Airborne life-savers hailed on 20th anniversary

Some of the North West air ambulance team
Some of the North West air ambulance team

The North West Air Ambulance Charity has revealed it completed more than 2,000 missions in the past 12 months, as it celebrates its 20th year of service.

Its helicopters attended 2,403 incidents between September 1 2018 and August 31 2019, with 576 of those in Greater Manchester.

The missions included 738 for accidental injuries, 633 for road traffic collisions and 142 assaults.

Many patients receive critical medical care from advanced paramedics and consultants, which can make the difference between life and death.

The NWAA helicopters can fly at speeds of 150mph, saving vital minutes for patients in urgent need of treatment, whether going to a specialist centre, being treated at the scene for time-critical conditions such as cardiac arrests, or receiving life-saving blood transfusions on board.

One patient helped by the charity was Robin Johnson, who was injured after a life-threatening collision with a car while cycling in the countryside last October.

He said: “I feel very lucky to be alive and for the rapid response of the North West Air Ambulance crew. I received the best possible care from the moment the charity arrived at the scene, through to leaving the hospital on two crutches.

“I recently visited the base to personally thank the doctor for saving my life. I was so grateful to see how the service operates, it’s amazing, and one we should all support. After all, you never know when you might need it.”

Andy Duncan, lead helicopter emergency medical service paramedic, said: “As our charity grows, we’re always assessing how we can take our interventions further, bringing the hospital to the patient and saving even more precious minutes whilst lives hang in the balance.

“It’s why we are so grateful to our supporters, whose generosity allows us to advance the service for the benefit of patients.”

CEO Heather Arrowsmith said: “Currently, we must raise £9.5m a year to continue our service as we are not a recipient of government funding, instead relying on the support of our amazing fund-raisers, donors, volunteers and the generosity of people from across the North West.

“I am constantly humbled by the support we receive from our community, and know they are truly appreciative of our service.

“I urge anyone to consider a donation to their local air ambulance charity. No matter the amount, you will be helping to save lives, and we, and the patients affected by our service, are truly grateful.”