Several volunteers and workers will be giving up their Christmas and New Year to ensure Wiltshire Air Ambulance is available to potentially save lives. 

The charity operates up to 19 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generous donations they receive from the people of Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas - all to respond to the most severe emergencies that take place in the region. 

Even during the festive season, whilst many are enjoying time off, the aircrew remains on call and ready to respond to emergencies. 

Among the aircrew on duty on Christmas Day are critical care paramedics Craig Wilkins, Keith Mills, Paul Rock, critical care doctor David Connor, along with pilots Rob Backus and George Williams. 

Critical care paramedic Craig, who recently got married, will be spending his first Christmas as a husband on shift at the charity’s airbase in Semington, near Trowbridge.

The newlywed, who will also be on call for Boxing Day, said: “I hope people in Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas have a peaceful and happy Christmas.  

“This will be the 10th time I’ve worked over the festive period, so I’m well used to it. With shift work, it’s part of the job really and as I don’t have children, I don’t mind.  

“My wife Claire, who is also a paramedic, will be working on Christmas day too so hopefully we will see each other at some point.” 

The airbase has been decorated with Christmas trees donated by West Kington Nurseries Ltd and Superior Plants, which have been adorned with handwritten festive messages sent in by players of the charity’s Christmas Raffle.  

A dedication tree is also on display with heartfelt messages which were written in memory of supporters’ loved ones at the charity’s recent In Celebration of Life Service, held in The Barn at Lowden Garden Centre. 

Richard Miller, safety and ground base manager at the charity, said: “Our service operates every day so our pilots, critical care paramedics and doctors are ready to respond to emergency incidents, such as road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests and strokes, over the festive period.  

“We are only able to provide our essential Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) thanks to people, businesses and grant-making trusts who donate and fundraise for us.

"We hope everybody has a safe Christmas and New Year – and thank you, as always, for your continued support.”  

The life-saving charity isn't funded through direct funding from the Government or National Lottery grants and so relies on donations from members of the public to raise the £4 million it needs each year to keep flying.