18 Feb '16

ShAFF and Wild Country announce fundraiser for Sheffield Helipad Appeal

Press release: 18 February 2016

Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF) have teamed with Tideswell based climbing equipment manufacturer Wild Country, to host a special event to raise funds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity Helipad Appeal, the details of which are today announced.

On Saturday 12 March, Wild Country will present A Brief History of Friends, a short film screening and Q&A with Mark Vallance introduced by Climbing writer Niall Grimes. Mark founded Wild Country in 1977 to bring the revolutionary climbing protection device, the Friend, to market. Nearly forty years on, the Friend has become an essential tool for traditional climbing - where climbers scale rock faces placing pieces of equipment as they scale the rock. It transformed climbing safety and opened up new possibilities in the sport, emboldening climbers to try daring new routes on rock faces which previously would have potentially had fatal consequences.

All proceeds from this event will go directly to the Helipad Appeal to fund a new landing pad next to the Accident and Emergency Department at the Northern General Hospital. Funds will also be raised from the suggested £1 donation with every ShAFF ticket sold.

Festival Director Matt Heason said: ‘This is the third year that ShAFF have supported Sheffield Hospitals Charity and we are delighted that Wild Country are joining us to help raise funds for the Helipad Appeal. With a third of Sheffield’s boundary within the Peak District, the city is a magnet for adventure sports athletes, but the reality is that accidents happen and the rapid response that a helicopter ambulance would offer could be potentially life-saving. As a community of climbers, runners and bikers we would all benefit from this and as a community based festival, ShAFF and Wild Country are proud to support this appeal.’

Wild Country, Marketing Director Steve Foster said: Wild Country is proud to support this appeal which will benefit every outdoor enthusiast who visits the Peak District. We are aware that the Air Ambulance service exists but don’t really appreciate it until it touches us personally. Without the rescue teams, the Air Ambulance and the Trauma Team at NGH Dionne’s situation could have been a lot worse. Everyone at Wild Country was deeply affected by the accident and very grateful to all those involved in the rescue and her medical care.

David Reynolds, Director of Sheffield Hospitals Charity said: “I’m very grateful that ShAFF and Wild Country are backing our Helipad Appeal. I hope that their support will encourage people attending the festival to make a donation as we are so close to reaching our final target. Having access to a new helipad facility is vital for everyone living in Sheffield and the surrounding area. Any one of us could be involved in an accident or medical emergency and in those moments we’d all give anything for the best medical attention possible as quickly as possible.”

In September 2014, Wild Country staff member Dionne Davies experienced firsthand the importance of an airlift rescue, when she fell from approximately 35ft on Stanage Edge.

Dionne’s account of what happened that day:

‘After I started coming round to understanding what had happened the mountain rescue teams were fully on top of the situation and had everything in control. I could hear the propeller of the helicopters coming nearer. All the climbers that were in the area that day came together to help form a human chain and started passing me down in the stretcher to the helicopter. Luckily my injuries weren't life threatening, but had they been the air ambulance could have saved my life. I can't thank the air ambulance, mountain rescue, all the staff at the hospital and fellow climbers enough for everything they did that day.’

The Helipad Appeal was launched in October 2014 to raise £2 million to build a new helipad at the Northern General Hospital, there is still £198,000 left to be raised to reach the appeal target of £2 million. The new helipad will mean that patients requiring life-saving treatment can be transferred to the Accident and Emergency Department within seconds of landing, saving valuable time, as every second is crucial when dealing with major trauma injuries.

Dr Stuart Reid, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Clinical Lead for Major Trauma at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals said: “As one of 26 Major Trauma Centres in the country, we receive patients from a large geographical area including South Yorkshire and the Peak District in North Derbyshire. Having a new helipad seconds from our door means we can start working on the patients sooner, which could make all the difference as every second really can count.”

“When someone suffers major trauma which involves multiple or serious injury, the speed with which they can get specialist medical help can be the difference between life and death, and that’s why this appeal is so important.”

For more details visit