March 2020 Update

A month the UK will never forget

As the world comes to terms with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and some lives change forever we have come to appreciate that life is precious and should not be taken for granted. Not taking life for granted was also emphasised at our open meeting at the beginning of March as reported below - with thanks to Alec for his report.

The Rotary Club of Ambleside Kirkstone was recently taken on a virtual high flying trip over Cumbria thanks to a vivid, emotive and tear jerking presentation by Jon Ward, a senior fundraising Officer from the North West Air Ambulance Charity. Jon’s presentation took us all behind the scenes of the lifesaving charities activities with stories from survivors from motorway shunts and Manchester housing estates to the high fells of Cumbria.

The Charity which runs three helicopters from its bases in Lancashire and costs almost £10 million per year of voluntary contributions to keep them all flying operates over the vast area West of the Pennines from Staffordshire up to the Scottish Borders. We were shown two films, one from the family of a 10 year old lad badly injured from a multiple shunt on the Motorway, the other about a day in the life of one of their hard working pilots. With teams of Doctors and paramedics the choppers, which travel at 160 miles an hour deliver help where it is really needed and delivers injured patients, not to their nearest hospital, but to the most appropriate hospital for their needs. Cardiac patients are usually taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, motorway trauma cases to Royal Preston and injured children to Alder Hey. The Air Ambulance service works closely with the Police, with mountain rescue teams, with the NHS and with all hospitals in the region at all times.

Jon’s presentation was particularly moving for one of our own members, Alec Burford, who was air lifted from the fells above Coniston and taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for life saving surgery following a heart attack in 2013.”

Alec is now an active member of our Rotary Club and, with his wife Margaret, have just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with donations going to NWAA rather than having presents from family and friends. Alec has always urged everyone to support NWAA by regularly putting a few pounds into their collection buckets to keep those bright yellow choppers flying. He says “The next time they are needed it might be for one of your neighbours, for one of your friends, for one of your family or it might even be for you.”

Apart from our monthly meal, which was held on March 3rdAK’s only other get together during the month saw a packed Kelsick Hall as we held A Big Easy Quiz in aid of PIES (Partners in Education Swaziland.) Who knew then that this was probably to be the last social event in Ambleside for some time? Everyone seemed to have an enjoyable time while raising over £600 to benefit such a good cause. Rotary spirit at its best!  Worthy winners of the Smarty Pants trophy were the Fresher’s Café team, who have since kindly promoted our club and PIES in their café and on their Facebook page.

Who could have imagined that by the time we read this latest update all Rotary meetings and events would have been cancelled, non-essential shops and businesses closed, entire sports events, including the Olympics cancelled or postponed, weddings and family celebrations cancelled and Churches closed. Panic buying and toilet paper became the main news headlines and manufacturers, distilleries and other engineering businesses switched lines to make visors, masks, and ventilators. All non-essential travel banned and city arenas opening up to nurse CV19 patients. 

We have so much in this wonderful club and community to be grateful and thankful for.

Take care.