Photo gallery: Fun run for East of England Air Ambulance attracts hundreds

Hundreds of fundraisers took off down a Norfolk runway this weekend to help raise thousands of pounds for charity.

More than 200 participants gathered at Tibenham Airfield this afternoon (Sunday) to take part in the charity's Runway Run, which is now in its fourth year.

Held at the home of the Norfolk Gliding Club, the event has raised �40,000 for the air ambulance in the past and organisers were hoping to add �20,000 to the total with this year's run.

East of England Air Ambulance fundraising manager, Jess Down, said: 'To have 250 people running and 100 spectators and supporters wanting to fundraise for us is incredible and it's a chance to raise awareness to a captive audience.

'This year we've brought in the 10k option so we've got people with dogs who might walk the 5k and then really athletic people doing 10k.'

It comes as the Evening News continues to boost the air ambulance's coffers through its LifeSaver appeal.

Readers are being urged to help raise funds to pay for two baby ventilators, which will cost approximately �10,000 for both.

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Currently the air ambulance, which receives no government funding, costs �4.5m per year to run, but this will rise to �6m when the charity begins night-flying later this year.

Lynn Chambers-Dowe, from Fundenhall, near Tacolneston and Lauren Dodgshun, from Pulham St Mary both chose to run the 5k after experiencing the air ambulance first hand.

Ms Chambers-Dowe, 45, said: 'I had the air ambulance out to me three or four years ago when I came off my horse - I hurt my back at the time. It's a good thing to do because they don't receive any funding.'

Ms Dodgshun, 29, added: 'My mum got kicked in the head and they came out to her and if they didn't I dread to think what would have happened.'

Gemma Bassett, 27, a chef from Scole, who chose to run 10k, said her brother had been treated by the air ambulance after a chicken shed fell on him while at work. She had raised �560 in sponsorship.

'It's life-saving', she said. 'Without it he would have died - they got there really quickly. It's a really good cause and everyone's been really generous.'

Parents of three-year-old Lewis Gray, Emma Eldergill and Alex Gray, from Cambridgeshire, also found out the importance of the charity when their son was airlifted to Addenbrooke's after suffering a fit while on a day trip with his grandparents in Hemsby.

Mr Gray said his son spent three days in hospital, and added: 'We've been doing some fundraising things and I did the London Marathon for them and we're always in contact with them.

'They're such nice people and always look out for us and without them Lewis could have been a lot more poorly.'

Ms Eldergill added: 'They didn't just take him to the James Paget either, they refuelled and took him to Addenbrooke's so he had the proper specialist treatment - they were telling my mum and dad what they were doing and keeping them informed.

'It's such an important charity.'

A memorial service was also be held at the former US Air Force base to mark the anniversary of the 445th Bombardment Group's Kassel Mission in which 39 B-24 aircraft left the Norfolk airfield on September 27, 1944, and only four returned.