Stars at RAF Cosford for launch of new Midlands Air Ambulance helicopter - with video and pictures
Sports and entertainment stars were on hand in Shropshire to help to launch the Midlands Air Ambulance charity's brand new helicopter.
Only Fools and Horses star John Challis, 11-times paralympic gold medallist Lee Pearson and England rugby legend Neil Back officially launched the new H145 upgraded helicopter at RAF Cosford on Monday.
The new helicopter has been funded from public donations plus a £1 million grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
John Challis said: “It is a great privilege to be here today. The work they do - they are very brave people and very dedicated people at the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.”
Lee Pearson CBE said: “It is a massive honour to be an ambassador for this amazing charity. A lot of sport accidents take place in the middle of nowhere - equestrian riders have used the charity, myself included. This new piece of kit will help by saving many lives.”
Neil Back added: “It is incredible what this charity provide. What this helicopter provides is speed and time and that is crucial for the difference between life and death. I feel very honoured and privileged to be an ambassador.”
The £7 million helicopter will be in flight from today from its base in Shropshire.
Registered with the call sign ‘G-RMAA’, the Airbus helicopter was officially unveiled yesterday by the charity’s chairman, Brendan Connor.
The larger H145 air ambulance helicopter will undertake an average of three missions every day.
It will provide a great number of benefits to patient care within the Midlands – as well as travelling greater distances without the need for refuelling and will enable the aircrew to respond even faster due to increased speed capability.
The larger interior means additional aircrew can be flown to major incident scenes, and further medical equipment can be carried on board to treat more complex emergencies.
Mr Connor said:“Excellent pre-hospital patient care is at the heart of everything we do. The new airframe will enable us to reduce our operating costs and complements our plans to further improve pre-hospital care.”