WILTSHIRE Air Ambulance is £2,050 closer to its airbase appeal goal following the success of this year’s Wiltshire Festival of Engineering.

Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan, who helped to organise the festival, which was held in Trowbridge last month to inspire the next generation of engineers to bridge the skills gap, visited the new airbase in Semington on Friday to present the cheque and view the progress of the building.

“I visited the new site in Semington at the start of the year and was inspired by the scope of the project and the value to the community which the new building will produce.

“With new rooms for education, state-of-the-art interactive technology and cutting-edge engineering design, it seemed a natural fit to partner the Festival of Engineering with the air ambulance,” she said.

“The new facility will educate children in aircraft design, technological innovation and health and safety and it aligns perfectly with the ambitions of the festival to inspire a new generation into STEM subjects.”

Ms Donelan, who is committed to making sure that Wiltshire Air Ambulance gets all of the £5.7m it needs to complete the base, has also praised the volunteers working behind the scenes.

“I have for years admired the work of the air ambulance and the vital service it provides to the people of Wiltshire,” she said.

“Without it countless lives would be lost and the NHS would be required to pick up the additional strain, which would significantly impact on service provision, so I applaud the whole organisation and the fantastic work they do.

“Of course the challenge does not stop here, with funding still needed to complete and fit out the site, so I will be organising additional fundraising events in 2018 and I hope as many as possible feel able to get involved.”

Kevin Reed, head of operations at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, added: “We were delighted to welcome Michelle Donelan to the new airbase for her to see the substantial progress that has been made since she last visited. Michelle has been very supportive of our new airbase and we are also extremely grateful that she chose our Airbase Appeal to benefit from proceeds from the Wiltshire Festival of Engineering and Manufacturing. The funds will help to complete the building and equipping of the new airbase.

“Members of our aircrew and fundraising team enjoyed attending the Wiltshire festival of Engineering and Manufacturing and enjoyed talking to young people about their rolesand the career path to becoming a paramedic or pilot.” Our paramedics also gave a hands-on demonstration of the medical equipment they use.”