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Air Ambulance Service launches handbag appeal

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 19, 2014

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CHARITABLE people with handbags to spare have been urged to donate their unwanted accessories to help keep air ambulances flying.

The Air Ambulance Service has called on Mail readers to donate enough handbags to the charity’s shop in Swadlincote’s High Street to fill one of its Agusta 109 helicopters.

The charity launched the drive after revealing it sold almost 2,000 handbags just in April last year – which works out at more than 60 a day.

Now, it has appealed for handbags of all shapes, sizes and styles to be donated, from totes to shoulder bags, clutches and satchels.

Senior retail area manager, Hannah Coventry said the sale of the goods was vital for the charity to maintain its fleet.

She said: “The sale of handbags alone last April helped us to raise over £7,400;.

“That was enough money to help cover the cost of four lifesaving rescue missions.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of the local communities, without their generous donations our trading simply wouldn’t be possible.

“We now need everyone to get on board with our handbag donation drive and help us fill our helicopter with handbags and help us to raise even more money this spring.”

On average, air ambulance pilots, paramedics and doctors attend three rescue missions every day at the cost of £1,700 each.

The charity has 28 charity boutiques cross the country which help to raise vital funds for the services it runs.

Of these, 11 shops are located in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, which sell items donated from the public to keep the region’s air ambulance service airborne.

Former star of the television show The Apprentice, Claire Young, has spoken out in support of the campaign.

She said: “If my unwanted items can make a small difference to someone’s life that’s fantastic.

“To help as much as I can I’ll be asking all of my family and friends to hand in their handbags too.”

Anyone who would like more information can visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/shopping

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