The Great North Air Ambulance Service has recruited its first fundraiser in the Isle of Man.

Since March 2022, GNAAS and Manx Care have been working together to develop a helicopter emergency medical service for the Isle of Man.

The service means that people in the island who have suffered major trauma can be taken directly to a hospital in the UK for emergency medical treatment.

Sophie van Hooven, 29, from Port St Mary, is now responsible for the fundraising events in the island as well as creating awareness of the charity and the work that is carried out on the island to support Manx residents.

Previously she worked for a charity on the Isle of Man as a community fundraiser before starting her own events and social media business.

She’s also raised thousands of pounds for charity by taking part in the Parish Walk and the run section of the Brutal Extreme Triathlon in Wales.

One of the first events she represented GNAAS at was the Royal Manx Show, where she worked alongside some of her new colleagues who are based in the North East of England.

She said: ‘It was wonderful meeting and chatting to so many people and getting the GNAAS name out and about.

‘I also spent a few days at GNAAS headquarters and was made to feel so welcomed by everyone, they’re all so friendly. There’s such a fantastic team spirit, and I’m looking forward to working with such a great team.’

Since the partnership began, GNAAS has responded to the Isle of Man by helicopter 33 times and transferred many patients to specialist hospitals in the UK.

GNAAS’s services cost £8.5m per year to run, covering not only the Isle of Man but the North East, North Yorkshire, and Cumbria in the UK.

Funding is in place until April 2024 and the charity hopes to continue responding to incidents for many years to come, but to ensure this is possible it needs the support of the community.