2021 is already looking brighter at Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) as new and exciting fundraising plans are already in motion. Last year, shortly after the cancellation of many of their traditional events, the team at DAA found that lots of their supporters were still eager to help and raise as much money as they could to help bolster the charity’s loss of funds due to Covid-19.  

Fundraiser, Linda Gilbert from Ogwell near Newton Abbot, astounded everyone at DAA by making face coverings since the early days of the pandemic and still hasn’t stopped. Linda said:

“I love fabric but decided I had too much, so wondered what I could make. At the same time a lovely neighbour, who is a midwife, asked if I could possibly make her a few masks for work and that’s how it all  began. I saw an opportunity not only to help people by making 100% cotton masks, but also to raise money  for a charity.

I am from a Devon family and am very, very proud of my county. The idea of combining the two, mask making and helping DAA sprung into my mind. I thought I might be able to donate £500! Well, the rest is history and I soon hope to reach £10,000!

I have been so heartened by the overwhelming support I have had and at every juncture. People have been  delighted to help our wonderful local charity and so have I. 2020 has been a difficult year for all but a year  where there has been a very positive and rewarding outcome from my sewing machine and me!”

Last year, with the restrictions surrounding fundraising events and gatherings, ‘virtual’ events began to emerge more frequently and DAA was quick to react to their supporters’ offer of help by launching the Base2Base challenge in June. This was a 40-mile challenge (the distance between their two air bases) which could be completed over a month by any means. Despite the restrictions, intrepid travellers of all ages - on foot, on horseback, on 2 wheels and even one - raised an incredible £8k. 

Due to the huge success and participation of the event, DAA is planning its next soon-to-be-announced, fun fitness challenge which will take place in the Spring. So, as we leap into a new year, it’s time to get the trainers, hiking boots and comfy shoes or relevant transport at the ready as this challenge will be open to families and fundraisers of any age to join in. 

Heléna Holt, CEO of Devon Air Ambulance, said:

“We were so sorry to have to announce the cancellation of our three main fundraising events last year and  after doing so, we quickly needed to do all we could to find other ways to maintain our income, and the   service we provide for the people of Devon. We were absolutely thrilled, that despite the pandemic   affecting people in all sorts of ways, they strongly supported our first virtual event, which attracted not only  some very keen fitness enthusiasts but also lots of young children and families having lots of fun, which was  lovely to see.

Our next challenge will be just as good, if not better and hopefully, as the weather becomes brighter and the days a little longer, you will feel like springing into action and raising more, much needed funds for your air  ambulance service.”

More details about the next DAA Challenge will be available on the DAA website www.daat.org and social media channels soon.

If you have a great idea for a Covid-safe fundraiser, don’t keep it to yourself – let the team at DAA know at [email protected] and they may be able to help you share your idea or get it off the ground. To find out more about Linda’s Face coverings and the latest styles available visit her Facebook page.