A new emergency vehicle for the British Red Cross in Northamptonshire has been bought with £35,000 raised by campaigners.
The appeal was launched last year and the team held a series of events in and around Northampton, including a sponsored abseil, art exhibition, talks and coffee mornings. One campaigner swam the English Channel for the appeal, and donations have also been made by a variety of trusts and foundations.
British Red Cross president for Northamptonshire, Lady Judy Ellwood from Church Stowe, led the team of fund-raisers.
“We’re delighted that we can provide such a fantastic new vehicle for the volunteers to use,” she says. “We know it’s going to help a lot of people in Northamptonshire. I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful team to work with - we would like to thank all the generous people who have helped us raise the funds.”
The specially adapted vehicle will be used by a team of 20 local Red Cross volunteers to support families and individuals in Northamptonshire who are affected by house fires, floods or other emergencies.
Ray Lunt, 36, was helped by Red Cross volunteers after the kitchen at his home in East Hunsbury caught fire in April this year. “The simple fact of having the Red Cross volunteers there made such a massive impact,” he said.
“My brother-in-law and I tried to fight the flames before the fire service arrived so our clothes were badly smoke damaged and we were covered in soot. They gave me some fresh clothes and some information about people we could call to help sort things out.
“Just having someone to talk to really calmed us down. Thankfully our friends rallied round to help us, but I have no doubt that the situation would have been much harder without the Red Cross.”
Operations director for the Red Cross in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Joy Clift-Hill said: “We would like to thank Lady Ellwood and her team for donating the new vehicle which is essential part of the service.
“Our volunteers make a big difference to people like Roy – their help can be vital in the first few hours after a crisis like a fire or flood. The new vehicle means that we’re even better prepared to help people in Northamptonshire, should they need our support.”
So far this year, the service has been called out to 71 incidents in Northamptonshire, helping over 160 people and 41 family pets, including fish and a giant lizard. Volunteers have attended a range of incidents, including floods, explosions, boat fires and even house fires caused by lightening.
To find out more about the service or to get involved, contact service coordinator Nick Johns on NJohns@redcross.org.uk or call 0845 054 7171.
For more information on the British Red Cross visit redcross.org.uk