THE Wales Air Ambulance is thanking participants who took part in the My Air Miles – Virtual Run after they raised over £18,000 for the lifesaving charity.

This is the first year that the Charity has created and hosted its own fundraising virtual run and the launch in March was a huge success. Over 200 people of all ages took part in the ‘Air Miles’ challenge, which aimed to acknowledge the large distances covered by the service’s ‘Flying Medics’ every month. Participants could choose a distance of 25, 60 or 100 miles to complete during March.

The month-long challenge started before the Coronavirus lockdown and supporters were initially encouraged to keep active, whether that was walking their dog, going to the gym or training for other events – such as a marathon. However, following lockdown, participants finished the challenge during their regulation one-hour exercise per day.

Great-grandmother Stella Hazell, 82, signed herself up to the challenge. She set her sights on completing 25 miles but, astonishingly, has completed over 50 miles.

Reflecting on her achievement, Mrs Hazell from Ebbw Vale, said: “A lot of the extra mileage was down to the fact that our leisure centre, which most of my sponsorship came from, was closed during the latter part of the month due to the pandemic. So, I made up some of my time that I normally spend there, taking more walks.”

Her dedication and hard work had paid off and people have shown their support to Mrs Hazell, by helping her raise £154.50.

Mrs Hazell, who is a keen supporter of the Charity, also donated half of her £1000 winnings from the Wales Air Ambulance Lifesaving Lottery. In total, she has raised £654.50.

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Steffan Anderson-Thomas, the Charity’s Events Lead, said: “The launch of the Virtual Run has been a huge success and we are extremely grateful to everyone who took part in the challenge. Our Charity relies solely on donations from the people of Wales to keep our helicopters flying and it’s been fantastic to see so many people taking part. What’s been really inspiring is the example of people like Mrs Hazel, who at 82, has shown that it’s possible to do whatever you set your mind to.

“These are difficult times for everyone, including the Wales Air Ambulance, and I would like to offer my deepest thanks to everyone for taking up the challenge.”

After completing the challenge, all participants received a certificate, medal and T-shirt.

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com.

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.

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