A young Llanrug woman has donated £1,000 to the Wales Air Ambulance after her plans to volunteer in a school in Patagonia were cancelled.

Elain Williams, 18, who is a former pupil from Ysgol Brynrefail, was chosen by URDD to volunteer in a primary school in Patagonia in October 2020. Due to the pandemic and its restrictions her mission was sadly cancelled.

To make Elain’s mission a success she had to fundraiser, which included bag packing in the local Morrisons store, selling a date from a diary with monetary gift to the winner, holding a St David’s Day coffee morning at Ysgol Brynrefail and she sold refreshments and raffles in one of the Urdd's local Eisteddfod.

Before Elain’s fundraising was restricted and her mission cancelled Elain had raised £1,250.

Elain then received permission to donate the funds to charity and she chose to gift £1,000 to the Wales Air Ambulance. The remaining money was given to the school and other local charities. 

Elain said: “I was very disappointed that the trip had to be cancelled as it would have been a great experience. I was very lucky to be chosen out of over 100 applicants. It was going to be a trip of a lifetime and it was something I had dreamt of for years.  It would have been a massive achievement having the opportunity to communicate and work alongside of the Welsh culture there.

“I chose Wales Air Ambulance as it needs donations to be able to offer the service.  It is a service that no one knows when they might need it therefore it's a good cause.”

Elain is now taking a year off before considering going to university in the future. 

Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’. The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care.

Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep the helicopters flying.

Elain recently presented the cheque to the Wales Air Ambulance medics at the Charity’s Caernarfon Airbase.

“I enjoyed the airbase visit and the staff were very nice and grateful for the donation. They were ready to answer any questions.”

Alwyn Jones, Community Fundraiser of Wales Air Ambulance said: “I have known Elain and her family for years and have been witness at a distance to her growing up into a mature and very level-headed young lady. This is a lovely decision by her to redirect most of her fundraising originally intended for her Patagonia mission to the Wales Air Ambulance. 

“A heartfelt thanks to you Elain and the very best wishes when you decide on your academic future/studies.” 

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.