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Air ambulances to hold peace talks in row over Cumbria collections

Peace talks will be held next week to try to resolve fundraising issues between neighbouring air ambulances embroiled in a turf war.

Air ambulance photo
Pride of Cumbria air ambulance

The Friends of the Pride of Cumbria Great North Air Ambulance’s (GNAAS) helicopter are angry that representatives from the Lancashire-based North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) are collecting donations on their patch, claiming it could threaten the Pride’s future.

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, first emailed NWAA’s head of development Mark Carroll six weeks ago to suggest an emergency meeting to resolve the issues.

Now, it has been confirmed that the two organisations will meet on Thursday.

Mr Stewart wants the NWAA to agree to stop all fundraising in Cumbria.

The Friends and Mr Stewart have pointed out that the NWAA – covering Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside – has a much larger population from which to draw its funds.

The Pride fundraisers also claim that many Cumbrians are making donations to that charity in the mistaken belief that they are giving to the county-based helicopter.

Hazel Barker, whose husband Bill, the policeman who died in the 2009 floods and was a staunch supporter of the Pride of Cumbria, said that many people told her that they had assumed both air ambulances were one and the same .

A Friends’ petition calling for NWAA to stop collecting money in Cumbria has more than 3,000 signatures, according to chairwoman Jan Hawkins.

Representatives from the Friends will be in Asda in Mossbay, Workington, with the petition on July 7 and July 8. They are also due to attend the Distington Steam Really on July 1.

The petition, which has the support of Workington MP Tony Cunningham and Copeland MP Jamie Reed, has been widely circulated throughout the country

A spokesman from the GNAA said: “We are and always have been in regular contact with the North West Air Ambulance Service. Both organisations remain fully focussed on providing the best level of care for our patients.”

Lynda Brislin, NWAA chief executive, said: “The overarching message is patient care is priority number one and the fact that the NWAA and GNAA both operate across Cumbria has to be of benefit to the Cumbrian community.

“We have served Cumbria since May 1999 and go wherever our ambulance service asks us to."

Have your say

Tony, stick you bag back on the doorstep as requested.

Posted by EBEAN on 15 September 2012 at 02:29

I think that part of the problem is that the NWAA charity bag states on the back that it is the only air ambulance in the area which is misleading to people in our area

Posted by Liz on 25 June 2012 at 19:14

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