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Cornwalls Air Ambulance Service


Cornwall's Air Ambulance came into service in 1987, when it was the first dedicated helicopter ambulance to operate in the UK. Since then it has flown over 15,000 mercy missions covering all parts of Cornwall, bringing swift ambulance aid to the scene of an emergency, regardless of distance, road traffic conditions and terrain which may be inaccessible to a road vehicle. Some of the outlying rural areas are over forty miles from the nearest accident and emergency facilities. Travelling time saved by using the Air Ambulance can, therefore, mean the difference between life and death for a critically ill patient.

The service has been greatly enhanced by the acquisition of a brand new state of the art air ambulance helicopter, the EC135, leased, as was its predecessor, from Bond Air Services. The EC135, can be airborne within 30 seconds of receiving and emergency call and with a cruising speed of 160mph, can reach any part of the county in less than 20 minutes. Despite its compact dimensions, allowing it to land in even the most confined spaces, the helicopter has room to carry 2 stretcher patients along with the full range of equipment found on any front-line road ambulance. The crew comprises the pilot and two paramedics, selected from staff of the West Country Ambulance Service and specially trained for their job on the helicopter.

The cost of providing this vital service is in the region of 850,000 a year, all of which has to be found from public subscriptions in one form or another, for the Air Ambulance receives no "official" funding whatsoever. Tasked with co-ordinating fundraising and administering donations received is the First Air Ambulance Service Trust ("FAAST"). This charitable trust was founded in 1987 and has since striven to maintain the Air Ambulance in the public eye and encouraged all manner of fundraising initiatives to help keep the helicopter flying. Although all donations are equally welcome, "FAAST" emphasises the importance of giving regular support to meet the on-going expenses month by month. Among the many initiatives it has introduced are a bankers order/gift aid scheme and a fixed membership lottery which has attracted over 20,000 weekly subscribers.

If you would like information about Cornwall's Air Ambulance, or wish to make a donation, please contact Linzi or Marguerite at the Air Ambulance Headquarters, West Downs, Delabole, PL33 9DY or phone (01840) 213574. All support is gratefully received and much appreciated.


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