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The spring and summer months are an important and busy time for our charity. Like many non-profits across the country, we are affected by the cancellation and postponement of public events due to the coronavirus pandemic. From car shows to fetes and air shows to horse racing, these events provide an opportunity for us to engage with our community and help raise the vital funds needed to keep us at the frontline of saving lives.

We find ourselves incredibly humbled by the overwhelming support we are receiving from you, our community. From the supporters who have so generously donated during this unprecedented time, to those that have rallied around us and imagined creative new ways of fundraising in the world of virtual events – thank you, we could not do what we do without you.

In April, we encouraged you to take part remotely through our Stay Home, Stay Involved activities. This included our ‘Top of the Pups’ virtual dog show, which received a fantastic response of over 240 entries into classes such as ‘Handsomest Hound’, ‘Golden Oldie’ and ‘Best Puppy.’ The winners of each class were put forward for a ‘Best in Show’ with rescue dog Bruno and owner Kerry White being crowned overall champion.

‘We are over the moon to have won Handsomest Hound and now Best In Show!’ said owner Kerry, ‘Bruno loves to show off and pose and he couldn’t be prouder. From a rescue dog on the streets of Hungary to an overall winner! It’s a great cause and we’re delighted to have supported a wonderful charity.’

Elsewhere, we saw a herculean effort from the Thames Valley Air Ambulance XI, a community-lead football team based in Thame. The group, managed by supporter Stuart Gibson, set themselves a £500 fundraising target by running 500 miles within 14 days.

Driven by their community spirit and desire to fundraise further, the team have now run a distance greater than Land’s End to John O’ Groats and finished the challenge with a set of ‘personal best’ runs throughout Thame. The group has since raised over an incredible £7,000 for our charity. Well done and a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved.

‘In the absence of being able to play football the team were keen to find a way to continuing raising money while adhering to social distancing rules,’ said team manager, Stuart Gibson, ‘Not only have they all participated, but I can say it has been fantastic for everyone’s mental health and to be able to support the Thames Valley Air Ambulance during this challenging time.’

Lastly, we received a great response from supporters taking part in the 2.6 Challenge who joined thousands of amazing people across the UK to raise over £9.5million for charities in need. A special thank you to the fabulous Anita, who completed a 26-hour piano marathon and continues to tap the ivory now raising over three times her original fundraising target. 

We are amazed at the response to our virtual events and encourage you to continue thinking creatively about other ways you can stay involved and fundraise for our charity. Across the coming weeks and months we’ll be announcing further ways you can get involved including our virtual Open Gardens and Tractor Competition.

On behalf of all of us at Thames Valley Air Ambulance a sincere, heartfelt thank you to all of our fundraisers. It is genuinely rewarding to serve such a wonderful and compassionate community.