Simon Le Bon gets The Children's Air Ambulance off the ground

31 October 2012

Duran Duran star, Simon Le Bon, is lending his support to The Children's Air Ambulance today (31 October), to launch the lifesaving service at the Barclay's London Heliport in Battersea.

The Children's Air Ambulance (TCAA) will transfer critically ill children from general hospitals to Paediatric Intensive Care Units across England and Wales, or help move specialist paediatric teams to enable children to receive the lifesaving, specialist treatment and care that they need as soon as possible, cutting transfer times.

TCAA launch

Simon Le Bon comments: "The Children's Air Ambulance is a fantastic new service that is desperately needed throughout the UK - each year, thousands of seriously ill children need urgent care at specialist hospitals. However, at the moment, they can face long road journeys, which could be detrimental to getting the lifesaving help they need.

"This service relies completely on charitable donations from the general public. It is my intention to do all I can to raise the profile of TCAA and to help raise the money that is so crucial to keeping the service running."

Applauding the initiative, The Reuben Foundation has pledged its support of The Children's Air Ambulance, commenting: "We recognise the crucial service provided by The Children's Air Ambulance across London and the UK and are delighted to give our support and welcome them to The Barclays London Heliport." Simon Hutchins, Manager of The Reuben Brothers-owned Barclays London Heliport, and his operations team, welcomed the first Agusta AW109 helicopter from the Children's Air Ambulance Service this morning.

As well as reducing travel times, the air transfer service will also allow NHS specialist clinical teams to travel with the child - ensuring both a quick and safe journey.

Andy Williamson, Chief Executive of The Air Ambulance Service, comments: "It's a hugely exciting day for us. After months of planning, we're now entering a two month phase of training and fundraising - our crew will be visiting five children's transfer groups across the UK for familiarisation purposes - before beginning to undertake missions in early 2013."

The service needs a further £545,000 to begin delivering a life-saving service to critically ill babies and children in England and Wales, with a further £134,000 required per month to maintain the service. This money will be spent training staff and kitting out the helicopter to launch the country's first dedicated Air Ambulance service for critically ill children and babies.

He continues: "We have the helicopter, the pilots and the team and we're ready to go - our focus now is to secure the funds we need to get off the ground.

The Children's air Ambulance

"The organisation is funded solely through the generous donations received from the public and vital support from corporate sponsors - without any Government or National Lottery funding - so we're urging the country to get behind the service to help us reach our £545,000 target."

Operating under the umbrella service of The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS), The Children's Air Ambulance will benefit from the extensive medical, aviation and core fundraising expertise gained through the running of TAAS' existing helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS); the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance.

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