Monday, 8 December 2014

Lions on track to help keep Air Ambulance flying at night

Photo: Members of Tonbridge Lions Club pictured at a cheque presentation to the Air Ambulance at Tonbridge School

Lion-hearted fundraisers have given Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s night flying appeal a £4,404 cash boost from this year’s Tonbridge Triathlon.

Lions clubs across the South East have pledged to raise £250,000 for the Marden-based charity helicopter over 10 years to help ensure the 24-hour service continues.

The funds will be a significant contribution towards the additional £1million-a-year cost of night flying which was launched last year (December 18th).

Tonbridge Lions, organisers of the town’s annual triathlon at Tonbridge School, chose the air ambulance as the sole beneficiary from this year’s event programme and sponsorship monies raised.

Last month (November 28th), they handed over their £4,404 donation to Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland, at the High Street school.

Triathlon chairman Tom Simmons said: “Tonbridge Lions aim is to organise an event that is enjoyed by the competitors and their supporters alike while having the opportunity to raise money for local charities.

After many years of experience we feel justly proud of this event which is well regarded in the Triathlon calendar.

“This year we focused on the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and donated the proceeds from the event programme to boost funds for their night flying appeal. We also encouraged competitors to seek sponsorship to raise further funds for the air ambulance which entrants were happy to do.

“We were very pleased to see members of their fundraising team at our event as were the competitors and their families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended which made the event such a success.”

Tonbridge School’s sports complex was used by the Australian Olympic team as a training base for the London 2012 games.

Competitors in this year’s triathlon were given the choice of a sprint consisting of a 400-metre swim, 25km ride and 5km run or the standard route at double the distance.

Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland said: “We would like to thank all the runners, swimmers and cyclists who put in such a lung-busting effort, and of course Tonbridge Lions for their continued and much-valued support.”

Tonbridge was the first Lions club launched in the UK in 1949 and has raised more than £275,000 for charity in the last 10 years. The triathlon alone has raised more than £125,000 over 24 years.

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