An £20,000 appeal launched by a weekly newspaper to support an air ambulance service has been extended after reaching its target in four months.
The Cumberland News launched its SkyCall Appeal in January with the aim of raising £20,000 to buy two portable ultrasound units for the Great North Air Ambulance Service.
But the target was hit earlier this month (May) and now the Carlisle-based title is aiming to raise a further £40,000 throughout the rest of its anniversary year to buy two state-of-the-art defibrillators.
The appeal was launched as the Cumberland News marks 200 years since its launch as the Carlisle Patriot and a series of events are taking place throughout the year to celebrate this.
In a story about the appeal, editor David Helliwell said: “We only launched the appeal in January and to raise £20,000 in such a short space of time is testament to both the generosity of our readers and the value they place on the work of the air ambulance team.
“We’re delighted the kit paid for by our readers has already proved its worth which is why we’ve decided to press on with the campaign throughout our 200th year to ensure the team has the best possible equipment to help save lives.”
The £20,000 raised has bought two portable ultrasound units, one for the Pride of Cumbria helicopter and another for a rapid response car, which can give medics a clearer picture of injuries or the needs of heart patients.
Grahame Pickering, chief executive of GNAAS, said: “We’ve been amazed by the response to SkyCall and we’re absolutely thrilled that we’ve been given the opportunity to renew our partnership with The Cumberland News.
“This money will make a real difference to people’s lives and will without doubt benefit the whole of Cumbria.”
The two defibrillators which will be bought if a further £40,000 is raised will allow medics to resuscitate patients as well as monitoring oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body. One would be based on the helicopter and the other in a rapid response car.
The Cumberland News is also offering a £5,000 one-off grant to a worthy cause from its charitable trust as part of its anniversary celebrations.