Praise for Ipswich 90-year-old for helping to keep air ambulances flying

Margaret Clarke at her Ipswich home. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Margaret Clarke at her Ipswich home. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A selfless Ipswich woman has helped to raise £800 for a life-saving charity by asking for donations instead of presents for her 90th birthday.

She raised �800 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at her 90th birthday party. Picture: GREGG BROWN

She raised �800 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at her 90th birthday party. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Edith Clarke, who goes by the name Margaret, called on guests to her birthday party last month to give cash to the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).

The charity depends on financial support from the public to run its helicopter emergency medical service for seriously unwell people across the region.

Mrs Clarke and her late husband Frank made the same request on their diamond wedding anniversary, collecting £600 for EAAA.

Around 140 people attended Mrs Clarke’s big birthday bash on February 17 at Henley Community Centre, with one party-goer handing over a cheque for £100.

East Anglian Air Ambulance helicopters. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

East Anglian Air Ambulance helicopters. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

She said: “I didn’t want any presents at 90 and I thought the air ambulance are so good and they rely on donations so I was really pleased to do that.”

Newly turned nonagenarian Mrs Clarke, of Mitford Close, is still enjoying an active and independent life – she only gave up driving last year.

Most Read

Along with her charitable ventures, Mrs Clarke regularly takes part in social and sporting activities such as curling and boccia with the Ipswich Oddfellows.

Next month she will join a group from the society, which helps tackle loneliness by fostering friendships, on a four-mile ramble.

Mrs Clarke has two children, Alan and Angela, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Sophie Mathew, Suffolk area fundraising manager for EAAA, has praised Mrs Clarke for her fundraising efforts.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted that Edith has managed to raise such a fantastic amount of money, and what an incredibly kind way to fundraise.

“It costs the equivalent of around £3,500 for every mission we attend, so support like this invaluable to us, without it we wouldn’t be able to keep our helicopters flying.

“Last year we attended 2,844 missions and treated 1,762 patients, and support like Edith’s will enable us to continue doing that again this year.”

EAAA launched in 2000 and it operates two helicopters crewed by specialist pre-hospital doctors and critical-care paramedics to help patients across East Anglia.

Prince William used to be a pilot for the charity.