Tuesday 28 January 2020

Since fundraising began in 2012, generous customers and staff of a pan-Wales and Shrewsbury-based chain of garden, home and ‘great outdoors’ stores have raised an incredible £84,528 to support the lifesaving work of air ambulance operations.

Charlies is an independent, family-run retailer with stores in Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Newtown, Queensferry, Welshpool and Shrewsbury. In the run-up to the festive period, they introduced a number of fundraising initiatives to support the air ambulance operations in Wales and in the Midlands.

The latest amount to be donated is £27,282, with an enormous £19,452 of that total going to the Wales Air Ambulance Charity.

As a part of their fundraising, £2 from the sale of every real Christmas tree was donated while bucket collections took place across the stores, and a fundraising raffle was held for staff.

The Coed-y-Dinas singing Yetis proved to be a hit with customers in the Welshpool store, while visitors to the Shrewsbury store were serenaded by snowmen. In addition, there was a flower demonstration evening, wreath-making courses and a bake sale, with all profits going towards the final total.

Charlies Stores Managing Director, Rebecca Lloyd, said: “Having raised over £15,000 in 2018 for the Wales Air Ambulance, we had certainly set ourselves a high bar to beat. Thanks to our generous customers and dedicated staff we are very pleased to say that the total amount raised in 2019 was over £19,000. We’re proud to be able to donate such a large sum of money to what is an incredibly worthy cause and look forward to trying to beat it again in 2020.”

Wales Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager, Andrew Hall said:  “We are very grateful to all at Charlies Stores for the ongoing support that they give to Wales Air Ambulance, and to the generosity of the public who donated such an incredible amount. 2020 is an important year for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity as we would like to achieve our aim of becoming a 24/7 service. With the ongoing support of organisations like Charlies, we can be available for the people of Wales day and night. We look forward to working with Charlies Stores throughout the year in other fundraising initiatives.” 

WAA was launched on St. David’s Day in 2001. From humble beginnings as a one-helicopter service, it has grown into the UK’s largest air ambulance operation with four aircraft at bases in Welshpool, Caernarfon, Llanelli and Cardiff. It is the only air ambulance charity based in, and dedicated to, Wales. The Charity is currently a 12-hour service, 8am – 8pm, but would like to become a 24/7 service in 2020. To achieve this, Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £8 million every year.

The service is now one of the most advanced in Europe. A unique Third Sector-Public Sector partnership between WAA and NHS Wales has resulted in the creation of the consultant-led Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru), more commonly known as the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’. WAA now provides pioneering pre-hospital critical and emergency medical care across Wales – taking the emergency room to the patient.