PUPILS from a school involved in an horrific bus crash last week have made a fundraising pledge to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
GNAAS flew to the scene and worked alongside other emergency services in triaging the dozens of casualties, before airlifting a 12-year-old boy from Tanfield Comprehensive School with serious head injuries.
Fifty pupils were on board at the time of crash at Shield Row Lane, near the junction of the A693 at Oxhill, near Stanley. Many required hospital treatment.
The new intake of year sevens at St Bede’s are taking on GNAAS as one of their chosen charities in its upcoming academic year, starting in September.
St Bede’s headteacher Neville Harrison said: "We are so grateful for the excellent care shown by the crew of the air ambulance during last week's traumatic events.
“To show our appreciation and gratitude, we have named the GNAAS as one of our adopted charities.
“Fundraising throughout the next academic year will support the fantastic work carried out by the crews on a daily basis.
“On behalf of the children, families and staff at St Bede's, I would like, once again, to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks for your services last week."
The school will hold fundraising events to raise money for the air ambulance and hand over a cheque to the charity at the end of the year.
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS said: “This was a difficult rescue and very traumatic for those involved. We are just thankful the outcome wasn’t even worse.
“It costs around £4m to keep our aircraft flying, every penny of which is raised by the public. We are therefore incredibly grateful to the school for this support and we wish them every success in their upcoming fundraisers.”
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said the 12-year-old, who suffered serious facial injuries, had undergone surgery on Tuesday.
A message posted on a Facebook page set up to support him said: “His operation went amazingly.
“Couldn't have asked for any better from all the doctors and everyone involved.
“He has already been up and talking and asked me to let all of his friends and everyone else know that his operation went great and he is stable and doing well.”