A LIFESAVING air ambulance charity is facing a £1.2million shortfall as the loss of fundraising events during the pandemic hits hard.

Back in March, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) estimated that there could potentially be a deficit of around £420,000 from cancelled events during the summer.

As the impact of Covid-19 continues to progress, fundraising activity is still significantly decreased due to larger gatherings remaining prohibited.

As a result, the charity has seen a much larger hit to their financial income than initially predicted and now estimates that the fundraising deficit stands in the region of £1.2m.

Chairman Peter Sunderland said: “Like many charities and businesses across the UK, the YAA has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It really has been the most challenging time for our teams, with strict restrictions still in place across much of the county, and most events being cancelled due to stringent social distancing measures.

“Whilst we have adapted to the new fundraising climate with virtual events and digital fundraising activities, this has been unable to replace the income that would have been generated from many of our larger events that take place annually.

“Thanks to our previous foresight to plan for unexpected events, the YAA is currently able to continue carrying out our day to day operations at both our airbases.

“However, the additional £1.2m income that we had budgeted for this year would have been hugely beneficial for building our reserves to ensure the continued stability of the charity, and plans we have for future advancements and developments.”

The charity, which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, provides two emergency helicopters which treated nearly 1,150 patients last year.

Helen Callear, director of fundraising, said: “Although it has been an incredibly challenging year for the team at the YAA, we have greatly benefitted from the hard work and support we have kindly received in the past, in riding out this crisis.

“We have an incredibly loyal donor base, who we could not be more grateful to for their continued support.” She added: “Where various fundraising events have been able to take place, we have been proud to continue to offer support to everyone.”