Air Ambulance celebrates a good year

THE Essex Air Ambulance has celebrated another successful year of fundraising to ensure the life-saving service remains in the sky. The emergency unit, which covers the whole of the county is funded entirely from public money and costs in excess of £90,000 a monthto operate.

THE Essex Air Ambulance has celebrated another successful year of fundraising to ensure the life-saving service remains in the sky.

The emergency unit, which covers the whole of the county is funded entirely from public money and costs in excess of £90,000 a monthto operate.

Flying an average of three to five missions every day during daylight hours, the helicopter is a key device in saving lives because its maximum flying time to the nearest Essex hospital is only eight minutes.

However, the service does not received Government money and cannot access any lottery funding because it does not fall specifically into a designated category, so throughout the year fundraising events ensure the helicopter stays in the sky.


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Highlights from last year saw the launch of the latest Eurocopter in Castle Park, Colchester.

Alongside high-profile events such as the Essex Air Ambulance motorcycle run there were about five to six events every week across the county, from crabbing competitions to sponsored swims.

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In June the charity launched its first shop and information centre in West Mersea which has been taking more than £1,000 every week at the store which is manned entirely by volunteers.

An Air Ambulance spokeswoman said: "It has been a fantastic year for fundraising and we are grateful to all those who have given their time to make all of the events a great success.

"We are already planning our activities for next year including the 2004 Essex Air Ambulance motorcycle run to be held in September.

"The challenge for 2004 and beyond is to meet the increasing costs of a more utilised helicopter. The staff and volunteers are confident of meeting this challenge because they know they have the valuable support of the people of Essex."

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