Musings from our Fundraising Director (North and East), Helen Callear

Today we’ve been viewing first drafts of new videos which we recently had made of our crews in action. The content is to refresh our current suite of videos and for our new sponsored promotional vehicles which are nearly ready to roll. I am again, as always blown away by the skill and commitment of the crew. Their professionalism in the face of so much stress, sometimes horror, and nowadays, also risk, is difficult to grasp for someone like me. Every day our doctors, paramedics and pilots face life changing situations in circumstances sometimes outside of their control, and yet they remain calm and focussed and people end up owing their lives to that courage under pressure.

It’s a far cry from talks, presentations, spreadsheets, gazebos and bucket collections. But as fundraisers, that is what we do and we gape in awe at the bravery of the crew-and sell some more key rings. Fundraisers know that their job is to get their heads down and follow the money. We know that we are not at the sharp end. We are fully aware that we are not for the TV screens or the limelight. We work in small groups, engaging with our generous donors with their own individual stories, with volunteers who give their time so freely and represent us so passionately. We feel proud to be part of the fabulous team that is the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and humbled by the small significance of our role, as a small facilitating cog in the big wheel which does such important life-saving work.

Then the day came when one of our paramedics said to me, when we were having such a conversation about what valuable and life extending work they do, that the crew would not be able to do anything if it were not for the fundraising team. I laughed a bit, awkwardly at the joke, but it stopped me in my tracks and did occur to me that actually it’s the partnership which is the key. The donors make it possible for the air ambulance to operate, the fundraisers and volunteers provide the conduit to this small quiet miracle and it is this hand to hand chain of events which makes such crucial work possible. It helped me to foster a kind of pride of my own team, at the strength of the colleagues we have in the role of income generation, and it makes the early starts, the long days, the chilblains and the brainstorming zoom meetings all worth it to make these two polar opposites of the service attract and come together with such miraculous results.