A PARISH Councillor who slipped and broke his ankle at an Ashbourne beauty spot has embarked on a fund-raising campaign to raise money for the air ambulance crew that rescued him.
Barry Flatters, 64, who was visiting the area from his home in Rippingale, Lincolnshire, slipped on sheep droppings while walking through Gipsy Bank near Alstonefield on Wednesday last week and his friend and walking partner, Antony Slack, had to run to Milldale to raise the alarm.
Paramedics from East Midlands and West Midlands Ambulance Services called for Midlands Air Ambulance to help rescue 18 and-a-half stone Mr Flatters, who is diabetic and has a history of heart problems.
He said: “The crew were absolutely brilliant, and I just can’t praise them enough.
“I’ve always been aware of what they do, but this has made me very passionate about it.
“It actually makes me angry that they have to do their own fund-raising, and that the government doesn’t support them.
“People shouldn’t have to donate to a service like this, it should be compulsory that they receive some sort of funding.”
Mr Flatters was kept in Royal Derby Hospital until Saturday and his friend, Mr Slack, 53, who is also from Lincolnshire and was staying on a campsite in Alstonefield with him for a few days, used the time he was being treated to begin a campaign to whip up support for air ambulance charities such as Midland Air Ambulance.
He said: “I’ll be completely honest, I used to think air ambulances were a complete waste of money. You’d see them land on a motorway and I thought ‘a car could have done that just as easily’.
“But there we were in the middle of nowhere and this was the only way they were going to get Barry out of there.
“When you’ve been in that situation, up in the mountains with no other option, I think it’s just brilliant.”
Mr Flatters, who also volunteers in his village as a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator and flood warden, is now recovering at home and will be out of action for at least six weeks.
He and Mr Slack plan to start raising awareness of the service and have pledged to start by putting collecting tins on the counters of businesses in the Ashbourne area and in their home town.
A string of businesses in the Ashbourne area have already agreed to take in containers and Mr Slack says he plans to write a book about their eventful few days away, with proceeds going to the charity, which covers Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity’s regional fund-raising manager for Staffordshire, Jo Bailey, said: “Our aircrews undertake up to eight life-saving missions across the Midlands every day.
“Each of those missions costs £2,500 on average, which we rely entirely on the goodwill of the general public and local businesses to help us raise, so to have local support from a former patient and his friends and family is hugely appreciated by everyone at the charity.”
To find out more about the charity or to make a donation call 0800 8 40 20 40.