Wigan family raises thousands for air ambulance charity after son's life-saving flight

A Wigan family have raised almost £2,500 for the North West Air Ambulance (NWAA) after its medics saved their son’s life.

Joshua Johnson was playing on his climbing frame last summer when he fell from it, breaking his arm and wrist and tearing his main artery open.

Rebecca Hartop, Chloe Johnson, Joshua Johnson, Angela Johnson and Jennifer Tunstall from NWAA

Rebecca Hartop, Chloe Johnson, Joshua Johnson, Angela Johnson and Jennifer Tunstall from NWAA

His injuries were so serious that a helicopter was immediately dispatched to the Johnson family home in Hindley Green - an act which mum Angela was in no doubt saved her boy’s arm and his life.

“A local paramedic lives on our estate, he arrived there pretty quickly. Then the air ambulance came and they decided he had to get to Alder Hey as soon as possible, to save his arm and his life” Angela said.

Angela got in the helicopter with Joshua while his 13-year-old sister Chloe and dad Geoff made the journey by car.

“The staff were amazing not only looking after Joshua but making sure I was okay also,” said Angela.

Mum Angela captured the moment the air ambulance landed to airlift Joshua to hospital

Mum Angela captured the moment the air ambulance landed to airlift Joshua to hospital

“The flight took seven minutes. By the time we landed at Alder Hey, and he had been taken in, photographed and operated on, my husband and daughter were only just driving through Atherton.”

Joshua underwent a seven hour operation and then spent almost a week at the hospital, where he was treated with morphine to help the pain and looked after by “the most amazing staff” at Alder Hey.

Angela said: “They gave him six to 12 months to get the feeling back in his arm. It’s still a bit numb, but considering they had to get him to theatre within an hour to save his arm, we’ll take that.”

It was only during Joshua’s recovery period that Angela discovered the NWAA was actually a charity.

She said: “When I realised it was a charitable organisation, we decided to do something to thank them. We decided to walk the distance from our house to Alder Hey, which is about 20 miles.”

Chloe and best friend Rebecca Hartop set off from the field where the air ambulance landed, and were joined later on the journey by family friends Brenda Basson, Sara and Eva Clarke for the walk, which took more than seven hours to complete on a sweltering summer’s day .

Joshua also completed the last two miles and the ramblers were greeted at Alder Hey by surgeon Colin Bruce, who was involved in Joshua’s operation and after care.

“It was a fantastic walk even though it was a boiling hot day and very hard work” said Angela. “It is amazing to be able to say thank you to people who saved Joshua’s life.

“I could never have walked away without giving something back. I can’t believe they are a charity emergency service.”

A crowdfunding page was set up in aid of NWAA with other events organised such as a cake sale by year six pupils at St James Daisy Hill CE Primary School, which Joshua attended until last summer.

His auntie Kay, a mobile hairdresser, also arranged a raffle, and a “guess the time the walk will take” at Angela’s workplace.

A total of £2,425.09 was raised and the family were treated to a tour of Barton Airfield in August before they presented the NWAA with a cheque. To help hit the £2,500 mark, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/angela-johnson19