Cornwall Air Ambulance unveils next generation helicopters

Two new helicopters to serve the people of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly have been unveiled before special guests, trustees, staff and volunteers of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust.

Celebrated lyricist Sir Tim Rice and Victoria Milligan, who raised over £270,000 for the Cornish charity in memory of her late husband Nick and daughter Emily, were among the special guests in attendance.

The new aircraft – MD902 Explorers – were chosen for their ability to carry more medical equipment, additional expert medical crew, or extra fuel.

On board each helicopter is a Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS), which together with special training for the helicopter crew, means the air ambulance can extend flying to 12 hours per day, 365 days of the year.

The charity estimates this change could enable the air ambulance to fly up to an extra 50 missions each year.

Lady Mary Holborow, chairman of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, said: “I am immensely proud that we are able to provide an even better service to the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“To be able to fly for longer hours, and for longer distances, with the provision of two helicopters based here in Cornwall is a great achievement for the Trust, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.”

Attending the event will be Victoria Milligan, whose husband Nick and eight-year-old daughter Emily died after being thrown from their speedboat on the Camel Estuary in May 2013.

The family have since raised over £270,000 for Cornwall Air Ambulance – enough to wholly fund the new NVIS equipment which will allow the lifesaving service to fly after dark for the first time.

To commemorate their unprecedented fundraising efforts an epitaph will be unveiled on the new air ambulance helicopter, reading ‘Nicko and Emily Milligan. Flying over Cornwall. Saving lives together.’

Victoria Milligan said: “It gives me great comfort to think of Nick and Emily flying around Cornwall together saving lives and helping people in trouble.”

The new aircraft mark the start of a new operating agreement with Medical Aviation Services (MAS). MAS operate many other police and medical services.

For the first time, two air ambulance helicopters will be based in Cornwall, with one being operational each day and the other a dedicated backup aircraft.

Henk Schaeken, managing director of Medical Aviation Services, said: “MAS is delighted to have been able to contribute to the innovative new service provided by Cornwall Air Ambulance and we look forward to working alongside the Charity and develop the service even further over the next few years.”

Every year, Cornwall Air Ambulance flies around 700 missions. The service is funded by the people of Cornwall and receives no government or National Lottery funding for running costs. To help those in need, the charity needs to raise around £2.5 million each year.

Cornwall Air Ambulance was the first service of its kind in the UK, and since 1987 has flown nearly 25,000 missions, saving countless lives.

The lifesaving service receives no government or National Lottery funding toward its running costs and relies entirely on the support of Cornish people, businesses and visitors.

To find out how to support Cornwall Air Ambulance please visit www.cornwallairambulance.org

The charity is encouraging its supporters to attend a public open day at the Cornwall Air Ambulance airbase near Newquay on 21st February 2015 between 11am and 4pm to see the new helicopters and meet the aircrew.