Paralympic sprinter to help raise cash

By Geoff Berkeley Friday 14 February 2014 Updated: 14/02 09:59

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Buy photos » Ambassadors Zac Purchase, Mickey Bushell, Jane Sixsmith, Ryan Cockbill and Neil Back at Midlands Air Ambulance’s operational airbase. They will be joined by Paralympian Katrina Hart. Picture by Marcus Mingins 0614014MMR2

PARALYMPIC sprinter Katrina Hart has pledged to help raise funds for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity after being named as one of its ambassadors.

The 23-year-old from Stock Green was among eight sports stars to be handed the role which will see her support the charity with its fund-raising and awareness campaigns.

Fellow paralympians David Stone, Mickey Bushell, Ricky Balshaw and Ryan Cockbill have also been selected as ambassadors along with Olympic gold medallist Zac Purchase, former hocker star Jane Sixsmith and Rugby World Cup-winner Neil Back.

Miss Hart, who won bronze in the T35-38 4x100m women’s relay at London 2012 Paralympics, said she hopes to help the charity raise £6.5million this year.

“I was really surprised when I got the email to say I had been selected alongside the likes of Mickey (Bushell) and the others guys who have done great things,” she said.

“I think we are all going to work really well together.

“It is really important to make people aware of the Midlands Air Ambulance as it is run by many volunteers and it needs around £6.5million a year to keep it afloat.

“They save a lot of lives which is great, so we need to give something back and I will do all I can for the cause.”

Figures from the charity show it responds to about 3,000 emergency calls a year, with sporting incidents in its top five call-outs.

Mr Back, who is a former England international rugby player, added: “Injuries sustained on the rugby pitch can often be life-threatening and serious due to the physical nature of rugby being a contact sport.

“The charity often attends to incidents where players have serious head, neck and spinal trauma. It is absolutely vital that these types of injuries receive the fastest possible medical care.”

Hanna Sebright, chief executive of the charity, said: “I am delighted and honoured on behalf of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity to welcome so many remarkable Olympians, Paralympians and sporting heroes to help support our cause.

“The profile and awareness that they can individually and collectively bring to the charity is invaluable and one for which we are truly grateful.”

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