High Sheriff 's "Ribble Way" to raise funds for North West Air Ambulance

Lancashire's High Sheriff has stepped in to help raise funds for the North West Air Ambulance service after the pandemic hits its 21st birthday fundraising plans.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 3:45 pm

The High Sheriff of Lancashire Catherine Penny and her husband Andrew have been putting their best feet forward this week.

For while many people are busy with last minute Christmas preparations the couple have been on some very special journeys ...to raise funds for and awareness of the North West Air Ambulance.

They say they also want to thank the NWAA for the work it does,

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Lancashire's High Sheriff Catherine Penny, (pictured far right) steps out on the latest stage of her fundraising walk for the North West Air Ambulance, accompanied by husband Andrew and her p.a. Jude Turner Photo:Kelvin Stuttard

Catherine stepped in to help boost funds after the Coronavirus pandemic hit the charity’s 21st birthday fundraising plans.

She decided to walk the Lancashire part of the Ribble Way, opting to walk 63 km (“three x 21”).

Then she persuaded the north west region’s other High Sheriffs to do their own walks or support the charitable fundraising under the NWAA Go21! Challenge banner.

Catherine said: “It was my idea - the others got involved. Part of our remit as High Sheriff is to support the emergency services and the voluntary sector, so of course the North West Air Ambulance ticks both boxes. It’s a charity completely but also very much an emergency service.”

Catherine Penny and husband Andrew (left) and Catherine's p.a. Jude Turner preparing to set off on the Ribchester - Samlesbury section of the fundraising walk, watched by the High Sheriff's chaplain Brian McConkey, who is Rector of Ribchester. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

John Robert, High Sheriff of Merseyside will be walking the Wirral Way twice and Julie Barton, High Sheriff of Cumbria, will walk 21 miles in the footsteps of the Air Ambulance following its path from Coniston to Furness General Hospital. Greater Manchester High Sheriff Eamonn O’Neal and Cheshire High Sheriff Nick Hopkinson are also supporting.

Catherine’s husband Andrew said:“In November the Air Ambulance flew 181 missions - and it costs £25,000 to fuel the service for a month. Most people don’t realise it’s a charity. They think they are part of the NHS.”

Each year the charity attends 2,000 calls and needs to raise £9.5m a year to keeps its service in the air.

Catherine and Andrew have opted to walk the 63km Lancashire section of the Ribble Way from Paythorne to Longton, split over seven days between December 12 and 28 .

Catherine said: “We have raised £6,500 - if we could get to £10,000 ... that’s probably pipe dreaming!”

So far this year the North West Air Ambulance has attended 2372 call outs, of which 707 were in Lancashire.

The charity serves a population of 8.5 m people. In November alone it carried out 181 missions across the north west attending: 52 road traffic collisions , four sport/leisure emergencies, 29 medical calls, 41 accidental injuries, two hospital transfers and 53 other incidents. (RTC)

* To support the High Sheriff’s Go21! challenge see https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hsgo21 or click here* The NWAA is hoping for more supportnext year for its fundraising despite lockdown. A spokesperson said: "There’s plenty of ways to be creative – from virtual running events to our Go21! Challenge – we’re looking forward to adventuring into the virtual world together! Contact [email protected] for more information – we’re still here to help you bring your event to life in a safe and socially distanced way!"

Our photograph shows Catherine and Andrew, and Jude, being seen off on the Ribchester- Samlesbury leg of the walk from by St Wilfrid's Rectory by the High Sheriff's chaplain Canon Brian McConkey.

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