Grateful patient raises £16k for air ambulance

AMBULANCE THANKS: Michael Wood mingles with guests at his fund-raising party which raised £16,000 for theYorkshire Air Ambulance charity.

AMBULANCE THANKS: Michael Wood mingles with guests at his fund-raising party which raised £16,000 for theYorkshire Air Ambulance charity.

First published in News

A YEAR after suffering horrific injuries in a riding accident businessman Michael Wood has raised £16,000 for an air ambulance service which helped save his life.

On Saturday (May 24) he played host at a private party at his 30 acre estate at Boltby, near Thirsk, where more than 200 guests paid £50 to dance to live bands and raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).

And Mr Wood, 55, who spent a week in intensive care and two weeks on a trauma ward at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, has pledged to make that total up to £20,000.

Among the guests was the YAA regional fundraiser Helen Gowans and 20 trauma nurses from James Cook University Hospital.

“We danced into the small hours. It was one of the happiest days of my life,” said Mr Wood, who wanted to thank the charity-run air ambulance service.

In June 2013 the North Yorkshire entrepreneur was riding with a friend near Gormire Lake when his horse, Diola, reared up and fell back on him.

Mr Wood suffered multiple broken ribs, a broken pelvis and a broken right hip.

Because a conventional ambulance was unable to reach Mr Wood the paramedics called in the air ambulance.

Within minutes he landed at James Cook Hospital where he underwent life-saving surgery.

His condition was so serious that doctors told his wife, Ena, that he might not survive the night.

Mr Wood was hugely impressed by the treatment he received at the NHS hospital but he decided to raise money for the YAA after being told that it needs to raise nearly £10,000 a year to keep its two helicopters in the air.

“I don’t think many people are aware that it costs so much,” said Mr Wood, who has also written a book about his experiences called “Whatever It Takes” which he is selling to raise funds for the YAA.

YAA fundraiser Helen Gowan said: “Michael is a remarkable man and we cannot thank him enough for organising this remarkable event which has raised so much money for us.

“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance relies totally on the generosity of individuals like Michael, without which we would not be able to keep flying.”

YAA has carried more than 5,500 people in its 13-year history. It needs to raise the equivalent to £3.6m a year to keep its two helicopters flying.

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