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New TVACAA Air Ambulance


High flyers deliver 140 mph help

24th April 2009

Established in 1999, the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance helicopter and its medical staff help to save lives across the three counties of the region: Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

The first air ambulance charity was launched in Cornwall on April 1, 1987. Twenty-four helicopters are leased or owned and in service for the 16 air ambulance charities across the UK.

Air ambulances collectively undertake 19,000 missions annually, and serve 177 hospital Accident and Emergency departments.

The Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust is an independent charitable trust, but receives no funding from central Government or the National Lottery. This means that it has to rely on public donations to continue operating. Everything that is needed to meet their annual running costs of £2m comes from the public in the form of donations, fundraising, legacies and sponsorship.

The Air Ambulance helicopter is a Eurocopter EC135, based at RAF Benson. It is crewed by one pilot, and two paramedics, who are supported on a regular basis by a small team of dedicated doctors. It is sent to respond to 999 emergencies by the South Central ambulance control.

The Air Ambulance has a top speed of over 140 mph and carries a full range of life-saving equipment to enable swift medical intervention on the ground. It also has an additional seat to carry a parent or carer to accompany a sick or injured child.

It has the ability to land in difficult places, a key asset given the many rural places across the three counties that a conventional land ambulance would struggle to reach.

Their aim is to bring rapid medical attention when and where it is needed, and where necessary to transport patients to hospital to receive treatment best suited to aid their recovery.

The emergency service funded by TVACAA has undertaken more than 100 missions in Oxfordshire alone in the six months leading up to the New Year since its new EC 135 helicopter went into service in July 2008, and the trust is always looking for volunteers to help spread the word.

David Griffiths, fundraising co-ordinator for the Oxfordshire region, said: “Volunteers are always needed to place our collection boxes in various locations across the county, attend cheque presentations on TVACAA’s behalf and help at events local to their area, for instance we are looking for new volunteers to help represent the trust at the Henley Arts Trail in May.

“Don’t worry if you have never undertaken any voluntary work, we will give you full training and support. Being a volunteer for the trust is interesting and rewarding work for people of any age.”

You can contact the Thames Valley Air Ambulance Trust on 0300 999 0 135 or email: info@tvacaa.org

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