Thames Valley Air Ambulance on standby over Christmas

    This Christmas, the Thames Valley Air Ambulance crew will be sharing the skies with Father Christmas.

    The charity believes that as A&E departments never shut, neither should they. The vital service is operational for 365 days a year, meaning Christmas Day will be like any other day for the crew. The team of specialist Doctors, Paramedics and Pilots will be working together throughout the festive period to provide the best emergency care for the communities of Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Unfortunately, over the last few years the critical care provided by Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) has been put into use as patients have fallen seriously ill or have been injured on Christmas Day.

    Of course, crews would not be operative at all if it wasn’t for the overwhelming support and generosity TVAA receives from the public. In 2017, supporters went to incredible lengths to raise the essential funds needed to keep the emergency service operational. TVAA has around 200 volunteers who selflessly offer their time to provide help and support throughout the year in a wide range of fundraising. From collecting money tins to accepting cheques to marshalling at events, TVAA say that volunteering is an essential role to the organisation.

    Not only do TVAA have passionate volunteers but also corporate sponsors who pushed themselves to incredible limits in challenges to raise money and awareness for the charity. They’ve ran marathons, climbed the highest of peaks and even competed in ice runs. A group of 25 people, including three former patients and three volunteers, climbed Africa’s tallest Mountain, Kilimanjaro. The courageous group raised a staggering £129, 267, proving the challenging seven-day trek was worthwhile.

    Another mind-blowing challenge came from 14-year-old TVAA supporter, Freddie, who with his mum Anita and her Partner, Matthew, cycled 190 miles in the Coast to Coast challenge. The committed trio cycled for five days, carrying their own tent and luggage. After the epic event, Freddie and his mum visited our crew at RAF Benson to present a cheque for an impressive £763. The air ambulance charity is also proud to be have been represented by six runners who competed in the London Marathon. The inspiring group’s efforts raised an incredible total of £7,660.

    TVAA does not receive any funding from the Government and the National Lottery, they rely entirely on such fundraising efforts. The efforts of local communities across our region has resulted in an astounding total £6.6 million raised for our local air ambulance in 2017.

    Reflecting on 2017, Ruth Dunkin Head of Community and Events Fundraising at TVAA said “On behalf of Thames Valley Air Ambulance, I would like to take this opportunity to truly thank our incredible supporters. We quite literally could not provide our vital emergency service without their help and continued support. Plans are well underway for an exciting 2018 and we look forward to updating our volunteers and the public on events and our progress.  I would also like to wish our supporters a very merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and safe New Year.”

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