A CHURCH has pledged to donate £35,000 to an air ambulance charity’s campaign after one of its members was knocked down by a bus in Swindon .

Max Deans, nine, of Norfolk, was hit by a Thamesdown Transport bus in Haydon Wick while visiting family in February, and it was expected he would stay in hospital for months.

But he made a rapid recovery thanks to the quick work of paramedics from the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, and the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church has pledged to support its work.

Max sustained severe head injuries and the GWAAC crew, alongside Wiltshire Air Ambulance and road ambulance crews, provided critical care as he was sedated and flown to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

Although Max’s family was warned by doctors he might need to spend months in hospital, he was able to be discharged just three weeks later.

Since then Max’s family has raised £3,650 for the charity, including a donation from the Plymouth Brethern.

Church representatives have also visited the air ambulance’s charity base in Filton, Bristol, to meet the crew who helped Max.

After learning about the charity’s campaign to replace its helicopter, the church made a match-funding offer to donate up to £35,000, providing the air ambulance raises the same amount.

The ambulance charity needs to raise £250,000 to replace its helicopter, a Bolkow 105, with a Eurocopter EC135.

Tim Barter, of the PBCC, said: “I was impressed when I met the GWAAC team at Filton.

“I’m glad that we committed ourselves to helping forward the provision of this new helicopter, obviously needed to progress this awesome, life-saving service.”

Fellow representative Tony van As said: “It was an eye opener to get some insight into the amazing work this team does – the incredibly fast response and expertise of care provided for patients in life-threatening and traumatic situations can mean the difference between life and death.”

John Christensen, chief executive of the ambulance charity, said: “The funds will help make our dreams a reality and ensure we can continue to provide a high level of emergency care for the people of our region for years to come.

“But the challenge still isn’t over, and we need the support of our local community.”

For details or to donate, visit www.greatwestern airambulance.com.