A LIFE-saving charity has clocked up 30,000 helicopter rescue missions.
The Air Ambulance Service has reached the milestone having stayed airborne for 15 years.
The charity operates two emergency helicopters – the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) – alongside its critical care cars on the ground.
Between them, they cover more than 3,850 miles, with an average response time of just 13 minutes.
In 2017 alone, the service carried out 3,547 missions – 39 per cent due to road collisions and 25 per cent to medical emergencies, with the rest due to falls, sports related incidents, or accidents.
The service relies entirely on donations, receiving no funding from the government, the NHS or national lottery aid.
The charity’s director of operations, Richard Clayton, said public support was vital to help keep their helicopters flying.
He said: “We are incredibly proud to have reached this amazing milestone and make such a difference to so many patients and their families.
“We simply couldn’t have done it without the support of our wonderful donors, supporters and volunteers, whose generosity over the years has been fantastic.
“It’s also a testament to our wonderful hardworking staff, including our pilots, doctors and critical care paramedics who do lifesaving work every day, 365 days a year. Here’s to the next 30,000 missions and beyond.”
Critical care paramedic Gavin Alexander said: “It’s a job that’s both rewarding and challenging, but to be able to make such a difference to the local community is a fantastic feeling.
“Every life saved is a victory for us, and we are forever grateful for all the donations that help keep this important service flying.”
Later this year, the WNAA and DLRAA both plan to extend their critical care lifesaving services to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk or call 0300 3045 999 to find out how to support the charity.