The Upwood Ukuleles being presented with balloons and cake as a thank you from the Magpas Air Ambulance fundraising team

Cambridgeshire-based musical group, the Upwood Ukuleles, is celebrating a milestone fundraising target after reaching a grand total of £50,000 raised to support Magpas Air Ambulance.

Formed in 2014 with the goal to simply have fun and make music together, the group regularly performs at parties, events, retirement homes, day centres and social evenings – including a career highlight performing on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire at the end of their first year in 2014. Their musical style is broad and diverse, performing anything from George Formby classics, to 1960s novelty numbers, to modern-day chart hits. And ukuleles aren’t the only thing on the menu! Instruments heard at an Upwood Ukuleles performance can include kazoos, harmonicas, recorders and percussion instruments, too.

The Upwood Ukuleles perform at The Stables in Milton Keynes in 2018 (photo courtesy of Bob Singleton)

In lieu of a performance fee, the group asks for a suitable donation to instead be made to Magpas Air Ambulance. Based at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire, the charity works 24/7 to support the ambulance service by bringing additional skills and treatments to the scene of an incident which are usually only available in a hospital emergency department. These include surgical procedures, general anaesthetics and sedations, among many other interventions that not only save vital time when every second counts, but also save lives. The charity receives no regular state funding, so donations from generous supporters like the Upwood Ukuleles are essential to ensure the team can continue to provide the lifesaving service across the East of England.


This year, after treating more than 70,000 patients and keeping families together for generations, Magpas Air Ambulance celebrates 50 years since the charity’s formation – so the timing for Upwood Ukuleles to reach the milestone total of £50k couldn’t have been more fitting.

Magpas Community and Events Officer Emma Sanders commented, “‘What an incredible achievement – £50k in our 50th year! The Upwood Ukuleles have shown great passion and enthusiasm for the work of Magpas Air Ambulance over the years, and we feel very lucky to have them as friends as well as supporters. They play superbly, sing beautifully and inject so much fun and humour into their music that you cannot help but want them back for more! We do not underestimate the hours of rehearsals and commitment it takes to be a band member and we cannot thank them enough.”

Upwood Ukuleles members Pauline (left) and Doug (right) visit the Magpas Air Ambulance office in Huntingdon with Magpas Community and Events Officer Emma Sanders (middle)