The Ulster Farmers’ Union is gearing up to mark its centenary year in 2018 and is pleased to announce that Air Ambulance Northern Ireland will be the nominated charity for the year.
UFU president Barclay Bell says the UFU has various plans to mark 100 years, during which farming has changed dramatically but core issues such as profitability, productivity and succession remain the same.
“We will be recognising the contributions of our members, the achievements of the Union, and we have a goal to raise £100,000 for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland,” he added.
Mr Bell accepts this an ambitious target, but says the UFU is up to the challenge. “Our members, the wider rural community and the food industry have consistently demonstrated their generosity. For our 90th anniversary celebration we raised over £100,000 for the charity Fields of Life and built two legacy schools in Uganda,” he said.
Until this year, Northern Ireland was the only UK region without an air ambulance. The service, which is funded through a charity, needs to raise £2 million a year to operate. Mr Bell says this life-saving service will be a major benefit to farmers and rural communities: “In isolated rural areas it can be difficult for medical services to reach, treat and transport people. The air ambulance will help tackle that and so will save lives. It’s a service we hope we will never need but if we do we would be forever grateful it is there.”
Mr Bell says there will be many ways for UFU members and others to get involved in marking the centenary and supporting fundraising efforts.
“For 100 years our members have been at the heart of everything we do and we are excited to mark their contributions and achievements,” he added.
The UFU’s first centenary activity is a 2018 calendar of photos contributed by members. This will be available to purchase from September this year. All proceeds will go to Air Ambulance NI.