TWO Huddersfield Town fans landed in style to mark the club’s link-up with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Pilot Steve Cobb and paramedic Sammy Wills from Slaithwaite flew into town as it was announced that the Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity logo will be on Town’s home shirts for the forthcoming season.
They were being followed by a BBC camera crew for the programme Helicopter Heroes – a series which looks at the life-saving work of an Air Ambulance crew.
The pilot and paramedics were on duty and could have been called away at any time to rescue someone throughout the region.
But they touched down at the stadium in their G-SASH helicopter to celebrate the link-up with the club which the two of them have supported all their lives.
Pilot Steve said: “It’s fantastic for me – the best of both worlds really because my job is also my passion and I’ve been a Town supporters since I was seven or eight so to have a link with them is fantastic.
“I’ve been doing this job now for four and a half years and I love the fact that you get to go into work each day and you can really make a difference to someone’s life.
“There are a lot of hills and dales around here and us being here means we can get to a person in need when maybe an ambulance couldn’t.
“The tie-in with Town will help raise awareness of what we do which is as important as the money which will hopefully come.
“I’m only one of three people to wear this new shirt so far which is great, I’ve not got my name on it yet but give me till the weekend I will have.”
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Sammy added: “It was incredible when they told me that it was Huddersfield Town because I’m a local girl and a Town fan.
“It is fantastic to be in partnership because of the money it will raise, the awareness it will bring and the fact we can help each other and the YAA can support the team and academy too.
“We’d love to come to a few matches and we’re quite keen to keep hold of these football shirts as well – it’s great being the first to get to wear them.”
The idea is part of the Keep It Up campaign which is a unique partnership between Town and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Home shirts will have the charity’s logo on them as part of the three-year fundraising deal.
Supporters will be encouraged to take part in fundraising activities for the Keep It Up campaign – from running marathons to children’s events.
All money raised will be split evenly between Huddersfield Town’s academy and the YAA.
Town striker Andy Booth was one of the player’s watching the air ambulance touch down at the Galpharm car park.
He said: “It’s fantastic and a great idea because it shows where the club is and what we want to achieve for ourselves and others.
“We’ve got a great local community and I’m sure they’ll give something back to a great cause.
“I’ve seen the kit and it looks fantastic with the ambulance logo on.
“Hopefully it will start a trend for other clubs.
“Football is big business but there are many clubs coming round to this idea which can only be good for everyone.”
Over the last two years the YAA has rescued 34 people in Huddersfield – transporting many of them from rural areas to hospitals for life-saving treatment.
Sean Jarvis, Town’s director of business development, added: “The idea and philosophy of Huddersfield Town is that we wanted to break the mould.
“We were approached by three organisations regarding the home shirt but we wanted to do something different – something that would generate an income for the charity and also the academy which is important to us.
“Having YAA on the front of our shirts will provide an incredible profile for the air ambulance and for us to have the word ‘Yorkshire’ on the front of our shirts is something we are very proud of.”
Paul Gowland, director of fundraising at YAA, said they had been working on the idea with Town for more than three months, adding: “Two great Yorkshire institutions are working together to raise as much income for two great causes as possible.”
Peter Sunderland, chairman of YAA, said that he hoped the charity could become a long-term supporter of the club.
Yorkshire Air Ambulance needs £7,200 every day to keep the two life-saving helicopters operational.
The charity was formed in 2000 but only got their second air ambulance in 2007.
It is the first time the charity’s logo has been on front of a football kit and the first time Town have had a non-commercial company on their shirt.
All involved hope the partnership will be a flying success.
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TOWN chairman-elect Dean Hoyle said he was proud the word ‘Yorkshire’ would be emblazoned on their home shirts.
Mr Hoyle said: “It is fantastic to support a charity and we want to give something back and I’m very proud about this.
“Hopefully the fans will get behind us and back us and they will see that we are a caring club and trying to do things a bit differently.”
He explained why the League I club hadn’t opted for a straight commercial sponsorship like the Thornton & Ross deal for the away kit.
“With the away-shirt deal already in place and other sponsorships we’ve got to announce, we’ve got the same monies coming in as last year,” he added.
“So anything we raise through Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the 50/50 split is over and above what we had last year.
“We have worked hard to bring the sponsors together and with this being an extra it’s a win, win situation all round.
“This partnership means a lot to us because the club has got fantastic tradition and we are supporting a great charity in YAA.”
YAA need £7,200 every day to keep the two helicopters operational – that’s £2.65million a year.
They cover an area with 5 million Yorkshire folk over 4 million acres.
The two helicopters can fly at speeds of up to 160mph.
So far 2, 444 patients have been carried by YAA to hospitals.
Top Gear star Richard Hammond is the most high-profile patient to use the service after his high-speed crash.
How it will work: For every £1 raised through the Keep It Up campaign 50p will go to Town’s academy and 50p to the YAA.
You can contribute £3 by sending a blank text to 84010.
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