A pro-am celebrity golf tournament held at Royal Portrush Golf Club during this year’s Vauxhall International North West 200 race week in May raised £10,000 for the Air Ambulance NI charity.
Bike racers Maria Costello and Steve Plater were joined by footballers Keith Gillespie and Sammy Clingan, rugby stars Stephen Ferris and Andy Ward, GAA legend Mickey Harte, Paralympic gold medallist Michael McKillop, boxer Brian Magee and snooker’s Mark Allen alongside dozens of amateur golfers to help raise the huge sum.
Ian Crowe, Chairman of Air Ambulance NI, said he was grateful to everyone involved for their fundraising efforts.
“We are delighted to have been nominated as the chosen charity of the North West 200 in 2016. We are also delighted to receive this fantastic sum from Royal Portrush Golf Club and we are very grateful to everyone involved.”
Michael Taylor, captain at Royal Portrush, added: “So many people put so much hard work into raising this money and it is a great pleasure to present this cheque to the Air Ambulance NI charity.”
North West 200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte said the NI Air Ambulance service is ‘very close to the hearts’ of everyone involved in the international road race.
“The provision of an air ambulance service is something that is very close to the hearts of everyone involved in the Vauxhall International North West 200,” said Whyte.
“We are very pleased to have been able to be involved with this important charity in 2016 and will continue to support the service in the future.”
Respected travelling race doctor John Hinds, tragically killed in an accident at the Skerries 100 near Dublin last summer, was a huge advocate of the campaign for an air ambulance service in Northern Ireland.
Two air ambulances are due to be based at Belfast International Airport.
Previously, AANI Chairman Mr Crowe said: “Having two air ambulances permanently based in Northern Ireland will significantly reduce maintenance downtime.
“Having one helicopter on duty every day will ensure Air Ambulance Northern Ireland is there for those who need it.”