Mayor ‘flies in’ to support Air Ambulance charity

Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves

Wed 31st January 2024

The Mayor of Amber Valley Borough Council has stated that he is on a mission to maximise his year in civic office by raising funds for two local charities, one of which is the region’s Air Ambulance Service.
Councillor Tony Holmes, who steps down as Mayor of Amber Valley Borough Council in May, recently made a flying visit to the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance’s flagship superstore – The Hanger – in Nottingham Road, Somercotes, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in February.
A spokesman for the council said: “The mayor has already raised around £2,000 in donations since last May for the Air Ambulance and his other chosen charity, The League of Friends of Ripley Hospital, but he is doubling his fundraising efforts before his tenure ends.
“Both charities were selected primarily because of the extremely close bonds they share with the local communities of Alfreton, Somercotes and Ripley.
“The Hanger, for example, which sells a huge range of new and used discount goods, also contains a children’s play area and busy café, The Landing Pad, which is used by numerous community groups and often as a place for people to meet and stay warm during the winter.”
Councillor Holmes said: “When I first set foot in The Hanger in 2019 when I was Mayor of Ripley, I was blown away by the size of it. But more importantly, charity superstores like this are incredible community assets.
“Money is tight, and I can’t see signs of things getting better at the moment, so to have a place where people can buy things more cheaply, while supporting an extremely worthy local cause, is something we should all celebrate.
“I would urge everyone in Amber Valley and surrounding areas to give what they can to support the Air Ambulance – both in terms of cash and donations of any unwanted items they may have at home. And, of course, if you haven’t visited The Hanger yet, I guarantee you’ll be impressed by it.”
The Hanger receives hundreds of donations daily via its on-site ‘Donation Station’ and through arranged collections. Items can range from clothing and toys to bric-a-brac, homeware and furniture. The store even sells brand new household appliances such as cookers, washing machines and fridge-freezers.
Tina Allen, manager of The Hanger, said that the superstore’s record donation in a single day was 1,000 bags of goods. All items are counted, checked and collated prior to going on sale and sometimes any excess items are shared with other Air Ambulance charity stores in the region.
The Somercotes store turned over more than £1 million last year. But, to put that in context, the lifesaving service carries out more than 3,000 missions every year, each of which costs around £3,500.
Tina said: “Without the many workers, medics, pilots, fundraisers and volunteers who make the Air Ambulance Service happen, thousands of lives every year would potentially be lost.
“But this comes at a financial cost. So, every single penny given and every single item donated to our stores is so important to us – and to the community. You never know when you might need an Air Ambulance, so please donate what you can.
“We’re so grateful to the Mayor of Amber Valley for making us one of his chosen charities during his year in office.”
Councillor Holmes is planning to host a civic dinner and other fundraising events for the Air Ambulance and Ripley Hospital’s League of Friends between now and April.
Meanwhile, anyone who would like to support the Mayor’s chosen charities can email for more details.

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