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Essex Air Ambulance Service – #Charity Showcase

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air ambulance serviceThe Air Ambulance Service is the umbrella organisation for three lifesaving services. The Charity runs two Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS): Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) and Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA). It also runs The Children’s Air Ambulance; a national transfer service for seriously ill children and babies.

WNAA and DLRAA work together on collaborative operations at major trauma scenes every day of the year, including Christmas Day. Between them they carry out 1,800 rescues a year. Each rescue mission costs approximately £1,700.

Over 90% of their rescue missions carry senior Doctors and Consultants on board, which means they can provide advanced medical intervention and administer higher levels of medication, effectively bringing the hospital to the patient.

The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) is a unique emergency helicopter transfer service that transfers seriously ill children and babies from hospitals to specialist paediatric treatment centres across England and Wales. It is estimated that approximately 5,800 children and babies require transfers between hospitals every year, with the majority of these transfers taking place by land. The aim of TCAA is to provide a quick and safe transfer service for these children and babies, that is four times faster than a journey by road.

It costs £134,000 a month to run TCAA.

Each service that The Air Ambulance Service runs uses a state-of-the-art Agusta helicopter, which has a top speed of 200mph. It is one of the fastest civilian helicopters available in the UK.

The Air Ambulance Service receives no Government funding, relying entirely on public donations and corporate sponsorship to keep its helicopters flying and its crew saving lives. It costs approximately £3.3m a year to run the Charity.

Two volunteers from the Air Ambulance Service have given their views:

Richard Burton:

I volunteer for the Air Ambulance Service. It all started back for me in 2010. I signed up to take part in a 4×4 challenge. 11 countries in 9 days (3000 miles) and I had to decide what charity to do it for. I wanted to choose something local that anyone could need at any time. As I was thinking the Air Ambulance landed where I was working. After doing some research and realising that it flies solely on donations and sponsors with no government or lottery support I decided that’s the charity for me.
Talking about my trip and my chosen charity it gave me such a buzz, and then going to the base meeting the crew having a look at the helicopter and handing over £1000 to the air ambulance I decided to sign up and become a volunteer. 4 years on and I’ve never looked back. I love every single minute of it, and this year has been the busiest year yet.

I teamed up with a new volunteer Heather Burton to show her the ropes and now with 38 events over 44 days under our belts everything from bucket collections to presentations, fun runs, bike rides, looking after the helicopter when it lands at events, showing people round it and even WNAA’s 10th birthday party we feed off each other. People think we are a married couple but we are just 2 of many volunteers that have become really great friends.

Heather Burton:

I’m a Mum of 3 children my youngest son having Asperger’s (ASD). I signed up in November 2012.  I was looking for part time work to fit around my children, whilst doing this I needed to rebuild my confidence but also wanted to put to use over 20 years of experience and skills gained within Sales, Customer Service and Administration roles. So decided I would take on a volunteer role.

I love to help and meet new people and have really got to know and work with a lot of people in my local community and town.  During the year I have been volunteering I have had my comfort zone stretched and expanded and have done and experienced things I don’t think I would have done in an ordinary job.  I’m now not only looking for a job to fit around my children but also to fit around the important work I do for The Air Ambulance Service.  I have made some fantastic lifelong friends and have formed a fantastic friendship and working partnership with Richard Durham.  I chose The Air Ambulance Service as it provides such a vital service that any of us could need at any time young or old.  I hope the little that I can do will help to raise money to support a service that can be the difference between someone living and a family, friends and colleagues losing someone very special.

Talking to people that have been rescued and reading their story just brings a lump to your throat realising that without the speed of our Augusta 109 helicopter flying the patient to the very best hospital for their treatment (not the closest) then these people might not be here today to tell the tale. It’s all about the golden hour. The more you can do in that 1st hour the better. The helicopter with doctors and highly trained paramedics take the hospital to the incident.


We are always on Facebook and Twitter raising awareness for the air ambulance promoting events that either we are helping with or that our colleges are helping with, telling people that it now costs £1,700 per mission and that it averages 3 to 4 missions per day and how we have clothing banks dotted around the county which are 100% profit to the air ambulance.

This year has been challenging with the launch of The Children’s Air Ambulance which costs £134,000 a month, but saves the lives of your helpless babies nationwide. We are so looking forward to what 2014 has in store, meeting even more lovely people, talking about the amazing work that the air ambulance does every day of the year.

Whether it’s in the heli or in the rapid response car. Every penny really does help save a life.

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