Newcastle woman raises over £24,000 for Great North Air Ambulance Service by recycling clothes

14.10.22 Amanda Simmister bag collection GNAAS air ambulance GNAAS
Some of the bags collected by Amanda who fundraises in her local community. Credit: Great North Air Ambulance

A woman from Newcastle has raised over £24,000 for her local air ambulance service from recycling unwanted clothing.

Amanda Simmister, 46, from Wideopen, Newcastle, started collecting bags of clothes in 2010 to support the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Mrs Simmister uses a spreadsheet to keep track of how many bags and mobile phones her local community have donated.

Since her records began, she has handed over more than 8,300 bags and 300 mobile phones which equates to more than £24,000 raised.

She said: “Each collection fills me with pride. It is my way of helping and ensuring we have lots of local support. I always want to better my previous totals but as long as I pass the number of bags I set as my goal each year I am happy.” 

“Over the years, the support I have received from people has been and continues to be amazing.  People know their bags are going to the charity and helping towards the yearly costs of the service. During my time of doing this, I have many people who repeatedly contribute to the collections and I have made some very good friends from this too.

“In addition to clothing, a lot of people in my local area have donated raffle and tombola prizes to me. These are always greatly appreciated, as we can then use them at GNAAS events throughout the year.”

Mrs Simmister is a long-time supporter of GNAAS, volunteering for 13 years before starting as a community fundraiser - her “dream job”. Credit: Great North Air Ambulance

Mrs Simmister added: “If anyone can host a clothing collection like my mam and myself, I would recommend it as it is a great feeling being such a big part of the community.

“It only takes some time and space if you get people to drop the bags off to you. As GNAAS come to collect the bags from the house and load the van themselves, it really is a simple way of supporting our local air ambulance service.

“My local community has already donated 1,172 bags and 24 mobile phones this year which is an amazing achievement and I am grateful for everyone’s support.”

John Ballan, general manager at the Trading Company added: “Amanda has been incredibly supportive of GNAAS over the years and is a massive asset to the charity. We’d like to thank Amanda and the local community who drop off bags of clothing, as every donation ensures that the critical care team from GNAAS continues to help those in need.”

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