Helipad named after paramedic who died with coronavirus officially opens

The Robert Black Memorial Helipad became operational on April 1 and has already helped 19 patients to be airlifted from Campbeltown Hospital.

Simon Jones, HELP Appeal; Catherine Black, Robert's wife; Eric Spence, South Kintyre Development Trust; and Stuart McLellan
Simon Jones, HELP Appeal; Catherine Black, Robert's wife; Eric Spence, South Kintyre Development Trust; and Stuart McLellan

A rural hospital helipad which has been named after a paramedic who died with coronavirus last year has officially opened.

The state-of-the-art Robert Black Memorial Helipad at Campbeltown Hospital, Argyll and Bute, became operational on April 1 and has already helped 19 patients to be airlifted from the site.

Mr Black was a paramedic for the Scotland Ambulance Service for nearly 30 years and died in May 2020 after contracting Covid-19 aged 52.

A memorial bench and plaque has also been placed at the site on the Kintyre peninsula in the west of Scotland for people to remember him.

Catherine Black, Robert’s wife, said: “Our family are humbled and immensely proud that the helipad has been named after Robert.

“We extend our grateful thanks to all who brought this project to fruition for our resilient and vibrant community.”

An ambulance technician worked for three years to help make the helipad a reality for the local community where air ambulances had to land on waterlogged, muddy conditions in a field beside the hospital.

When hospital patients needed to be transferred across the country in adverse weather conditions, a road ambulance had to transport them to an air ambulance at Campbeltown Airport five miles away.

But work on the helipad from project originator Stuart McLellan was aided by the South Kintyre Development Trust and a £270,000 donation from national hospital helipad charity the HELP Appeal.

A memorial bench and plaque has also been placed at the site for people to remember Robert Black
A memorial bench and plaque has also been placed at the site for people to remember Robert Black (Kenny Craig/PA)

Mr McLellan, 28, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be in Campbeltown for the official opening of The Robert Black Memorial Helipad.

“Having started this project three years ago, it’s been quite a journey.

“I’d like to thank the HELP Appeal for its support from the start, along with all the people that have been involved in the project.

“I set out to achieve something that was long overdue and would be there for people during their time of need.

“Since it became operational, 19 patients have already used the helipad, confirming how vital it is for the community – it is quite remarkable.

“I’m delighted to have played my part and look forward to my next challenge.”

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