and Cake event, raising just over £360.

Wales Air Ambulance launched the Coffee and Cake fundraiser earlier this year, encouraging supporters across Wales and afar to join them in celebrating their 23rd anniversary.

Catherine, who represents the St Dials ward, supports the all-Wales Charity by doing to its Lifesaving Lottery each month. When Steven said his employers were encouraging staff to participate in a community driven event, the pair started planning the fundraiser.

She said: “We were talking about what we could do when I spotted a post on social media from the Wales Air Ambulance about the Coffee and Cake initiative, it was as if it was

speaking to me.”

Within days, the Boneras had organised a venue, the St Joseph’s Club in St Dials – which was kindly donated for free.

Councillor Bonera, was amazed by the number of people who turned up, adding: “We initially only had a small room because I thought it would be a little gathering. But as we added on stalls and tables to sit at – we thought we would be catering for around 30 people; it ended up around one hundred.”

Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and, if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery.

It is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.

Councillor Bonera said the biggest surprise to her was how many people didn’t realise that the Wales air Ambulance relies on the kindness of fundraisers and volunteers.

Catherine said: “When we mentioned why we were doing the fundraiser, because the Wales Air Ambulance is a charity, many people were shocked. When they heard, they were so eager to support it.

“One couple told me how they had known people who needed the service. It got the community talking about Wales Air Ambulance which was brilliant.”

Councillor Bonera has a lot of experience organising events, but says the process was made easier because of the support given by the charity. She said: “I think because of my history of organising events from scratch, from the flyers to the raffles, to approaching people, to advertising on Facebook I find it very easy.

“But for those with no experience, the website and fundraising pack provided explains itself and really helps.”

The charity, which is funded by the people of Wales, relies entirely on charitable donations to raise £11.2 million every year to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road across Wales.

Mark Stevens, Wales Air Ambulance’s Head of Fundraising, said: “A huge thank you to the St Dials community for supporting Catherine and Steve’s Coffee and Cake event!

“It sounds like it was a team effort, and we are delighted that so many people enjoyed the day..

“A special thank you goes to Catherine and Steve for hosting. These sorts of events are key to helping us raise our fundraising target of £11.2 million each year, enabling us to serve the people of Wales, and save lives.”