The number of callouts attended by Wiltshire Air Ambulance in 2023 increased by more than ten per cent, as running costs also increased by half a million pounds.

New figures reveal that the cost of the lifesaving service has now increased to £4.5 million a year, which is a £500,000 increase from 2023.

It means that the charity will need to raise £12,000 every day this year in order to cover running costs.

Unlike many emergency responders, Wiltshire Air Ambulance receives no regular direct Government funding and relies on donations from the public at events and charity shops to continue offering the service.

While £4.5 million may seem like a hefty target to meet for fundraising teams, for many, meeting this target is quite literally the difference between life and death.

Chris Williams, from Fairford, is just one of the patients who was treated by the air ambulance team in 2023 after he fell from the sky near Pewsey while paragliding, due to a sharp change in weather.

The 58-year-old suffered multiple serious trauma injuries and was treated by the aircrew who were at the scene in a matter of minutes. The crew were critical in saving Chris' life.

“We want to know if we call 999 that an air ambulance can be there for us, but it’s not free, it doesn’t come out of our taxes and they need our support, just like they helped me," said Chris.

Swindon Advertiser: Chris had been paragliding for almost two decades before the incident.Chris had been paragliding for almost two decades before the incident. (Image: Wiltshire Air Ambulance)

Explaining the huge increase in costs, charity chairman Rob Kevan explained: “We continue to build resilience within our aircrew rota, with more pre-hospital doctors now on board than ever before.

“In addition, we remain committed to advancing the training and development of our critical care paramedics and trainee critical care paramedics.

“However, in our endeavour to enhance our patient care, with investment in clinical upskilling we have to contend with rising costs, including fuel and utility bills, and those associated with our Devizes charity shop.

“This is a huge challenge for our very dedicated charity team but one I am confident they will rise to, as they have done many times in the past, especially seen during the Coronavirus pandemic.”

In 2023, Wiltshire Air Ambulance attended 1,167 callouts in Wiltshire, Bath and the surrounding areas, which is 10.6 per cent more than the previous year and demonstrates the increased need for the service.

As well as transporting patients quickly to hospitals, the team performed 36 blood transfusions and 12 surgical interventions, treated 45 patients with pre-hospital emergency anaesthesia and delivered CPR 90 times.