Ongar first aiders’ emergency call for new ambulance

by Sylvia Pownall

Volunteer first aiders are fundraising for a new ambulance as their vehicle has clocked up enough mileage to travel to the moon – and part of the way back.

St John’s Ambulance in Ongar hopes to raise €25,000, which is enough money to buy a ‘new’ second-hand model with fewer kilometres on the odometer.

Member in Charge Darren McCarthy told Dublin Gazette: “The one we have is well over 20 years old, and there’s more than 300,000km on the clock.

“A brand-new ambulance would cost €80,000, but for €25,000 we could get something just a few years old, which would be as good as new for us.

“We have to put a lot of money into the one we have to keep it roadworthy. The water pump has just had to be replaced and that cost €350.

“The vehicle is safe. It is roadworthy and still in service, although we are not sure for how long, as it is due to be decommissioned at the end of this year.

“Keeping it going is costing us a fortune.”

The Ongar group is one of two divisions in the Blanchardstown area and last year alone it covered duties which amounted to around 2,500 volunteer hours, from GAA matches at Croke Park to community events across Dublin 15.

All training, equipment, and expenses are paid for through these duties or by members raising money in the community.

Volunteers hope that the purchase of a new ambulance will help them promote the cadet division and engage with the youth of the Dublin 15 area to teach them essential life skills and life-saving skills.

A series of fundraisers, including bag packing and a sponsored sky dive, will take place in coming months. For details visit the St John’s Ambulance Ongar Facebook page.

A GoFundMe appeal has also been launched. To donate, see the website here.

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