Baldock curry chef makes hefty Herts Air Ambulance donation – and fundraising effort hots up with Tanzania trek

Abbas Ahmed, centre, presents the cheque to Natasha Robertson and Maria Alexander from Herts Air Amb

Abbas Ahmed, centre, presents the cheque to Natasha Robertson and Maria Alexander from Herts Air Ambulance at the Chilli Lounge in Baldock. Councillor Jim McNally, Darren and Lisa Yates, Councillor Michael Weeks and Aktharujjaman Manik look on. - Credit: Archant

A Baldock curry chef has made a hefty donation to Herts Air Ambulance – and he’s set to spice up his fundraising effort with a 45-mile trek across Tanzania.

Baldock curry chef Abbas Ahmed accepts his award from Paul Scully MP during Curry Life's 15-year ann

Baldock curry chef Abbas Ahmed accepts his award from Paul Scully MP during Curry Life's 15-year anniversary celebration at the Strand Palace Hotel. Also in the line-up are Baldock councillors Jim McNally and Michael Weeks. Photo: Kois Miah - Credit: Archant

Abbas Ahmed, from the Chilli Lounge in Whitehorse Street, handed over a cheque for £1,791 – the proceeds of a charity auction at the restaurant in December – on Tuesday last week.

He’ll be jetting off to Tanzania in October as part of a nine-day Herts Air Ambulance camping and trekking expedition, taking in waterfalls, mountains and savannah.

Abbas told the Comet: “I’ve been working with charities for the past 15 years – not only for causes here like Garden House Hospice Care, but also in Bangladesh.

“People may remember I used to donate 50p from every takeaway.


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“Last year I thought it’d be good to change, and I’d heard about the air ambulance and their really great work so I thought I’d like to help them.

“All these local people are helping to raise money, so I need to give them something back as well. It’s not only about the charity – I never say no to anyone. I feel proud to help.”

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Items donated for the auction included a chef experience with Abbas and a sports massage from therapist Natalie Long.

Others were a hamper, mirror and giant monkey donated by JP Glass & Decor, run by Darren Yates from Stotfold, and Camms Architects.

Councillor Jim McNally said: “It’s really good to see a business in Baldock like the Chilli Lounge doing so much for both the community and for charitable work.

“Herts Air Ambulance provides a vital service to the community all over Herts, and I’m really proud that the people of Baldock have demonstrated how much they value it.”

Councillor Michael Weeks echoed Mr McNally’s sentiments.

Herts Air Ambulance’s Natasha Robertson added: “This support is amazing. Every time the Herts Air Ambulance is called out it costs £2,700, and we rely 100 per cent on the generosity of the community and businesses in the area.

“We don’t get any NHS funding, so this makes a huge difference to us – and we’re extremely grateful to everyone here for their support. They’re literally saving lives.”

Abbas is also playing a big role in exporting British curry to India, and last month he was one of seven chefs recognised for this work by Curry Life magazine.

He said: “They talk about how curry came from India, but actually we’ve developed it much more here in the UK.

“British curry is doing well in India – they really like it and it’s becoming quite famous there.”

You can find out a bit about how to make British curry for yourself next month, when Abbas hosts a homemade curry day at the restaurant.

The event’s on April 24 – to find out more give the restaurant a call on 01462 896060 or 01462 895050, or see chilliloungebaldock.co.uk.

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