Video report by Ross Lydall
News story by Mark Blunden (first published January 2014)
Patients treated by London’s Air Ambulance have celebrated 25 years of the capital’s flying emergency service.
More than 30,000 people had the helicopter dispatched to them after suffering injuries that took them to the brink of death.
London’s Air Ambulance treats the most critically-injured victims of incidents, including bombings, shootings, stabbings, car crashes and industrial accidents.
David Cameron led the tributes, praising the charity as “very close to the hearts of all Londoners”.
The charity is raising money for a second aircraft to extend its daylight flying hours and recruit more pilots and specialist aviation firefighters.
It was established in 1989 after a Royal College of Surgeons report found too many people were dying on the capital’s streets.
The air ambulance has since pioneered procedures including roadside open chest surgery, anaesthesia and blood transfusions.
Angela Barlow, 35, was one of its patients. Aged 11, she needed roadside surgery from a life-threatening brain injury suffered when she was hit outside her Plaistow home.
She said: “The work of London’s Air Ambulance is vital and our family will always be thankful to this life-saving charity.
“I made a miraculous recovery, I can´t imagine what our lives would be like if it turned out to be different.”
A helicopter was dispatched after motor racing champion Sir Stirling Moss fell three storeys down a lift shaft at his Mayfair home.
Sir Stirling, 84, broke several foot bones and chipped four vertebrae after landing on the concrete floor.
He said: “London’s Air Ambulance helped me in my time of need. Accidents can happen to any of us and this charity is vital for anyone seriously injured in London.
“So few Londoners realise that this fantastic service is provided by a charity and it is our duty to ensure they continue this work for the next 25 years.”
Dr Gareth Davies, the charity’s medical director and chair of the trustees, said: “There are people who have survived serious injury in London that would not have in other countries.
“Trauma or serious injury is the biggest killer for people aged under 45, including children. It is down to the belief and passion from everyone who comes into contact with the service – employees, volunteers and supporters – that enables us to help save these lives and London should be very proud of this.”
To donate, visit: http://www.londonsairambulance.co.uk/donate