Remember last year we told you in our video how important getting a second helicopter is to London's Air Ambulance? The charity has launched a new appeal today to raise £4.4m to fund a second helicopter.
The ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign aims to raise enough money to buy and maintain a second helicopter, as well as extending daylight flying hours for five years. People making donations will be able to see pictures of the parts they helped to buy and 'build' the helicopter.
Every year, the single helicopter has to be taken out of service for maintenance — in 2014, it was out of action for 55 days. London’s Air Ambulance's chief executive officer Graham Hodgkin said:
“When London’s current, and only, emergency medical helicopter is offline for servicing or maintenance, our patients need us to have recourse to a second helicopter immediately.
“We deliver advanced trauma care 24/7 but we want to ensure we can get to our patients as quickly as possible during daylight hours. When we are able to fly we can deliver the hospital to your side, wherever you are, up to eight times faster than in a response car. London’s Air Ambulance has been operational for 25 years and has treated over 32,000 critically injured people, where time makes a difference. £4.4m might seem like a large amount but if everyone donates just £5 today we could have your helicopter in the air by the summer.”
Delivering this kind of emergency service costs money. The total cost of the second helicopter is actually £6m, but London's Air Ambulance has already raised £1.6m, partly through a £1m award from chancellor George Osborne but also through donations from the people who need the service most — us.
Visit London's Air Ambulance appeal page to make a donation. Don't forget to come and flip some pancakes at this year's Shrove Tuesday fundraiser on 17 February either.