Charity air ambulance fundraiser is a cut above

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A Kintyre woman who spent months chopping spare wood into kindling was fuelled by a desire to repay Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) for helping to  save her husband’s life.

By selling 80 bags of kindlers, Sandra Black has raised £400 – which increased to £500 with the addition of Gift Aid – for the charity which helped her husband Joe when he fell seriously ill with sepsis last year.

Sandra explained that, over the years, she and Joe have stored lots of old wood, including off-cuts and other bits and pieces they thought they could use later, at their West Skeroblin Farm home.

‘A few months ago I started clearing out some old fencing stabs and timber that we had lying in sheds,’ she said. ‘I started sawing them up by hand and then decided I would chop them into kindling.

‘I bagged them all up and stored them in a bothy in the farmhouse to dry them out properly.’

In May 2020, Joe was helicoptered to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley for treatment when he fell ill with sepsis.

‘It was the efforts of the Campbeltown NHS staff and the amazing SCAA team that saved Joe’s life,’ Sandra said.

‘When the pile of kindling started getting bigger, I decided I could generate some money for SCAA as a thank you so I used social media to advertise the kindling for sale locally.’

Sandra and Joe, both aged 63, have been married for 31 years. Sandra has worked for Argyll and Bute Council since 1977, for the last 12 years as performance manager fleet.

Lorry driver Joe transports wind farm components within the heavy haulage section of McFadyens Transport, for which he has worked for 30 years.

It was in her spare time while Joe was working away from home that Sandra chopped and prepared the kindling for sale.

‘I like to be busy and it gave me something to do when Joe was away working,’ she said.

Some of the bags of kindling that Sandra chopped for charity.
Some of the bags of kindling that Sandra chopped for charity.

It’s not the couple’s first donation to SCAA – last year, they donated the money they would normally spend on their annual Channel Islands holiday to the charity.

And Sandra plans to continue chopping wood over the winter season so hopes she will be able to make a few more donations to SCAA in the future.

‘It makes us feel proud to give something back to a charity that gives so much to our beloved local community,’ she said. ‘Joe and I can’t thank them enough.’

Nick Harvey, SCAA’s director of fundraising and communications, praised Sandra and Joe’s ‘exceptional’ fundraising efforts.

‘The support of people like Sandra and Joe is key to sustaining our life-saving service,’ he said, ‘and we can’t thank them enough for their selfless undertaking on our behalf.

‘Sandra’s commitment to raise funds by working hard at chopping and sawing kindling is tremendous and we’re hugely grateful.

‘SCAA relies 100 per cent on public donations and supporters the length and breadth of Scotland play their part in ensuring we are there for those most in need.

‘Sandra and Joe’s support is extremely thoughtful and will help save lives as SCAA continues its support of those seriously ill or injured.’