Yesterday, Richard, an Armagh native now living in Dungannon and daughter Wendy, made the journey to Air Ambulance NI Headquarters in Lisburn to hand over a cheque for an incredible £3,300.
Of the experience, Richard said: “We were given a wonderful welcome by the staff and a great tour of the buildings by Kerry, a charming young lady in charge of the PR and all the charity work involved.
“We also met one of the Pilots called Ritchie who just happened to land the Red Bird on Boxing Day on the MI near my home to attend which sadly turned out to be a fatal car accident and just a couple of hours later the Air Ambulance was at the scene of yet another serious road traffic accident near Cookstown.
“When I set out to produce this little booklet, based on stories of mine and with old photographs I had taken and collected over many years, I thought sure who would want to see this, but I was shocked with the response and generosity of people everywhere”.
The booklet, entitled ‘Down Memory Lane in Dungannon’ received incredible public response with copies quickly snapped up amongst eager Dungannon locals but having also been shipped as far as America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Wales.
Richard said: “I wondered was it all because the proceeds were for the AANI but, sure, maybe it was a wee bit of both. In any event, it proved to be really successful, down mainly of course to all you wonderful people who bought copies and on occasions gave more than the amount requested”.
Humbly, Richard recognises the support of his family, friends and the public, stating: “If I may say a special word of thanks to so many people who helped me, including Simon of CR print, down at Stangmore beside Dungannon Swifts, who brilliantly designed the front cover and all the pages and colour work.
“Glenda, Ruth, Richard and all the staff in CR Print, the main book sellers, The Fork Filling Station, Walter Cuddy, and Cora in Cuddy’s shop in Market Square and CR Print again. There are others who helped sell the booklets individually and of course the general public too!”
As Richard attests, “The power of social media today just amazing” and in thanks to his ever-supportive daughter Wendy, whose online-initiative helped spur Richard’s plans into action, he gave a final word of thanks: “To my daughter Wendy, without whose support, unbelievable encouragement and help I would have been lost completely! Thank you Wendy for making the dream come true on your Dungannon Area Community Page.”