Sky's the limit as Kettering pupils' helipad aluminium can collection takes off
Each helipad needs 80 tonnes of aluminium - about 5.7 million cans
Pupils at a Kettering school have been spurred on to recycle used drinks cans to help raise money, prevent valuable metals going into landfill and save lives.
Park Junior Academy students and staff have joined other communities across north Northamptonshire to collect as many aluminium cans as possible to build an air ambulance helipad.
Frontline health volunteers North Northants First Responders, who work alongside East Midlands Ambulance Service answering 999 calls, have been collecting the cans to help charity Helipads For Hospitals.
The school community have drunk up, cleaned out and squashed thousands of cans with the first load already handed over to appeal organisers.
Sharon Lynham, can collection coordinator, said: "We have collected mountains of cans. It's a whole school community effort. At the moment we are really conscience of recycling and we saw that North Northants First Responders were collecting the cans
"When we mentioned this initiative to our children we did not expect such an amazing response, we are astonished at how many cans our children and their families brought into school. They have said how proud they feel of themselves for doing something that could help save lives. "
Pupil Amy, nine, said: "I am really proud because we are helping that need our help to get to hospital quicker and we are saving lives."
Eight-year-old Ellexis added: "What we are doing is really helpful because helicopters have to land in fields near hospitals and get another ambulance so this will stop them needing to be driven and save their life."
Helipads For Hospitals was created by a former RAF and Air Ambulance Pilot. Their aim is to collect 80 tonnes of unwanted aluminium drinking cans to use the raw material in order to form an alloy strong enough to build a helipad on site at hospitals.
The first hospital that they are raising money for is Leicester Royal Infirmary where currently the air ambulance has to land in a nearby park using a land ambulance for the final mile to A&E - losing valuable life-saving time.
Every year in the UK, 16.2 billion cans are emptied with only around 2.5 billion being recycled.
Stacey Price from North Northants First Responders said: "We are exceptionally grateful for the kind generosity from all the children and teachers and additionally a big thank you to our local community who have been emailing us and arranging collections which we have been doing around our responding and own jobs.
"We now have a compactor which allows us to collect squashed cans, so please start squashing cans where possible to allow us to manage the storage more efficiently.
"We are overwhelmed with the support from the community and the ultimate aim is to have helipads at the hospitals with the hope that, if one of us ever needs it one day, then, it will be there."
Anyone wanting to collect cans for the North Northants First Responders' Helipads For Hospitals appeal should contact them directly.
Stacey added: "If you can collect your cans in a black bag and contact us when it's full we will be happy to come and collect at a time convenient for you, in Corby, Kettering and surrounding villages."
To arrange collection please email [email protected] or call 07944 698262.