Members of the NI Commercial Cattle Exhibitors’ Club have committed to raising funds for Air Ambulance NI through the forthcoming Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon 2023 later this month, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.
The club has entered two teams of five to take part in the relay, which consists of five legs ranging between 4.1 miles and 7.4 miles, while a further five members will partake in the 8-mile walk.
The 26.2-mile marathon route runs through all four areas of Belfast: north, south, east, and west, starting at Stormont Estate and finishing in Ormeau Park.
Air Ambulance NI is the chosen dedicated charity partner for the marathon, which will take place on Sunday, April 30th, 2023, to help fund the life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service.
Speaking ahead of the charity event, Alise Callaghan, active member of the NI Commercial Cattle Exhibitors’ Club, told our resident editor:
“We decided as a club at the beginning of the year to raise money for a charity close to the farming community.”
“Over the past few years, the club has raised money for different charity organisations through raffles, etc., and this year, we decided to do something different, which is why we entered the marathon.”
“Some team members are from sporting backgrounds, and some are complete beginners, but we see it as a chance to get out of our comfort zone and raise money for a great cause.”
“Some of us are more natural athletes than others, and I am definitely in the others category, but as a group, we have been getting out and training over the past few months.”
“As we are from farming backgrounds and spring can be a particularly busy time on-farm, getting the training in can be difficult but as a group, we have made an effort to get the training in.”
About the cause
Air Ambulance NI is a charity which works in partnership with the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Service (NIAS) to provide a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the region, with more than 3,400 taskings since July 2017.
The charity’s operational helicopter carries a crew compiling pilot, a doctor and a paramedic, 365 days a year, operating for twelve hours a day.
Alise continued: “It has helped many people since its establishment and indeed many people within the farming community.”
“We are all aware of the frequency of farming accidents and just how dangerous a farmyard can be.”
“The Air Ambulance NI relies heavily on donations from the public with estimated costs of £5,500/day, and over £2 million per year is needed to keep the service running.”
“It relies entirely on support from the public and local businesses. At a recent visit to the Air Ambulance base site, members of our marathon team got a real insight into the service it provides.”
“Whilst at the site, the air ambulance received a call. The speed and efficiency of the team and the service were unbelievable.”
“The helicopter was en-route to the scene of the emergency within a matter of minutes of receiving the call and would have been able to reach even the furthest points of Northern Ireland within 25 minutes.”
“This really brought it home to us how great the service is and how privileged the people of Northern Ireland are to have this service,” she added.
“Donations can be made through our dedicated Just Giving page, which you can access by clicking this link.”
“We started our fundraising at our annual dinner dance this year and are hoping to build on this in the run-up to the race. Any donations, big or small, are really appreciated,” Alise concluded.