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The North West Air Ambulance charity is celebrating its 21 birthday!

The North West Air Ambulance charity is celebrating its 21 birthday!

by Danielle Thompson (May 2020)

THE North West Air Ambulance charity is celebrating its 21 birthday!

In May 1999, the North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAA) took its maiden flight from Blackpool Airport. Since then, the charity has completed over 22,000 missions, making a difference to thousands of lives across the region.

In 21 years, the service has grown from one helicopter to three, launched four rapid response vehicles and opened a second airbase in Barton. All along it has been supported by the generosity of donors, fundraisers and volunteers across the North West.

On call 365 days a year, the NWAA crew work tirelessly to bring the hospital to the patient. The service is entirely charity-run, depending on public and corporate support to complete its lifesaving missions, as it does not receive government funding.

Emma Lynch, 27, an air hostess from Wilmslow, is one patient who credits NWAA with helping her in her time of need. In March this year, Emma was visiting her grandparents in Birkdale, Southport, when she was involved in a terrifying dog attack. A portion of her nose was lost, meaning Emma needed urgent reconstruction surgery.

She said: “The day of the attack is a bit of a blur, but I remember the terror and pain clearly. I’ve never been so scared in my life. The air ambulance crew arrived so quickly, with the paramedics providing pain relief and calming me down. They talked me through everything they were doing, asking about my job as cabin crew to distract from the situation. It made the world of difference.

“I was so lucky to receive their care that day, and it’s thanks to the crew’s quick treatment that meant my reconstructive surgery has been so successful. I can’t thank them for their kindness enough, and the charity still keeps in touch. They’ve even invited me to visit the helicopter base, which I am super excited about as it’s my dream to be a pilot! I am so grateful to the air ambulance and am really proud to support them. It’s a charity that deserves so much support – it’s full of such special, talented people.”

Heather Arrowsmith, North West Air Ambulance Charity’s chief executive said: “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported our charity over the years. In this time our charity has made a truly lifesaving difference to our community, thanks to the hard work of our crew, our team at HQ and volunteers, and the incredible generosity of our fundraisers and donors. Supporters make all the difference to our work. It takes over £9.5 million a year to remain operational, and we simply wouldn’t be here without this support.

“Our charity’s mission is to improve outcomes for patients all across the North West, whether someone needs a blood transfusion by the side of the M6, has gotten into difficulties up in the Lakes or has suffered a heart attack at home. By swiftly bringing the hospital directly to the patient, our crew can make the difference between life and death. Patients like Emma really drive this home – and we’re so grateful to all those who have allowed us to carry out this work since 1999.”

To celebrate its 21st birthday and raise urgent funds, the service is calling on people to take on a new challenge: Go21! Challengers can choose any activity to help raise funds and awareness – whether that’s completing 21 laps of the garden or running 21 miles over 21 days…

To receive your free Go21! fundraising pack or download a special kid’s activity pack, head to nwaa.net/21bday or contact fundraising@nwaa.net.

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