IT all started when the Kent Air Ambulance was called to an incident at The Red Lion in Lenham and landed outside.
Now, 25 years on, staff and customers at the pub in The Square have fittingly raised more than £25,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance as it celebrates its Silver Jubilee.
This year alone they raised £4,000 for the air ambulance from their annual harvest auction in which locals bid for home-made produce including jams, pickles and chutneys.
Landlady Nicole Mills said: “I'm always flabbergasted by the generosity of the donations and people bidding their hard-earned money to buy all the items in such hard economic times.”
This year’s harvest auction, golf days and meat raffles raised a grand total of £7,000 which will also go to Heart of Kent Hospice, Demelza Hospice for Children, Cancer Research, Macmillan Cancer Support, the RNLI, Riding for the Disabled, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Trust, the Royal British Legion and Battersea Cat and Dogs Home.
Kent Air Ambulance was first launched from its former base at Rochester Airport in December, 1989, and has helped thousands of people and saved many lives after attending more than 25,000 callouts over the last quarter of a century.
Each helicopter callout costs about £2,500 so the grand total of £32,319 raised by The Red Lion will help potentially save 13 lives.
Community Fundraising Officer Veronica Wiseman said: “As a charity we rely almost entirely on donations and the goodwill of the public to help keep the helicopter flying.
“We are enormously grateful to everyone at The Red Lion for their longstanding support which has made such a difference to the lives of the people of Kent.”