A welcome message from Richard Youens, President of Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust

HELICOPTERS have been flying in various formats for the last 70 years or more, but just over 26 years ago there was no air ambulance in Wiltshire, which is pretty astonishing when you remember in what a large and mainly rural county we all are lucky enough to live.

Thanks to modern technology and the dedication of our skilled aircrews, Wiltshire Air Ambulance can be anywhere in the county and its borders within 11 minutes of first notification of an emergency.

No one in his or her right mind ever wants to fly as a patient but it’s a great comfort to all of us to know that should we find ourselves in such straits, Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Critical Care Paramedics are trained not only to deal with trauma after road traffic and horse riding accidents, which form a large part of the incidents helicopter emergency medical services respond to, but also heart attacks, strokes and other acute medical conditions.

This vital service only exists because of the magnificent generosity of you the people of Wiltshire together with businesses and grant making trusts who make donations to enable us to raise the £3.25 million a year we need to operate the service. For that we are all extremely grateful Since we started, the helicopter has been flying from behind the Police Headquarters in Devizes but this era is drawing to a close and we are now about to custom build a stand-alone airbase at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, near Melksham. We hope to relocate in 2018.

We are launching our Airbase Appeal today to raise the remaining £1.25 million we need to complete the build and fit out. There are many ways you can help. Please visit our special Airbase Appeal website – www.

wiltshireairbaseappeal.co.uk – for ideas and to make donations online.

We really are ‘funded by you, flying for you’, and with your support we will be able to continue our vital service for future generations.