Thursday 2 July 2020

Being a Welsh Ambulance first responder requires you to be the first on the scene and there is always a chance you could be treating someone you know. Damian Williams experienced just that when he was sent out on a shout to help someone who was having a heart attack – only to find out it was his grandad.

In his role, Damian called the Wales Air Ambulance for support but despite both their efforts his grandfather, John Williams, tragically died. To show his support to the medics who tried so hard to save his much-loved grandad, he has raised funds for the lifesaving charity.

He fundraised by holding a live online DJ set on Facebook. Viewers were treated to five hours of ‘Going through the decades with Damo’, and at one-point 1,000 viewers had tuned in, including locals and friends who normally holiday in Wales.

Damian, 37, who works and lives on the family-run Caerddaniel Caravan Park in Barmouth, Gwynedd, has smashed his £1,600 target by raising £1,920 so far.

After seeing the Wales Air Ambulance emergency appeal, the first responder wanted to do something to help, especially after their efforts to help his grandfather.

The dad-of-two, who has been a community first responder for 11 years, said: “3 years ago they came out to help me when I was on a call to a heart attack, which happened to be my grandad. Unfortunately, there was nothing more we could do for him and he passed away. So I’ve always wanted to show my appreciation by helping them raise money.

“I thought why not have some fun with music for all ages and try and help the Wales Air Ambulance raise some much-needed money. The Charity serves our communities in Wales and people that come here to visit us on holiday. I know that the service they provide is much needed in these rural areas where the nearest hospitals are a good few hours away by road.

“I have done a couple of jobs where they have attended, and I think they are amazing. I have found out that one flight to a single patient is on average £1,600, so I’ve set my go fund me at that.”

Damian is extremely happy with the amount of money he has raised and hopes ‘it saves a life’.  He added: ‘The Public support was absolutely fantastic, and I can’t thank them all enough for supporting me. Everyone locally and many of the tourists who contributed to it know how much we rely on the Wales Air Ambulance here in Barmouth. I’m blown away with the money raised, I didn’t think that I would get anywhere near the amount - it is truly amazing. I hope this money helps the Charity and it makes a difference to someone.”

Lynne Garlick, the Charity’s North Wales Fundraising Manager, said: “We are extremely grateful for the support Damian has shown our charity. It is incredible to hear that despite Damian’s loss and what he experienced that day, he still wanted to show his support to our medics. It sounds like a lot of people enjoyed his DJ set and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported this fundraiser.”

You can sponsor Damian via his Go Fund Me page - Wales Air Ambulance Damo through the decades here.