Lifesavers need a flying start

Have your say

THE AREA’S lifesaving air ambulance needs to raise an extra £1 million in the year ahead to equip the vital service to be able to fly at night.

At present, the two helicopters run by the East Anglian Air Ambulance are seriously hampered by lack of on-board lighting and high-tech night-vision headsets.

Obstacles such as power cables could spell disaster.

It already costs £4.2 million a year to run its two helicopters, one based at Cambridge Airport which serves Bury St Edmunds and surrounding area, and the other at Norwich, which covers Thetford.

The Cambridge-based air ambulance, called Anglia 2, not only answers some three or four emergencies a day, but is also involved in transporting patients from Bury’s West Suffolk Hopsital.

The service needs to have the extra £1 million in its funds by this time next year so that work can begin to carry out adaptations to the helicopters.

It comes at a time when the East Anglian Air Ambulance is making renewed efforts to publicise its own fund-raising Lottery, which it says benefits the local area as well as offering better odds of winning the top prize when compared to Lotto or the new Health Lottery.

Tim Page, chief executive of EAAA, said: “It’s a shame a lottery which says that it wants to help health charities and organisations isn’t contributing a bit more from their ticket sales.

“Our lottery guarantees around two thirds of donations goes towards helping save lives in our region.

“It makes up almost half our annual income and those who play are really making a difference. Without them we wouldn’t be able to offer this life-saving service”.

“We receive no direct Government funding or National Lottery funding and rely on the generous donations of the public to raise the £4.2 million a year we need to keep the service running.”