More lives could be saved by the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance thanks to a sky-high donation of more than £160,000 which will boost funds to help it fly 24/7.

Lincolnshire Co-op colleagues and members all got onboard to make sure the Society’s Community Champions fundraising for the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance rocketed during spring – and it worked.

From hundreds of miles cycled and thousands of steps taken by colleagues in sponsored activities to pin badges and Gadsby’s lemon slices bought instore by customers, it all added up. In fact, it’s the highest ever total raised through the Society’s Community Champions scheme. 

A group of Lincolnshire Co-Op employees hold up signs with the amount of money raised, £160,728

Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Engagement Manager Sam Turner said: “Our colleagues and members always throw themselves into our fundraising for local good causes, but we’re delighted by how much our support for air ambulances took off.

“Thanks to the speed of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and the skill of its crew, countless lives have been saved. Our colleagues and members really took it upon themselves to say thank you together by raising this money.

“We’re immensely proud to present this total to Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, knowing that it’ll fund more of the charity’s vital work across our area.”

The funding from Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champions scheme will help Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance as it phases up from its current 7am-7pm seven day a week to 24/7 cover. It’s currently in a two-year trial to do this but must increase funds to help support the move.

The ambucopter brings highly trained medics to the scene of incidents and emergencies within minutes, taking the equivalent of an A&E department to the scene. The specialist crew provide critical care for seriously ill and injured people and can transport them to hospital in a fraction of the time taken by road. The charity does this with no direct government funding – it’s fuelled instead by generous contributions from the community.

A group of people of different ages stand in front of an ambulance with signs showing the amount of money raised, £160,728

CEO at Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance Karen Jobling said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Lincolnshire Co-op. The support shown by its customers and staff has been tremendous and the funds raised will enable our helicopter and life-saving crew to fly more missions, helping more patients in what is often their greatest hour of need.

“A huge thank you to all who have helped to raise this fantastic sum - when you see our helicopter flying across the skies, know that you have helped to make this happen and your support means so much. We hope that you’ll never need us, but if you do we will be there.”

Team Leader at Lincolnshire Co-op’s Carlton Centre Food Store in Lincoln Paul Clarke set off on a 115-mile cycle from Lincoln to Grimsby and back in May to raise money.

“As a cyclist the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance do a lot for people like me, who go out into the countryside and difficult to reach towns and villages,” he said.

“The charity does great work and it’s rewarding to know I’ve helped it. The cycling was great, and it wasn’t too tiring. I even got clapped in as I approached a few stores. I managed to raise more than £500, which is incredible as I aimed for only half of that.”

A team at Saxilby Food Store also drummed up donations with a static bike challenge instore. Two colleagues from Lincolnshire Co-op’s Head Office in Lincoln – Emma Bloor and Tiffany Allen – raised over £550 by taking on the Lincoln 10k and fellow colleague Adele Moss raised over £800 with a raffle, while funeral colleagues including those at the Society’s Tritton Road Funeral Home in Lincoln raised funds during Dying Matters Awareness Week in May.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance and Yorkshire Air Ambulance also received money from the Community Champions fundraising in spring.