Launch of £1.5m appeal for new air ambulance

The Magpas air ambulance
The Magpas air ambulance

Magpas Air Ambulance has launched a two-year appeal to raise £1.5 million for a new state of the art helicopter to serve the region.

The new aircraft, which covers Bedfordshire, will be able to fly further, faster and allow the lifesaving service to reach an even greater number of patients.

The current Magpas MD 902 Explorer entered service 17 years ago and has been with Magpas since June 2012.

While the current model has flown to thousands of patients over the last seven years and has helped the charity respond to its highest number of incidents ever in 2017, it is now coming to the end of its operational life.

Following intensive research Magpas has selected a AugustaWestland 169 (AW169) helicopter, with the most advanced aviation technology, to become its new air ambulance.

Daryl Brown, chief executive of Magpas Air Ambulance, said: “We are asking people to help make a lifesaving difference in their community by supporting our Further, Faster, Greater Appeal to bring this next generation helicopter to Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Bedfordshire and beyond.

“The new AW169 can fly further and will be able to carry enough fuel for our enhanced doctor and paramedic team to fly for over three hours without refuelling. It is also a faster aircraft and will enable us to fly to a greater number of patients.”

The charity’s medical director Dr Simon Lewis said: “This new aircraft will provide Magpas Air Ambulance with the most technologically advanced features and medical equipment, better enabling the Magpas medical teams to respond to our patients in their moment of need.

“We urgently need support from the communities within which we serve to raise £1.5 million in order to bring this next generation helicopter to the East of England by the summer of 2019 - with the Further, Faster, Greater Appeal continuing into 2020 to raise funds for ongoing running costs.”

The Further, Faster, Greater Appeal was launched by two Magpas Air Ambulance former patients in front of an audience of more than 250 people, during an event yesterday evening (Thursday, June 28) at Abbots Ripton Hall.

Guests heard first-hand accounts of the vital lifesaving difference the charity makes and why it needs the new air ambulance.

To find out how you can support the Further, Faster, Greater Appeal visit: magpas.org.uk.

You can make a donation online at: magpas.org.uk/heli-appeal, or by texting HELI19 to 70070 (you can donate either £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 and can donate up to £30 a day).