Kington Golf Club members in Herefordshire have come up with a novel way to support their chosen charity, the HELP Appeal - the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads.
After adopting a HELP Appeal bear as their mascot and naming him Brad, after Bradnor Hill where the club is located, each club member has had to make a donation to the HELP Appeal before they can take Brad on a new adventure, which has included a visit to a nudist beach in Croatia and attending Ladies’ Day at Ascot.
Toinette Davies, Lady Captain of Kington Golf Club explains how far Brad has travelled: “Brad has worn a ‘bearkini’ in Turkey and absolutely nothing on a nudist beach in Croatia. He’s watched the rugby at Twickenham, has been in the Royal Box at Wimbledon and was even invited onto court by former British Number 1’s Andrew Castle and Jeremy Bates. He has been in a few plane cockpits travelling to Australia, Japan, St Lucia, Singapore, all over Europe and the UK – all of which have helped to raise much needed funds for the HELP Appeal.”
The HELP Appeal is a charity which funds helipads at NHS hospitals, which save time in getting an air ambulance patient to the Emergency Department after landing. The speed of treatment can save their life. Since 2009 it has funded 36 helipads which have seen over 13,000 landings. It has over 40 projects in the pipeline across the country including new helipads at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Maidstone Hospital in Kent.
Bill Creamer knows more than most about the importance of hospital helipads, after suffering a heart attack at Chippenham Golf Club where he was a club professional. He had to be airlifted to the helipad at Bristol Royal Infirmary, which meant that staff at the Heart Institute next door, could start treating him almost immediately after landing. The prompt treatment saved his life. Bill says:
“I tried quite hard to die a couple of times that day. It was certainly a great benefit and saved precious time to have a hospital helipad that close to the Heart Institute.”
Lesley Knight from the HELP Appeal adds: “We loved this idea from Kington Golf Club. Not only is it a fun way to boost awareness about the charity, but they are also raising much needed funds so we can continue building more hospital helipads, so critically ill patients can have access to specialist care immediately after they land in an air ambulance."
"We are very grateful to Toinette and to the club. If any other golf clubs would like a HELP Appeal bear to help raise money, please get in touch with us.”
The HELP Appeal relies solely on charitable donations and does not receive any government funding or money from the National Lottery. For more information on the charity visit helpappeal.org.uk