Gillotts Funeral Directors has donated £2,000 to the Nuthall and District Community First Responders after raising the money through its annual charity Christmas tree appeal last year.
The company invited local families to leave a message of remembrance for a loved one on the branches of Christmas trees erected in the company’s offices in Eastwood, Kimberley, Selston, Stapleford and Heanor.
Gillotts makes a £1 donation to its chosen charity for every message left, while visitors are also invited to leave donations too.
The total is the most the company has ever collected through the appeal and will enable the responders, who work in partnership with the East Midlands Ambulance Service and attend 999 incidents on their behalf, purchase much-needed equipment such as defibrillators and heart monitors.
Derek Burnett, the group’s co-ordinator, said it needs to raise in the region of £5,000 each year for equipment, although its most precious resource – its 13 volunteers – give up every minute of their time for free.
He added: “We’re all gobsmacked by the amount of money that Gillotts have raised for us and I’d like to thank everybody who made a donation.
“We are all volunteers but equipment has to be paid for and with each defibrillator costing £1,000, ours is not a cheap organisation to run.
“We are always busy in winter but I can’t remember it being as busy as it is at the moment. Last weekend I attended 24 call-outs, compared to 15 to 18 at normal times, so donations such as this are extremely welcome.”
Joanne Hutsby, a partner in Gillotts Funeral Directors, said: “We have held our appeal for 11 years but this is the most that we have ever raised, which goes to show how much people appreciate the work the Nuthall and District Community First Responders do to keep us safe.
“It is always enjoyable to catch up with families we last saw earlier in the year or even years gone by and it’s wonderful to know that at the same time as leaving a message of remembrance for their loved one, they have helped a vital community group to continue its work.”