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Wiltshire Air Ambulance Lift Off Magazine 2021

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Welcome, from our CEO

The year 2020 was supposed to be one of celebration for our charity, marking our 30th year of operation. What transpired instead nobody could have predicted.

The Coronavirus pandemic understandably changed our celebratory year; we had to cancel our events and charity staff were forced to work from home or go on furlough.

Nevertheless, our aircrew has continued to respond throughout the pandemic, altering their operations suitably to ensure they can still be there for the people of Wiltshire and surrounding areas, including Bath.

It still costs us £3.75 million each year to provide our lifesaving service and, understandably, that becomes challenging when a pandemic plunges the country into financial difficulty.

That said, we have been taken aback by the response from our kind donors, who have surpassed all expectations for donations received in the past financial year. For that, we are so grateful.

The furlough scheme coupled with a one-off grant from the Government to all Air Ambulance charities has helped our cause, but we cannot rest on our laurels.

We have been forced to review our fundraising for the year ahead, in line with the numerous restrictions placed on gatherings for the foreseeable future, and going forwards will need to have an increased focus on digital – as we’re all now becoming used to things like Zoom and FaceTime these days!

Throughout this Lift Off Magazine you will find ways that you can support our service. We hope you will never need our service, but if you do, we will be there.

Stay safe,

David

We rely on your support to continue our lifesaving service.

Saving lives in the face of a pandemic

By Richard Miller - Critical Care Paramedic and Safety and Ground Ops Manager

When you’re a critical care paramedic, you need to be prepared for any situation. However, the challenges thrust upon us in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic were simply unprecedented and forced some adjustments in our operations.

Although we remained on the front line throughout the pandemic, ensuring we could be there for the people of Wiltshire and surrounding areas, including Bath, it certainly tested our staff.

The number of incidents we were called to varied dramatically throughout the year. During the national lockdown in March and April we saw incident numbers decrease, but as restrictions began to ease, there was a strong increase in the need for our lifesaving work.

We had to adapt our helicopter to place an isolation seal between the cockpit and the medical cabin to allow our pilots to fly safely without the need to wear PPE in case we needed to airlift a patient who was Coronavirus positive.

We rely on donations to keep saving lives. No matter how big or small your donation is, it will help to keep our essential service operating.

We were well stocked in most areas of PPE, but if there was something we needed, local people and businesses were able to help out with kind donations.

Thanks to the Big Give campaign the previous year, we even had enough mechanical ventilators to help out our friends at the Royal United Hospital in Bath (pictured right) by loaning them two ventilators for use in their emergency department.

I’m so proud of the way everyone in the team has coped in the face of this awful pandemic and I’m sure it will only make us strong and more resilient to future challenges thrown our way.

More importantly, thank you to everyone who has continued to support our work with donations during this very difficult time.

You are lifesavers!

The Lottery where everyone wins!

Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Lottery and Superdraw helps to generate around £1.1 million each year towards our lifesaving work. With around 40,000 entries into the draws each week, approximately 1 in 10 households in Wiltshire participates by paying as little as £1 per week.

For those who play the Lottery, there’s a weekly cash prize of £1,000 up for grabs, with four additional winners banking £25 each. It costs an extra £1 to play the weekly Superdraw – but the rolling jackpot can reach £25,000, so there’s certainly every reason to get involved!

The Lottery began in 2009 and, up to this point, has generated around £7.5 million for the charity. Most importantly, every entry into the Lottery and Superdraw helps goes towards saving lives across Wiltshire and surrounding areas.

A life saved: Steve Mudd

Steve's story - "I'm in awe of what they do"

A fall while walking his dogs resulted in a life-changing injury for Steve Mudd.

Steve was walking two of his dogs on his usual morning walk in Marston, near Devizes, in January 2019 when he slipped and broke his left leg.

He snapped both bones – tibia and fibula – in his lower leg, resulting in an open fracture. A land ambulance attended and the crew treated him, but due to the nature of the break Wiltshire Air Ambulance was dispatched.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s paramedics are specialists in critical care and the crew gave Steve a strong drug, Ketamine, to sedate him. This allowed the crew to straighten his leg and splint it in order to improve blood circulation to his lower leg and foot.

Steve, who was aged 62 at the time of the accident, said:

"Until my fall I had walked our dogs on the same route round my village for 27 years. I was 150 yards from home when I fell. It was frosty and I slipped."

Villagers who saw Wiltshire Air Ambulance land in a nearby field assisted the crew by carrying Steve on a stretcher to the helicopter. Steve was airlifted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath in just six minutes. Later the same day Steve was transferred to Southmead Hospital, Bristol, for further treatment.

“The break was a nasty one and the consultant surgeon warned me that I might lose my leg.”

Steve underwent a ten-hour operation two days later and a rod was put in his leg, together with a metal plate and screws.

Skin was also taken from his thigh to graft on to the wound and for some time doctors were worried that an infection could get into the bone.

Steve was discharged from hospital after three weeks. He had a cast on his leg and was unable to weight bear for several weeks. He used a zimmer frame, then crutches and finally a walking stick. He underwent physiotherapy and began walking unaided seven months later.

Steve, who is retired, said: “When the consultant told me that I could lose my leg I pledged that if the operation went well I would go to Cornwall with my wife, Chris, and our dogs to go walking. Thankfully, I achieved this.

“Back at home I’m building up my daily walks with Chris and our dogs."

Chris has fundraised for Wiltshire Air Ambulance on her Facebook page following Steve’s accident and the couple plan to leave a gift in their Wills to the charity. Steve said:

“Without Wiltshire Air Ambulance and the orthopaedic surgeons at Southmead Hospital I’m certain the outcome would have been very different. Wiltshire Air Ambulance will be a beneficiary in our Wills because they are self-funded and they need every penny in order to help other people.”

“It’s remarkable how much you take for granted in life. What happened to me was a wake up call, it has made me realised how lucky I am.

Until my accident I went through life not thinking I would need Wiltshire Air Ambulance, but how lucky I was that it was there for me when I needed it.”

Steve and Chris visited Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s airbase, in Semington, a year after Steve’s accident where they met James Hubbard (right, pre-COVID), one of the critical care paramedics who was part of crew that treated him.

"Meeting James was terrific and I thanked him and his colleagues for helping me. We are very impressed with the charity’s airbase and seeing how the paramedics and pilots work. I’m in awe of what they do, but they are only able to do that because of donations the charity receives."
We rely on your support to continue our lifesaving service.

Educating the next generation about lifesaving

Wiltshire Air Ambulance launched its Emergency Awareness Training programme in 2019 and, to date, it has been delivered to 125 schools, over 13,000 school children and students.

The programme showcases the importance of recognising a person in cardiac arrest and teaches CPR. Unfortunately, around 30,000 people every year suffer a sudden cardiac arrest and without immediate treatment, 90-95% of casualties will die.

Emergency Awareness Training is delivered at schools and colleges across Wiltshire to pupils and students, aged from four to 18 years of age.

The programme also includes using an AED (automated external defibrillator), managing a choking/bleeding patient and placing an unconscious patient in the recovery position.

The programme is led by training officer Simon Stigwood (pictured right), a Wiltshire-based paramedic with over 15 years’ experience. He says:

"It’s rewarding engaging with young people and they have enjoyed learning new skills to preserve life and promote recovery. We tailor the sessions to different age groups and the needs of the schools.

“Many of the schools who have taken part have gone on to fundraise for Wiltshire Air Ambulance which we are so grateful for.

“It is our ambition to teach every school age child in Wiltshire how to deliver CPR and other emergency skills. Our programme is a really valuable outreach project delivering vital lifesaving skills.

“We hope that in the event of a medical emergency the pupils we train will have the knowledge and confidence to respond accordingly and ultimately their actions may help to save lives."

If you’re part of a school or college that would like more information about our Emergency Awareness Training programme, please click below to get in touch.

Will you make a difference?

A gift in your Will costs nothing in your lifetime and means we can continue to save lives in the future.

Gifts in Wills help pay for the aircraft and our rapid response vehicles. They pay for the drugs administered by our highly skilled paramedics. They pay for fuel, for flight suits, for pre-hospital blood transfusions and for immersive simulation training.

Gifts in Wills ensure that, when an emergency occurs, our crew can be ready to get to the patient in the fastest possible time, in effect bringing A&E to the scene, and enabling us to treat and stabilise patients before transporting them to the right hospital for their needs. Whenever someone is critically ill or injured, we can give them the best possible chance of survival – thanks to your support.

Make a Will for FREE!

We’ve teamed up with the National Free Wills Network to offer our supporters the chance to make a straightforward Wills for free using a qualified local solicitor. We also work with Make A Will Online to offer a free online will writing service – a great way of writing a solicitor-checked Will from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to include Wiltshire Air Ambulance in your Will (though we hope that you will consider us, once you’ve provided for your loved ones).

Sue's story

In 2012 Sue Williams suffered serious life-changing injuries in a road traffic collision on the A303 and was flown by Wiltshire Air Ambulance to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. She broke her back, neck, left arm, a rib, and sustained a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. She was in hospital for a month, including nine days in the intensive care unit.

Sue and her partner Dave decided to include a gift to Wiltshire Air Ambulance in their Wills as a way of saying thank you. Watch the video below to hear from Sue and Dave.

Save the environment, save lives
How would you like to save the environment and also help out your local air ambulance at the same time?

Last year Wiltshire Air Ambulance partnered with Recycling Solutions to install charity clothing banks across the county.

It gives people the opportunity to recycle clothing and shoes they no longer want at convenient locations – with 37 clothing banks now in place, stretching from Swindon to Salisbury, Wiltshire Air Ambulance fundraising manager Des Regan says:

“We’re delighted to be working with Recycling Solutions, who are experts in this field. Ultimately the clothing banks will help reduce the amount of textile waste going to landfill and the money raised will help to fund our lifesaving work.”

This is seen as a long-term sustainable revenue stream for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Each month, on average, over 10 tonnes of clothing and shoes are diverted away from landfill, in turn generating £3,500 for the charity.

Voluntary group Recycle for Wiltshire Air Ambulance has now raised over £41,000 for the charity!

The latest cheque presented to the charity was for £14,950!

The fantastic total comes from the huge amount of coffee pods and crisp packets, amongst other items, that have been recycled across the county.

The hard work of Lesa Snook and Sam Peters, who set up the scheme in 2014, is certainly paying off. They are helped by a string of volunteers across Wiltshire, who act as drop off points.

Sam says: “We are so grateful for the continued support of our collectors and volunteers.The Coronavirus pandemic naturally had an impact on us and a number of changes and new protocols were introduced. We lost several drop off points and reduced schemes, but we anticipate to still be able to raise around £2,000 a month."

Help Us Save Lives

Could you support our lifesaving work by joining Wiltshire Air Ambulance's Regular Giving scheme? We rely on the kind generosity of people like you to help us raise the £3.75 million needed each to keep us flying and saving lives.

We are funded by you, flying for you.

What is 'Regular Giving'?

It's a regular donation made by Direct Debit, which is a simple, secure and effective way to support our lifesaving work.

You could choose to donate monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or simply yearly. The donation amount is up to you, we are grateful for whatever you are willing to give.

Why a regular donation?

More of your money goes directly to our lifesaving service, as admin costs with regular giving direct debits are lower. With reliable income that we can depend upon and predict, it means we are able to plan our finances more effectively.

Ultimately, the Regular Giving scheme puts you in control. You can choose how much to give and spread the cost of your support if you wish. It’s also easy to set up, change or cancel at any time.

How does it work?

It’s simple to get signed up and can all be done online in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is decide how much you want to donate and how frequently. Click the button below to begin donating to Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Without regular income from people like you, our lifesaving service couldn’t continue to operate.
Online Shop - order your merchandise today!

Head to our new Online Shop to browse our full range of merchandise.

This year we've even made items from our Charity Shop available to purchase online. This includes clothing for men, women and children, plus other seasonal items. Why not take a look today?

Our Charity Shop in Devizes can be found at 2 Maryport Street, SN10 1AH. In line with the latest Government restrictions, our shop is closed and we are not accepting any donations at present. We will keep our website updated with any provisional re-opening dates and the reintroduction of our donations process.

In the meantime, you can still purchase charity shop items and merchandise on our online shop.

A selection of Wiltshire Air Ambulance merchandise available to purchase on our online shop.
Find out more about Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd, sponsors of our two mascots, Wilber and Marsha (pictured above). The local company also donated a full soft water solution to the charity's airbase.

We've been named Team of the Year!

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has won the Team of the Year award from The Business Exchange at their annual Reward ceremony.

The independent business magazine for Wiltshire, Bath and Somerset took their annual awards event into the virtual world to celebrate the best achievements of the charity and non-profit sector from across the South West in 2020.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance was named as the winner of the Team of the Year award, with the judges praising the charity’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our charity was up against Prospect Hospice, We Get It and Whale & Dolphin Conservation for the honour.

The Business Exchange founder Anita Jaynes said:

“It was fantastic to host Reward, recognising the efforts of South West charities and Not-For-Profits in 2020. It was amazing to have something to celebrate in what has been a hard year for all of us. “The tenacity, ingenuity and persistence of our local Third Sector has been outstanding and our finalists should all be incredibly proud of their miraculous achievements. Congratulations to all our winners.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance also wishes to thank Stone King, legal specialists with a base in Bath, for sponsoring the Team of the Year award.
We rely on your support to continue our lifesaving work.