FIT fundraisers who donned Santa suits earlier this month have helped to raise thousands of pounds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

A Santa dash at Lydiard Park earlier this month, organised by the Rotary Club of Swindon Phoenix and the charity, raised £5,000.

The event saw more than 200 Santas brave the bitter cold to run 5km around the park, and this week the club visited the charity to hand the cheque over.

Caroline Corrigan, fundraising manager for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “It costs the charity £2,000 per day to keep the helicopter in the air and the Rotarians’ goal was to raise enough funds to keep the helicopter flying for further two days by raising £4,000.

“They did in fact raise £5,000 with more funds due to come in. The money will keep the air ambulance flying for another two days and potentially save six lives.”

Swindon Phoenix was invited to the unit to donate the funds raised and see the helicopter.

Paramedic Matthew Baskerville who flies on the helicopter gave them a look around and answered questions on the role he plays as a crew member.

The Wiltshire Air Ambulance relies completely on the public for funding. The service does not receive any Government funding towards its annual target of more than £700,000.

In the last year crews flew to more than 42 incidents in and around the Swindon area.

Phoenix Rotary president Paul Parfrey said “I have chosen Wiltshire Air Ambulance as one of the beneficiaries from the fundraising that Swindon Phoenix are doing as it’s a critical service to saving lives in Wiltshire.

“The Santa Run took hours of organising but it paid off. “The members of Swindon Phoenix are proud to support this worthy cause and we have booked December 1, 2013 for the next Swindon Santa Run.”

For more information about Wiltshire Air Ambulance visit or for more information about the Rotary Club visit