25 years of life-saving service

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Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance has launched a new helicopter tail design in honour of its patients - and to mark 25 years of its life-saving service.

The eye-catching design depicts 25 pairs of hands – each reflecting the story of an incredible former patient whose life has been touched by the charity’s life-saving crew.

As well as honouring the courage, bravery and determination of former patients, the design also represents the dedication and loyalty of the charity’s supporters, with some of the hands linked to a business or supporter who has decided to sponsor their local air ambulance during its 25th year of service.

Since airlifting their first patient on May 13, 1994, the air ambulance has been called out to over 20,000 patients across the area. To mark the anniversary, the charity held its official 25th birthday celebrations on Monday.

Among those to have needed the assistance of the air ambulance is Warren Buckley, of Coningsby. He was driving along the road between Timberland and Martin when he swerved for an object in the road and was involved in a collision. The force of the crash flung him out of his seatbelt and out through the passenger door and into the path of an oncoming car. He was flown straight to Queen’s Medical Centre’s major trauma unit, and awoke two days later.

He said: “I nearly died twice on the operating table when they repaired my clavicle and then came home two weeks later. Without the air ambulance I don’t know what would have happened. I certainly would not have been able to access treatment as quickly as I did - the helicopter got me there in 20 minutes.”

Another patient was Jane Hanson, who required the life-saving service when she was just 16 years old. Jane and her mother were on their way to visit her nana, when a split-second changed her life forever. As Jane crossed the road to speak to one of her friends, a motorbike came racing around the corner and collided with her. As a result of the impact, Jane was thrown 15ft in the air and her leg was completely severed due to the devastating impact. The air ambulance was immediately dispatched to the scene and, after stabilising Jane, she was airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary in just six minutes - a journey that can take up to an hour by road. Jane was placed on a life support machine for several days and spent around three months in hospital.

Jane explained: “It means a lot to me to be able to say thank you to the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, although those word will never adequately express my gratitude to the paramedics and crew who looked after me that day.

“As a 16-year-old, I needed that comfort from them. Although I was in and out of consciousness, I will always remember the paramedic called Andy who reassured me that I would be okay and held my hand. Because of their actions and exceptional care, I am now married and have been blessed with two beautiful daughters.”

Karen Jobling, chief executive officer at the air ambulance, said: “This unique design on the tail of our helicopter is a fitting tribute to our amazing charity, our life-saving crew, and the thousands of supporters and former patients we have come into contact with. Not only is this a fantastic way to help celebrate this huge milestone in the history of the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, but it also gives us a chance to look back on how we have been able to make a positive impact on the lives of so many over the years.”

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“Since our charity began 25 years ago, we have been called upon to respond to 20,000 missions. We are extremely proud to have delivered specialist clinical care whilst attending to patients across Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire during what is often their greatest hour of need.”