A small team from the farming world has raised a whopping £10,000 in aid of Air Ambulance NI, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.
Renowned Portadown estate agent, suckler farmer, cattle judge and livestock commentator, Libby Clarke, from Magheralin, signed up for the Belfast Marathon ahead of undergoing a hip replacement in December due to injuries received by an intruder attack on her farm nearly a decade ago.
Spurred on by this well-known livestock auctioneer, Richard Beattie, John Long and Cappagh YFC members Adam Wilson, Matthew Wilson and Jason Sproule, got on board with the idea of pushing a bed around the 8-mile route.
The team travelled to the starting point of Stormont Buildings, Belfast, where the bed caused quite a stir.
They were the last people to start the course, but they soon progressed through the field as the team kept pace at a spirited rate.
The atmosphere on the day was just fantastic, with well-wishers lining the route and cheering on competitors along the way.
From the moment the team announced their intention to take part in the Belfast City Marathon, friends and family dug deep to support their chosen cause of the Air Ambulance NI. The final tally has been revealed at £10,000.
Libby – who has previously appeared on Rare Breeding – A Farming Year, told Catherina Cunnane of www.thatsfarming.com:
“We are indebted to the overwhelming generosity of everyone who donated. It really is very humbling to see just how kind people are.”
“What is perhaps not widely known is that the Air Ambulance NI is a charity and relies heavily on fundraising to keep the service flying.”
“It costs £2.5 million each year. The AW109 helicopter can reach anywhere in the province in approximately 25 minutes, and the rapid response is vital in an emergency situation.”
“If a patient reaches hospital within the ‘golden hour’ (60 minutes after their injury), their chances of survival are dramatically increased.”
“Given that farming is one of the most hazardous occupations, the agri community is grateful for the AANI on a regular basis with 3.5 calls per week to a farm in NI.”
“For a farmer, ‘marathon’ and ‘Belfast’ are two words that are not used too frequently, but it seemed like the ideal event to push myself out of my comfort zone and raise vital monies for the Air Ambulance NI.”
“I was attacked on my farm almost nine years ago and knew early on that there would be repercussions down the line due to the severity of the injuries received at that time.”
“However, this meant that I just had to push myself harder to get training in before the marathon,” she concluded.