Funding boost for air ambulance

EAST Anglian Air Ambulance looks set to receive a huge boost thanks to the launch of a new national fundraising body.With Richard Branson as patron, the Air Ambulance Foundation has been launched with a remit to provide support to the UK's regional air ambulance charities.

EAST Anglian Air Ambulance looks set to receive a huge boost thanks to the launch of a new national fundraising body.

With Richard Branson as patron, the Air Ambulance Foundation has been launched with a remit to provide support to the UK's regional air ambulance charities.

It comes as welcome news to East Anglia's air ambulance, which faced a nerve-wracking time when sponsorship from the AA came to an end when the service was only one year old.

Huge fundraising efforts kept them afloat and kept the helicopters in the air, but more money was still needed.


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Kate Lewis, general manager for the East Anglian Air Ambulance service, said: "It was very worrying.

"We were a very young charity and there was no way we would be able to stand on our own two feet. But the trustees are now confident that we can."

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She said the service was extremely grateful to everyone who has helped raise and donate so much money.

It costs around £800,000 a year just to keep the ambulance in the air, which does not include paying staff. However, fundraising brings in between £90 – £100,000 a month.

The service is third busiest in the country. Figures for 2002 showed that there were 12,404 calls nationally, and between January and October, 838 of those were in East Anglia.

The region came just behind the West Midlands which covers a huge area with three helicopters, compared to just one that covers East Anglia.

Ms Lewis said that most of the call outs were to road traffic accidents.

By 2006, the newly formed Air Ambulance Foundation, which replaces the National Association of Air Ambulance Services, aims to raise £3.5million.

Jon Scourse, executive director of the foundation said: "Our number one priority will be to generate additional income at a national level, underpinning the work of the regional charities."

Anyone who wants to donate or raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance service should call 0845 0669999.

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