A TEENAGER has been inspired to raise money for air ambulance lifesavers after the dramatic helicopter rescue of people tombstoning from Durdle Door last month.

Ben Hall, 14, from Bovington, is sleeping in an Anderson shelter in his back garden until he returns to school to raise money for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

At the beginning of lockdown, Ben and his family built an Anderson shelter after being inspired by the VE Day anniversary celebrations. But what started as a project to stay occupied while his school was closed turned into a fundraising exercise when Ben heard about the drama at Durdle Door.

He said: "The air ambulance was called out to my local beach to rescue individuals that had jumped from Durdle Door injuring themselves badly. Two helicopters were needed on this day, both landing on the same beach. Each rescue costs £3,000, so I have decided to try and raise some money for the charity. I will be sleeping in my Anderson shelter until I return to school, which will be September."

His mum Shelley added: "He wanted to raise money for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance after the scenes at Durdle Door. So he has decided to sleep in it every night until he goes back to school, armed with just candles and a book, with no WiFi.

"Ben is absolutely obsessed with World War One and Two, we would always go to Belgium and he loves to research soldiers.

"Ben was suffering with lockdown, he had not been out or seen his friends. A friend suggested he built an Anderson shelter so we went round getting sheets of corrugated iron from neighbours.

"He and his sister dug the hole and then he asked if he could sleep in it.

"Then Durdle Door happened and we said that's how he could raise money for the air ambulance."

Tracy Bartram, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance communications manager, said: “What a wonderful thing for Ben to do in support of our life-saving service. During these unprecedented times, we rely evermore on the local community for support. With numerous events in aid of us being cancelled over the summer months and fundraising opportunities quite limited, initiatives like Ben’s are playing a key role in generating funds and making a big difference. On behalf of everyone at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and the patients who need us, thank you!”

You can donate to Ben's fundraising page here at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BenHall59


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