Alton Towers victim Leah backs air ambulance appeal

ALTON TOWERS crash victim Leah Washington has asked people to support a new fundraising drive for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Sam Silverwood (left) of Yorkshire Air Ambulance with leah Washington, Joe Pugh and Gemma Newbould of the Co-operative Bank

The 18-year-old from Barnsley, who lost a leg in the accident, has been keen to raise awareness and money for the rapid response emergency service after being treated on the scene and airlifted to hospital by air ambulance paramedics.

Leah’s grandmother Thelma Walton asked their local Co-operative Bank to support a fundraising event the teenager had organized with fellow crash victim Joe Pugh.

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That has now led to a special festive campaign, running across 86 branches in the North of England and Scotland until December 11, to raise funds for local air ambulance charities.

In Yorkshire, ten Co-operative Bank branches are taking part. All money raised for Yorkshire Air Ambulance by the branches in York, Rotherham, Sheffield, Bradford, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Wakefield and Harrogate will be match-funded by the Bank.

Leah said: “All the branches will be trying to raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance which is just brilliant.

“It’s so important to support them. The air ambulance is something you never think you will ever need but I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me.”

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA), which provides a rapid response emergency service to five million people, needs to raise £12,000 each day to keep its two helicopters flying – equivalent to £4.4m a year.

The YAA operates two helicopters from bases in West and North Yorkshire and in its 15-year history has transported more than 6,400 patients.

Gemma Newbould, fundraising ambassador for the Co-operative Bank Yorkshire Region, said: “Leah’s grandmother is a customer and she approached the bank to support Air Ambulance charities after the service played a vital role in rescuing Leah from the crashed rollercoaster at Alton Towers earlier this year.

“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance will benefit from monies raised by branches within the region and we hope that staff and customers will prove they are stronger together in order to reach our target of £5,200.”

Each branch will be holding fund raising events and you can also support the Yorkshire campaign through its Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/coop-bank-air-ambulance-yorkshire2015