3 hunts in the South-west have together raised £38,000 for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance — at a single event.

Blackmore and Sparkford Vale, Portman and South Dorset hunts managed to raise one of the biggest donations from one event for the charity by hosting a raffle and a drinks party in June.

John Sunnucks was the host and leader of the organising committee. He came up with the idea as he lay in his hospital bed recovering from a hunting fall which required two trips in the Air Ambulance.

“All who hunt in Dorset and Somerset are truly grateful for the service the Air Ambulance provides,” John said when presenting the cheque.

“It has saved many lives and will save many more. With no direct government funding its survival is dependent on voluntary donations and its own fund raising efforts.

“It has been a delight working with the enthusiastic and efficient Air Ambulance team and the level of money raised, £38,000 in one event from a standing start, is testimony to the excellence of their efforts and general recognition for the importance of the cause.”

1000 tickets at £25 each were sold for the raffle — prizes included a life size bronze fox by sculptor Emma MacDermott and a holiday to Iceland donated by holiday company Black Tomato.

More than 300 people attended the drinks party including members of the hunts, ex-patients and the crew of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

A gathering of ex-patients at the summer drinks party

A gathering of ex-patients at the summer drinks party

Guests at the party were asked to give a donation to the Air Ambulance on the day and also encouraged to sign up to the charity’s lottery initiative which costs £1 a week.

Bill Sivewright from the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance said: “We are enormously grateful to John and the team for their incredible hard work in putting together such an ambitious and successful event.

They not only helped raise a large sum of money, they also raised awareness of the work of the Charity across the wider hunt community.”