SEEING the progress of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s new airbase brought a tear to the eye of the charity’s chief executive David Philpott.

For well over a year now, funds towards completing the airbase, in Outmarsh Farm, Semington, have flooded in, to the point where they now just need £500,000 to reach the fundraising goal, and complete the overall £5.1m project cost.

Building work began six months ago and has now reached the half-way point, with the roof in place. Most of the walls are complete and the floors laid.

Mr Philpott admitted he shed a tear or two over how far the charity has come in a short period of time.

“It has just been amazing. I came here two weeks ago and I went inside the place and had a look round and it brought a tear to my eye,” he said.

“To see something come to life in such an incredible way is truly remarkable. It has been a long process building an airbase.

“You have to find the right land, consider the neighbours, demonstrate it is a suitable area and that it is central – this place just ticks all the boxes.

“Melksham does not have an ambulance place so we can help in that department.

"This airbase is the first of its kind in the UK and maybe the first in Europe. I am so excited about this.”

The airbase will be able to reach all parts of Wiltshire within 11 minutes, just as it does now from the current base in Devizes.

The two-storey new airbase is approximately 1,500 square metres. Its facilities include a flight and operations centre for its aircrew, a hangar for the helicopter and medical equipment, offices for the charity team, training suite and a visitors’ viewpoint.

The charity has received just over £2.7 million from a benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, and £1 million from the LIBOR fund for the new airbase.

“To think we just need another £300-500,000 is phenomenal. I am so grateful to everyone who made this possible,” said Mr Philpott.

“I’d like to thank our primary contractor, Rigg Construction Limited, and our architects and project managers, CMS, for their work in creating and building an airbase that will benefit the entire county for many years to come.

“It will be wonderful to have everyone under one roof.”

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