Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance celebrates 25 years of saving lives
Yesterday (Monday) marked a very special milestone for the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, as the charity celebrated its 25th birthday.
Since airlifting its very first patient on May 13, 1994, the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance has provided a life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the local community. To date, it has been called out to over 20,000 critically injured patients across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
To mark the charity’s silver anniversary, it hosted a celebratory event for special guests at the Fire and Rescue Training Ground in Waddington. The event was attended by charity ambassadors, clinical crew, trustees and former patients who have been helped by the service over the last 25 years.
The event started with a ‘mock mission’ on the day, where the life-saving crew demonstrated how they are able to bring the equivalent of a hospital A&E department directly to the scene of an incident.
As part of the mock mission, the on-board doctor and paramedics demonstrated how they would tend to patients suffering severe injuries as a result of a road traffic collision, and how these vital actions all contribute to the patient having the best possible outcome.
The event brought together 25 former patients, representing one for each year of the charity’s operation, who have been tended to since the service started flying in 1994.
Steve Collyer, of Coddington near Newark, was airlifted by the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance on June 10, 1998 following a terrifying road traffic collision near his home.
Steve was airlifted in the charity’s very first aircraft, a Bölkow, to Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. Due to life-threating injuries, Steve was taken straight to theatre where the clinical team operated on his ruptured heart and his parents were told to prepare for the worst.
Almost 21 years later, Steve now treats June 10 as his ‘second birthday’ and the day that his life was saved. He said: “I have no doubt that if I had been transported to Queens Medical Centre by road ambulance, I would not be here to tell my story.
“Being air lifted by the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance was a life saver for me. I will be forever grateful for that and to the people whose charitable donations enable it to continue flying and saving many more lives.”
Kristy Freeman, of Wainfleet near Skegness, was airlifted on February 19, 2016, after she was involved in a horrific road traffic collision on the A158 near Horncastle.
Shortly after the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance arrived at the scene, the doctor on duty put Kristy into a medically induced coma, allowing the clinicians to control her breathing. Kristy was airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary in a matter of minutes.
Kristy’s mother, Morag Freeman, thanked the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance for helping to save her daughter’s life. She said: “We really couldn’t thank them enough for what they did for Kristy. Without them, she definitely wouldn’t be here today.”
As part of the celebratory event, the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance officially unveiled an eye-catching design across the tail of its Ambucopter to mark 25 years of saving lives. The iconic yellow helicopter tail now depicts 25 pair of hands – with each reflecting on the story of an incredible former patient whose life has been touched by the charity’s life-saving crew.
Karen Jobling, chief executive officer at Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating our 25th year in service. Our remarkable charity has come a very long way since its humble beginnings in 1994, when we operated out of a portakabin and could only fly when we had raised the money to do so. Since then, the tremendous support of our local community has ensured that our Ambucopter remains on call and available to those in need 365 days a year.
“Today is not only about celebrating this huge milestone for the charity, but also gives us a chance to look back on how we have been able to make a positive impact on the lives of so many people over the last 25 years.
“We are incredibly grateful to the people and businesses of Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire who have shown us such wonderful support. We receive no direct Government funding, meaning that we rely solely on the generosity of the public to ensure that our life-saving service continues.”
Throughout the rest of their 25th Anniversary year, the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance will be running a series of fundraising events and activities to help keep their Ambucopter in the sky for many more years to come. To find out how you can get involved and help ensure the charity’s 25th year is one to remember, visit www.ambucopter.org.uk or call the team on 01522 548469 (Lincs) or 0115 9412255 (Notts).