Audlem Ramblers thank Air Ambulance Service

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A cheque for £2,194 was presented on Monday 19th January by ARS, the Audlem Ramblers Society, to the Staffordshire Air Ambulance Service after nine months fund-raising by the walkers' organisation. This followed a dramatic incident last April when Kate Down, one of their number, had to be rescued from a remote location in the Peak District after breaking a leg on an ARS hike.

The presentation was made by Kate at the Lord Combermere pub in Audlem where the Audlem Ramblers Society were holding their first Annual General Meeting. Ivan Burgess, a paramedic based at Tatenhill Airfield, near Burton on Trent (the home of the air ambulance for Staffordshire) received the cheque and described the service they provide. It costs £5.6 million a year to run with three aircraft, equating to £24 for each minute in the air. All is funded by donations.

Much of the sum raised by ARS was at a ceilidh held in Audlem Public Hall in November 2008, an event that was sold-out and raised over £1,500. ARS members have been donating after each monthly expedition while Chris Knibbs, a member of ARS, raised £350 after completing the Welsh 3000s in June 2008. This involves conquering every Welsh mountain over 3,000 feet, a circuit he completed in just inside 12 hours. Chris does say he has an unfair advantage — a bionic hip, although his 40 years of experience in mountains also helps. Chris slept out on the summit of Snowdon before setting out at 5.00am on his testing route around the highest mountains of Snowdonia.

Another local team comprising Tim Elliott, Will Williams, Connor Mcilwrath, Andrew Sherwood and Jack Shepard started at roughly the same time that day, but from the bottom of Snowdon and so, despite a significant age advantage, were well behind Chris all the way round. They raised £750 which was presented to the Welsh Ambulance Service. As well as Snowdon, the Welsh 3000s route includes Crib Goch, Elidir Fawr, Y Garn and the Glyders, Tryfan, Pen-yr Ole Wen, the Carneddii and finishing at Foel Fras.

ARS now has 46 adult members plus a junior and has completed a successful year which included a packed annual dinner at the Bridge Inn, Audlem in December; weekend expeditions to the Lake District and a full programme of walks for 2009 has already been planned and published on Audlem Online. Anyone wishing to join should contact secretary Andy Davidson at andydavidsonatb@hotmail.com">andydavidsonatb@hotmail.com

Photos: Kate Down presents cheque to Ivan Burgess — Air Ambulance lands in the Reef Hills to rescue Kate Down.