Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Seaton support for air ambulance

ONE of the joys of this job is to see at first hand just how hard so many people work to improve the lot of others.

Elsewhere in this column I write about the good deeds of the Rotary movement, especially their support for  Shelterbox, the international relief charity that delivers emergency shelter, warmth and dignity to people affected by disaster worldwide.

Another charity which receives wonderful support from this area and which would come near the top of most people’s favourite causes is the Devon Air Ambulance.

The service which has saved a countless number of lives since its formation in 1992 came about after an 18-year-old cyclist died in a crash. 

When his mother asked doctors at the hospital whether there was anything that might have been done to save her son, she was told that the quicker a patient receives emergency medical treatment, the better the chance there is of survival.

Six years later the first Devon Air Ambulance went into operation. Now there are two helicopters flying seven days a week at a cost of £4.5 million a year.

That money comes entirely from voluntary contributions and fundraising events with hundreds of people around the county working tirelessly to keep the helicopters operational.

People like Colin Pearce who has been collecting for Devon Air Ambulance for around 15 years. A couple of years ago Colin got a few friends together to form the Seaton Devon Air Ambulance Support Group to organise a week of events to boost local financial support.

The week was a great success, raising several thousands of pounds and has now become an annual event. 

On Saturday, Colin and his loyal supporters got together at the Eyre Court Hotel to celebrate raising £5,000 at last August’s event and to thank all those who had worked so hard. 

Colin and his team are already planning next summer’s week-long programme which they hope will be just as successful in the knowledge that every pound raised goes towards saving a life. 

I’M SPENDING most Saturday afternoons at Sector Lane covering the Tigers for our sports section which is never a chore. The Carpetmen play in Division One of the South West Peninsular League, the highest standard in this part of the world, and on Saturday found themselves in the giddy heights of second place.

Although resigned to moving to their new ground in Chard Road at some time in the future, there’s a real buzz around Sector Lane this season. Good sized crowds and plenty of banter.

Things are also going well down at Cloakham Lawn where Millwey Rise are playing for the first time in the Perry Street Premier League and more than holding their own, despite losing to my home town team Lyme Regis 5-1 on Saturday (had to get that one in!).

Both sides run a Reserves team and have burgeoning youth set-ups and with Beer and Seaton both in the Devon & Exeter Premier League, it makes me wonder whether football has ever been stronger in the Axe Valley. Long may it continue.

Rotarians, always there, always helping

I’VE always been a huge admirer of the Rotary movement. I shudder to think how many Rotary-organised events I have covered over the years and could not start to make an estimation of how much money they have raised in our community during that time.

The Rotary movement is truly worldwide with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs in 200 countries.  In Great Britain and Ireland there are 1,850 clubs comprising 53,000 members, men and women of all ages and backgrounds.

East Devon has grown accustomed over the years to the good deeds of our local Rotary Clubs, supporting worthy causes, honouring community leaders, encouraging others to help themselves and collecting to ease pain and suffering all over the world. Their support for the brilliant Shelterbox charity has been awe inspiring.

Rarely a week passes without Rotarians being seen out in the streets or organising an event such as the Swimathon at Sidmouth on Saturday evening which has raised huge sums over the last five years. 

The swimathon attracted 24 sponsored teams who had to swim 55 laps of the pool, raising money to help Sidmouth Scouts in their move to new headquarters on Salcombe Hill.

I popped over to Sidmouth to cover the event for our Sidmouth edition and it was clear that the Rotarians had the organisation down to a tee, always a hallmark of Rotary events.

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