The Hertfordshire Air Ambulance made a flying visit to Harwood Park Crematorium to pick up a cheque for over £6,500.
The money was presented by family-run firm Austin’s Funeral Directors, which each year chooses a local charity to benefit from its charitable fund. The visit by the air ambulance was particularly special as it marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of the Stevenage crematorium, which is owned and run by Austin’s.
Speaking at the presentation, Claire Austin, who is the 10th generation of her family to run the firm, said she was delighted to help the charity. “The Herts Air Ambulance does vital work helping our local community, and as a company that has been based in Hertfordshire for over 300 years we thought it would be an excellent charity to support.”
Receiving the cheque on behalf of the Hertfordshire Air Ambulance, Dawn Easby, senior fundraising co-ordinator, thanked all of the staff. “It is hugely appreciated,” she said. “We do not receive any government funding and so we need to raise £130,000 a month to keep the ambulance flying.”
The Austin’s Charitable Fund was established in 2002 and has raised over £80,000 for local organisations. It raises money in a number of different ways, including through the generosity of bereaved families who donate to it in memory of a loved one; from donations made at the annual Christmas carol service at Harwood Park Crematorium; and from a percentage of Austin’s Funeral Directors’ annual profits.
Image: (l-r) Nicky Smith (pilot), Christine Mills (Hertfordshire Community Foundation), Tony Newsome (volunteer), Claire Austin, Oscar Hope (Claire’s son), John McCusker (paramedic) and Roger Bloomer (doctor).