A kind hearted community joined forces to raise over £1,500 for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity in memory of neighbour Stephen Evans.

On the first day of the national lockdown in March 2020 Stephen of Powell Street, Abertillery, tragically passed away despite the efforts of the Wales Air Ambulance.

The neighbours have now adopted the Wales Air Ambulance as the street’s charity to raise funds for and have raised an amazing £1,508.50. During the summer months they held a number of socially distanced street parties.

The street, which only has 49 houses, arranged a variety of different activities including a children’s treasure hunt, raffle, bingo and quiz.

The residents have organised four street parties over 18 months, with the last three parties raising £400, £640 and £434 plus gift aid for Wales Air Ambulance.

Stephen’s wife Helen and son Jayden,11, attended the street parties, the latest party saw the residents raise £260 before the party had taken place.

Wales Air Ambulance has four aircraft based across Wales, in Dafen, Caernarfon, Welshpool and Cardiff.  

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

Neighbour Dawn Price said: “It all began on the first day of the first lockdown. It really brought home to us how hard the Wales Air Ambulance works to save lives. Some of the neighbours were leaving their houses to go to work, only to find there was an ambulance and two emergency response vehicles in the street trying to save the life of Stephen.

“An air ambulance was radioed and responded very quickly. We could not believe the speed, effort, level of communication, professionalism and sheer pressure these men and women worked under.”

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.  

Reflecting on the money raised, Dawn, said: “We were very surprised. When we did the first street party we originally wanted to raise between £200 to £300, which we thought would be a good effort. We’re overwhelmed with how much money we have raised during the parties.”

Wendy McManus, from the Wales Air Ambulance, said: “Despite suffering the loss of a much-loved neighbour, the street joined forces to raise funds for the Wales Air Ambulance and NHS. What a lovely tribute to Stephen. Thank you to every one of you, who has raised funds, donated a raffle prize and supported the Powell Street fundraiser. You’ve raised an incredible £1,508 and each donation will help us continue to be there for people when they need us most.”

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.