If you live in the UK you’ll most likely know about the BBC TV motoring entertainment programme Top Gear. If you are outside the UK then there’s still a fair chance that you’ve heard about it.
When news that Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond had been involved in a serious crash whilst filming for the forthcoming series broke yesterday, my first instinct was to log onto Pistonheads, a motoring web site with a very active and entertaining set of forums which I spend far too much time reading. Given the affinity between PH’ers and the subject matter at hand, a large amount of messages were being posted about what had happened. As news filtered through that Richard had been taken to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance, in a critical condition after the jet powered vehicle he was piloting crashed at around 280mph, people’s attention turned to wishing and praying for his recovery. Eventually people started coming up with ideas about how the members of Pistonheads could show their feelings. People in Leeds offered to buy flowers and deliver them, but then somebody mentioned the fact that they’d not be allowed in intensive care. A few more ideas were ventured, and then somebody suggested that we pull together and donate some money to the people who hopefully have saved his life.
Thus, quite quickly, the charity donation web site JustGiving was utilised to set up a page for PH’ers to donate to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Service Charity. Initially the target was set at £340, the average cost of each sortie the helicopter makes (and it makes around 1000 per year.) That was soon passed, and as links were spread through the large network of motoring websites and forums in the UK and beyond, the amount began to spiral. A few people contacted friends in the media, and Sky News and the BBC picked up on it. The target figure was changed again and again as the amount being donated kept on rising. As I write, the amount donated stands at £20,133.00. When you add on the Gift Aid money which will be reclaimed from the government, the total leaps to over £25,000 – enough in itself to keep the air ambulance going for a week.
So, visit http://www.justgiving.com/PHRichardHammond, if not to donate, then just to witness the generosity of the web towards a deserving cause which helped out a popular UK TV presenter in his time of need and who might just be there for you or me one day.
Of course, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance is just one of many such services throughout the UK. None of which receive a penny of government money for the vital service they provide and rely entirely on sponsorship and charitable donations. My county of Hampshire does not currently have one, but plans are afoot for creating one. I’ll certainly be watching this with interest and doing what little I can to help.
Good luck for a hopefully full recovery Richard, and my thoughts go out to his young family.