Charity tribute to canoe tragedy dad

Pictured with Robert Colgrave of the Great North Air Ambulance. are (left to right) Dawn Braham, Zoe Peers, Jean Connor and Pauline Atkinson.

Pictured with Robert Colgrave of the Great North Air Ambulance. are (left to right) Dawn Braham, Zoe Peers, Jean Connor and Pauline Atkinson.

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LOVED ones of a dad whose life was cut tragically short in a canoeing accident have raised more than £1,200 for a life-saving service.

Friends and family of Andrew Weatherill raised the cash for the Great North Air Ambulance, which took part in a major rescue operation to try to save him.

Andrew, 33, from Hartlepool, died after getting into difficulty while canoeing in Northumberland last month.

Friends and relatives of Andrew collected £1,257 for the air ambulance from two successful fundraising events.

Gillian Willey’s 40th birthday party at the Camerons Club raised £604 from a raffle and collection.

And a home baking stall and tombola by close family friend Pauline Atkinson and colleague Zoe Peers at the University Hospital of Hartlepool raised another £653.

Pauline and Zoe are theatre domestic assistants at the hospital.

Linda Braham, of Braemar Road, Hartlepool, whose partner Rollie, 60, is Andrew’s dad, said: “Everyone’s been absolutely fabulous and we would like to thank everybody who has been involved.

“It’s been astounding how kind people have been. The air ambulance does a great job and it’s a shame they don’t get any funding.”

Linda gave particular thanks to her sister Jean Connor and Linda’s daughter Dawn Braham for all their work including collecting raffle prizes.

A collection box organised by Camerons Club staff has still to be collected and added to the girls’ total.

The Great North Air Ambulance was involved in efforts to save fork-lift truck driver Andrew after the accident at Riding Mill, near Hexham.

He had enjoyed a romantic week away with his girlfriend Rachel Johnson in the Lake District and were on their way home to Huxley Walk, Hartlepool.

Rachel previously described Andrew, a much-loved dad of two, as “the perfect dad” who lived life to the full.

Robert Colgrave, Great North Air Ambulance fundraiser, said: “We don’t receive any government funding and rely solely on public donations.

“This amount of money is fantastic for us to receive and we really appreciate all the hard work the ladies have done.”