Ripley girl selling precious toy to raise funds for air ambulance

Ripley youngster Lois Smith is auctioning off her handmade rocking horse to raise funds for the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance.
Ripley youngster Lois Smith is auctioning off her handmade rocking horse to raise funds for the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance.

A Ripley youngster has launched an online auction for one of her most precious toys to raise money for a life-saving Derbyshire service.

Nine-year-old Lois Smith is holding an online auction to sell her handmade rocking horse in support of the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance.

Mum Annette Matthews said: “It was made especially for her, so I was a bit wary when she said she wanted to sell it. I was shocked too, and then she explained that she wanted to give the money to someone else.

“There is so much awful news all the time, so its nice to be able to share this with people.”

Lois has set an ambitious target of £500, with the highest donation winning the horse and all others being donated the charity.

It is not the first time she has done something to help the air ambulance either.

Annette said: “My parents live up near Cromford, and in the summer Lois will set up a stall in the field selling cups of water to walkers.

“The air ambulance always passes through the valley there, because there are a lot of motorcycle accidents on the roads around there. I think that’s where she first started asking what is for and who they helped.”

She added: “My sister does a lot of work with horses, and had always done fundraising for the air ambulance, so it’s just rubbed off on Lois.”

Annette’s sister Andrea Fretwell, a hairdresser in Belper, commissioned the rocking horse from one of her customers.

Annette said: “It was in pride of place in her nursery for many years, and she used to play on it a lot, but we recently moved house from South Normanton and now she’s got a bit too big for it.

“I’m really proud of her. I do encourage Lois to think of other people, but she instigated this all by herself.”

She added: “Lois was worried that the horse has her name on it, but I’ve reassured her it can be removed. She also wants people to know she has plenty of toys, so no one thinks she’ll be going without.”

To make a bid for the rocking horse, or simply add a donation to the total, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/loisoliviahorseyauction.

Alternatively, text NEIG70 £(enter amount) to 70070.

To learn more about the work of the air ambulance, see theairambulanceservice.org.uk.