A kind-hearted Pontardawe schoolgirl laced up her walking to shoes to complete 100km in May for a lifesaving charity.

Seven-year-old Kara Richards, a pupil at Rhyd-y-Fro Primary School, took on the Wales Air Ambulance’s Walk Wales challenge last month and raised over £700.

The Walk Wales 2022 -100km in May virtual challenge allowed ‘walkers’ the chance to either get out and about and explore Wales or to get their steps in at home, doing gardening, taking the dog for a walk, or even walking up and down the stairs!   

Kara’s mum, Natalie, originally signed herself up for the month-long challenge, but soon found that Kara wanted to take part too

Natalie said: “I signed up to do the Walk Wales Challenge and Kara came on the walks with me.  She asked if she could take part and raise money too. She said, ‘Mummy, if we both do it it’s double the money!”

Kara has had an interest in the Wales Air Ambulance since lockdown when she saw the Charity’s helicopters flying overhead several times, and started to ask her family questions about the organisation.

Natalie and Kara both went on the Wales Air Ambulance website to find out more information, where they watched patient videos and read all about its lifesaving work.

Generous Kara then donated her pocket money to the cause, and later completed a poster project and wrote about the essential work the Charity does for the people of Wales, as part of her home-learning.

This is Kara’s first fundraiser for Charity - and Natalie believes it won’t be her last either.

She added: “I am so incredibly proud of her.  She came out with me in all weather, rain or shine, and never complained when I dragged her on the long walks.  She’s even walked around the playground at school during lunch to get her kilometres in.

“She said Walk Wales has been ‘good fun’ and she’s ‘enjoyed the exercise and time with Mummy’.

“Kara always makes it easy for us to be proud of her, but we’re so proud of her determination and dedication to completing the Walk Wales Challenge and all the money she has raised for the Charity. She’s our little star!”

The Wales Air Ambulance celebrated its 21st anniversary on St David’s Day 2022. Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its emergency helicopters flying and its Rapid Response Vehicle’s on the road.

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. 

Elin Wyn Murphy, Events and Partnerships Fundraiser for Wales Air Ambulance, added: “Congratulations to Kara and Natalie for completing their Walk Wales challenge.100km in May is a challenge for anyone, let alone a seven-year-old. Kara was so dedicated she was even getting her steps in during her school lunch break.

“It’s wonderful how Kara, at such a young age, understands the important work of the Wales Air Ambulance. To Kara - you’re a superstar, and you should be very proud of yourself! Thank you so much for supporting us. Every penny you’ve raised will help people who need us.”

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.