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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Antrim family so grateful for Air Ambulance assistance

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) is one we all hope never to need, but for Barney Surgenor from Antrim, the 10th January 2022 was the day that he did.

Whilst working on gutters he fell, receiving a serious head injury warranting the services of the HEMS doctor and paramedic team flown by air ambulance to the scene. 

Barney has no memory of the incident but thankfully has made a fantastic recovery. Barney and his family recently held an online raffle raising a phenomenal £4030 for Air Ambulance NI, ensuring the service is there for future patients.

Barney’s fiancé Pauline shares poignant memories from that day. Pauline said:

“It was a day I’ll not forget in a hurry.  I had been looking after the grandchildren when a phone call came through to say Barney had had an accident at work. Barney runs an outdoor services company and was cleaning guttering at the time. 

"I got to scene as fast as I could, but the helicopter was already taking off with Barney on board to be transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"The consultant told me that Barney was in a critical condition with a skull fracture from his forehead right to the base of his neck and had three bleeds on the brain.  He was in hospital for 4 days though when he did get home, he was a different person. 

"The bleeding to part of the brain had caused a change in his personality meaning that my usually chatty Barney was quiet and withdrawn. 

"Thankfully, after a few weeks my Barney was back and incredibly in 6 weeks he was back to work!"

Pauline continued:

"It was such a difficult time, constantly worrying whether Barney was going to have any permanent brain damage, and be himself again. The support we received from family, friends, and Barneys customers was fantastic.  

"Barney was one of the lucky ones and we decided as a family that we wanted to fundraise for the charity that helped Barney, and hopefully help a future patient. Our online raffle was a HUGE success, raising over £4030, which was beyond our expectations.

"We would like to thank the community for being so generous and supportive of our fundraising efforts – whether you donated a raffle prize or purchased a ticket for the raffle, thank you!

"You never quite know when you will need the assistance of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service team and we appreciate the value this lifesaving service can bring a patient and their family”

The charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service for Northern Ireland. The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes.

Grace Williams, Area Fundraising Manager at Air Ambulance NI said:

“It was such a pleasure to meet Barney and Pauline and we are delighted that Barney is making such a great recovery. They along with their family, are such an inspiration, organising this unique fundraiser in support of Air Ambulance NI; We are so humbled they chose to support us in this way.

"As a service we rely heavily on charitable donations to keep the medical team in the air, delivering critical care to patients, like Barney, who have suffered trauma throughout Northern Ireland – without continued support, the team simply couldn’t fly.

"Every single penny counts. With a daily fundraising need of £5,500, we are so grateful to Barney, Pauline and their family for this wonderful donation of £4030. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their vital support and for organising such an amazing raffle!”

Air Ambulance NI needs to raise £2million each year to maintain this service so public donations are crucial.

If you would like to support this life-saving service, there are a number of exciting upcoming events you can participate in including a abseils, Belfast City Marathon or you could organise your own event with the charity’s support.

Find out more and sign up to a challenge that suits you by visiting www.airambulanceni.orgalternatively you can contact the charity directly by emailing or calling 028 9262 2677.


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