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Life-saving medical charity warns it will lose out on thousands during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 06:30 07 May 2020

St John Ambulance volunteers. Picture: St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance volunteers. Picture: St John Ambulance

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A medical charity which is helping out in the fight against coronavirus has lost tens of thousands of pounds in fundraising during lockdown.

A St John Ambulance volunteer manning a bonfire night event. Picture: St John Ambulance.A St John Ambulance volunteer manning a bonfire night event. Picture: St John Ambulance.

The county president of St John Ambulance Norfolk, Georgina Holloway, said that since restrictions were imposed the charity has lost out on £50,000 from community events where it would have provided first aid in March and April.

To boost funds the charity is opening a private garden at Silverstone Farm, North Elmham, near Dereham, owned and designed by George Carter to be viewed online on Sunday, May 10.

A St John Ambulance vehicle. Picture: Courtesy of St John AmbulanceA St John Ambulance vehicle. Picture: Courtesy of St John Ambulance

The garden, inspired by Dutch and English 17th Century design, was meant to be open to the public as part of the charity’s open gardens event which allows people to view around seven gardens across the year and raises between £10,000 and £15,000 for the worthy cause.

Mrs Holloway, from Whissonsett, said: “I think the service is going to be very badly affected by the lockdown. We are pretty vital in the feel of English life. The open gardens help with fundraising. This year everything is going to have to keep the show on the road.”

People taking part in a St John Ambulance first aid course. Picture: St John AmbulancePeople taking part in a St John Ambulance first aid course. Picture: St John Ambulance

The charity provides first aid trained volunteers to man events including this summer’s Royal Norfolk Show and Cromer Carnival which have been cancelled because of coronavirus.

It also raises money through providing first aid training for businesses, which has also stopped during the lockdown.

The Silverstone Farm garden in North Elmham which is open to view online on May 10  to raise money for St John Ambulance Norfolk branch. Picture: St John Ambulance NorfolkThe Silverstone Farm garden in North Elmham which is open to view online on May 10 to raise money for St John Ambulance Norfolk branch. Picture: St John Ambulance Norfolk

“We are getting no income,” Mrs Holloway added.

MORE: Updates on Norfolk’s big events amid Covid-19 pandemic

She said the government was providing a £6m cash injection to the central charity which will be divided between the different counties.

During the coronavirus lockdown the Norfolk branch has been providing support to the NHS for coronavirus patients through its seven fully-stocked ambulances, including personal protective equipment, from its base on Carbrooke House in Norwich, according to Mrs Holloway.

She added that some of its Norfolk volunteers were supporting medical staff helping Covid-19 patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and some were on standby to help at London’s Nightingale Hospital.

To view the Silverstone Farm garden visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/virtualgardens

For the latest COVID-19 news, visit the Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page.

Click here to find out more about the EDP’s Here to Help campaign.

You can also subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, providing all the latest from where you live.


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