[A] MAN whose kidney ruptured while at a food festival has undertaken a paddleboard challenge in aid of the charity which flew him to hospital.
Allistair Swinsco, of Cargo, Carlisle, became seriously unwell while at a food fair at Wallington Hall in Northumberland.
The 45-year-old was treated on scene and flown to the Cumberland Infirmary by the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), which is entirely dependent on donations to survive.
The incident happened ten years ago but Mr Swinsco said he would never forget the service he received from the charity that day.
“The service was outstanding,” he said. “The Great North Air Ambulance Service do an outstanding job and deserve all the help we can give.
“People should think of supporting it as an insurance policy, hopefully you won’t need it but nice to know it’s there if you do.”
After recovering from his traumatic ordeal, Mr Swinsco decided to combine his passion for stand up paddleboarding with fundraising for GNAAS as show of appreciation.
Along with partner Alison Rennie, he embarked on a 404km trip of the Murray River in Australia from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill.
The couple managed to complete the journey in just under 48 hours, battling 36-39°C heat but raising £1093 for GNAAS along the way. They also contributed towards a local charity called Red Dust Role Models.
Mr Swinsco said: “It was an amazing trip and we are looking forward to the next adventure.”
Last year GNAAS responded to over 900 call-outs and needed to raise £5.1m. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.