Belfast Telegraph

Co Armagh family raise nearly £10k for air ambulance in memory of dad

A family in County Armagh has raised almost £10,000 for the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland in memory of their late father Jim Russell.
A family in County Armagh has raised almost £10,000 for the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland in memory of their late father Jim Russell.

By Gillian Halliday

A Co Armagh family has raised almost £10,000 for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland in memory of their late father.

Last autumn Jim Russell (65), from Tandragee, suffered trauma to the brain close to his home and the Air Ambulance was tasked to the scene.

Its medics put the farmer into an induced coma but sadly the grandfather — who was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast — passed away due to the brain injury.

For the past year Mr Russell’s family - including his daughter Diane Murdoch - have carried out a series of fundraising events to raise funds for the charity.

She told the Belfast Telegraph that she was very grateful to the Air Ambulance for the care shown to her late father.

“Even though he wasn’t transported (to hospital) by air ambulance, the medics were at the scene and it made everything more comfortable for him,” she said.

Since Mr Russell’s  passing, Air Ambulance NI has also come to the aid of another member of the family. Diane’s nephew, Jordan Murdoch (10), who sustained a cracked pelvis after being involved in a scrambler bike accident.

The charity, which provides Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS),  was tasked to the scene and fortunately Jordan has since made a full recovery.

“We never thought we would need the air ambulance but our family has needed it twice in one year,” stressed Diane.

“We wanted to raise money for Air Ambulance NI in memory of my father and give back to the charity after all they’ve done for us.

A family in County Armagh has raised almost £10,000 for the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland in memory of their late father Jim Russell. Pictured are Jim's daughters Diane Murdoch and Kerri Russell as well as their mum and Jim's wife, Linda Russell.
A family in County Armagh has raised almost £10,000 for the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland in memory of their late father Jim Russell. Pictured are Jim's daughters Diane Murdoch and Kerri Russell as well as their mum and Jim's wife, Linda Russell.
A family in County Armagh has raised almost £10,000 for the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland in memory of their late father Jim Russell. Pictured are Jim's daughters Diane Murdoch and Kerri Russell as well as their mum and Jim's wife, Linda Russell.

Starting off with reaching an initial fundraising target of £1,000, the family raised a further £9,000 in less than six months by holding a pub quiz as well as participating in the Belfast City Marathon Fun Run this year,

A car wash, bun sale and fancy dress day held by Tandragee pre-school   Kids Academy in Tandragee, where Jim’s grandkids attend, raised over £2,000.  

The family now plans to hold fundraising events next year.

“The charity relies on public support, so I would urge families across Northern Ireland to donate to Air Ambulance NI because you never know what’s around the corner and you never know when you’re going to need help,” she added.

 Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, has thanked the Russell family for their “amazing donation”.

“We are so grateful to the family for choosing to fundraise and raise awareness about the Air Ambulance at what is a very difficult time,” she explained.

“It costs £2m per year to keep the air ambulance service operational and every donation is welcome.  The air ambulance is there for every one of us and is needed on average for one or two serious trauma incidents daily.”

The charity works in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) and responds to seriously ill or injured patients 12 hours a day, seven days per week from its base at the Maze, just outside Lisburn.

Since it started operating, the HEMS team has been tasked 999 times throughout Northern Ireland.

To find out more about Air Ambulance NI please visit www.airambulanceni.org or call 028 9262 2677.

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