Have a heart and support your local air ambulance charity

Ian Taylor visits the Great Western Air Ambulance base at Filton.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), providers of an air ambulance for the 2.1 million residents of our region, are encouraging people to support their cause this February as part of a new initiative called ‘Love Your Air Ambulance‘ month.

The charity, based in Filton, is currently trying to raise £250,000 of additional funds for a new Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter in order to replace the ageing Bölkow 105 model that it currently uses. A new helicopter would attend to patients four minutes faster, would allow a mother and child to fly to hospital together and would allow more space for the patient, equipment and mid-air treatment.

During February, local businesses, schools and community groups are being encouraged to “love” their air ambulance by wearing red or pink for a dress down day, by holding a raffle or a heart themed cake sale.

In 2010, Ian Taylor, 63, suffered a cardiac arrest while out with family in Gloucestershire and was attended to by the air ambulance at the scene, before being transferred to the intensive care unit at Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital.

Ian visited the air ambulance’s base in Filton to thank the crew that went to his aid, and in support of Love Your Air Ambulance month said:

“Without the critical care support I received from the Great Western Air Ambulance, I wouldn’t be here today.”

“It’s amazing to think such a vital service is actually a charity, so in addition to the medical team, thank you to everyone who generously donates to the organisation, which made my invaluable care possible.”

John Christensen, Chief Executive of GWAAC, said:

“The air ambulance attends on average one cardiac arrest per day. With love and hearts normally at the forefront of people’s minds during February, we thought that this would be the perfect time to remind the people of our region that in order to continue operating, our charity relies on the support of the people that we serve as we receive no Government or National Lottery funding.”

“You never know when you might need us, and that’s why it’s so important for people to support our cause and to help keep our air ambulance flying.”

For more information about Love Your Air Ambulance month and to get involved with a fundraising activity, please contact Emma Carter on 0303 4444 999, email emma.carter@greatwesternairambulance.com or visit www.loveyourairambulance.com.

Photo: Ian Taylor visits the Great Western Air Ambulance base at Filton.

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