Photo gallery: Annual fun run for East of England Air Ambulance raises vital funds

PUBLISHED: 18:46 30 September 2012 | UPDATED: 18:46 30 September 2012

Fun runners put their best feet forward at Tibenham Airfield for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Runway Run.

Fun runners put their best feet forward at Tibenham Airfield for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Runway Run. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Hundreds of fundraisers took off down a South Norfolk runway this afternoon (Sunday) to help raise thousands of pounds for charity.

More than 200 participants gathered at Tibenham Airfield, near Diss, to take part in the charity’s Runway Run which is now in its fourth year.

Held at the home of the Norfolk Gliding Club, the event has raised £40,000 for the air ambulance in the past and organisers were hoping to add £20,000 to the total with this year’s run.

East of England Air Ambulance fundraising manager, Jess Down, said: “To have 250 people running and 100 spectators and supporters wanting to fundraise for us is incredible and it’s a chance to raise awareness to a captive audience.

“This year we’ve brought in the 10k option so we’ve got people with dogs who might walk the 5k and then really athletic people doing 10k.”

It comes as the Eastern Daily Press continues to boost the air ambulance’s coffers through its LifeSaver appeal.

Readers are being urged to help raise £50,000 to pay for a £20,000 ventilator, two £5,000 blood analysers and a £20,000 ultrasound machine.

Currently the air ambulance, which receives no government funding, costs £4.5m per year to run, but this will rise to £6m when the charity begins night-flying later this year.

Lynn Chambers-Dowe, from Fundenhall, near Tacolneston and Lauren Dodgshun, from Pulham St Mary, both chose to run the 5k after experiencing the air ambulance first hand.

Ms Chambers-Dowe, 45, said: “I had the air ambulance out to me three or four years ago when I came off my horse - I hurt my back at the time. It’s a good thing to do because they don’t receive any funding.”

Ms Dodgshun, 29, added: “My mum got kicked in the head and they came out to her and if they didn’t I dread to think what would have happened.”

Gemma Bassett, 27, a chef from Scole, who chose to run 10k, said her brother had been treated by the air ambulance after a chicken shed fell on him while at work. She had raised £560 in sponsorship.

“It’s life-saving”, she said. “Without it he would have died - they got there really quickly. It’s a really good cause and everyone’s been really generous.”

A memorial service was also held at the former US Air Force base to mark the anniversary of the 445th Bombardment Group’s Kassel Mission in which 39 B-24 aircraft left the Norfolk airfield on September 27, 1944, and only four returned.

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