Hotel’s helping hand for air ambulance

Sir Hugh Blackett, owner of Matfen Hall, hands over the cheque to representatives of the Great North Air Ambulance.

Sir Hugh Blackett, owner of Matfen Hall, hands over the cheque to representatives of the Great North Air Ambulance.

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Generous guests at a Northumberland country house hotel have raised thousands of pounds for a life-saving charity.

A total of £6,000 has been handed over to the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA) after those who stayed at Matfen Hall during the past year donated £1 each.

This amount is enough to finance two helicopter rescues.

Sir Hugh Blackett, owner of Matfen Hall, was on hand to present the charity with a cheque.

He said: “In my view, this region owes the GNAA a debt of gratitude it may never be able to fully repay.

“With its extensive coastline and great swathes of countryside, much of the North East is largely inaccessible by anything other than a helicopter and so the job its teams do is vital.

“They very often risk their own lives to save others and I would like to thank them, on behalf of residents and staff at Matfen Hall.”

The GNAA service operates three helicopters, 365 days a year, across the North East, North Yorkshire and Cumbria regions.

Its crews respond to around 1,000 call-outs each year and on board the aircraft are specialist trauma doctors and paramedics, who bring accident and emergency expertise to the scene.

Accepting the cheque on behalf of the organisation, public liaison officer Diane Walker said: “It costs £4million a year to operate our service.

“As each mission costs in the region of £2,500, the money raised by Matfen Hall could potentially save two lives.”