Staff from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), along with their family and friends, have raised £9,680 for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (NI) by way of a step challenge back in April.

They undertook the challenge to commemorate their colleague Kevin Murphy, who passed away unexpectedly in December 2021.

Murphy was highly esteemed by his colleagues in DAERA and by his community in Magherafelt, Co. Down.

Thanking the staff whose efforts raised the money, Kevin’s wife Siobhan Murphy said: “One of Kevin’s mottos was to ‘Live every day as if it were your last’.

“He did just that by being very active. He would be very proud indeed of what this challenge has managed to achieve for so many.”

L-R: Breige Mulholland, Air Ambulance NI; Sharon McFlynn, DAERA; Siobhan Murphy; Cormac Murphy; Maria Bradley, DAERA and Rachel Conn, DAERA

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots thanked his staff for undertaking this challenge.

“I feel very proud of my staff and their families and friends who challenged themselves in April to raise these funds and to be more active,” he said.

“In total, 114, 233,729 steps were recorded by most of those who took part. That equates to 1,831 marathons or 47,972 miles.

“The physical and mental health benefits they gained in this challenge have been fantastic.”

Also thanking the DAERA staff was Breige Mulholland, head of operations and finance with Air Ambulance NI.

“I want to thank DAERA for their tremendous support over the month of April,” she said.

According to Breige, their money raised will fund the service for nearly two days, “potentially saving the lives, brains and limbs of four individuals right here in Northern Ireland”.

“That could be anyone’s family member in the future,” she said.

“It is such an amazing gesture in Kevin Murphy’s memory.”