The chief executive of the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance says the service had so much to be proud of in the last 12 months - and looked forward to in what promises to be a very special 2019.
Karen Jobling revealed the service flew over 800 missions in 2018 and she expects demand to be just as high in the coming 12 months, when the organisation will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Ms Jobling said: “I am extremely proud of all we have achieved over the past 12 months.
“We are thrilled to have started to phase in our 24-hour operations with our helicopter currently on call to fly 24 hours over the weekends, which are typically the days when our critical care team are needed the most.
“Our 24-hour weekend operation will continue to operate throughout 2019 as we work towards building up to providing our 24-hour service seven days a week, enabling us to give more people than ever before the very best chance of survival.”
Ms Jobling added: “Around 26 per cent of the missions we have attended have been to children and young adults under the age of 30, with our youngest patient being less than a week old.
“On average, we are dispatched to three missions every day where we provide the equivalent of a hospital A&E department directly to the scene of the most serious and time critical 999 calls in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, including road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, sporting injuries, agricultural incidents and serious falls.”
Ms Jobling said a personal highlight was meeting some of the patients the service had helped.
She said: “I am delighted to have met a number of our remarkable former patients and their families throughout the year.
“It has been truly inspiring to hear of their courage, determination and bravery whilst overcoming some of the most devastating and traumatic injuries.”
Ms Jobling went on to mention an incident involving Coningsby’s Paul Edwards, who suffered a cardiac arrest during the ‘Beast from the East’.
She said: “With all roads covered in thick snow and whole communities cut off, our pilots braved the snow-laden skies to fly Paul to Lincoln County Hospital, just in time for surgeons to perform a life-saving operation.
“I have to thank the incredible work of our paramedics, doctors and pilots.”
Ms Jobling added: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us, especially our army of volunteers who tirelessly give their time in a variety of ways.
“Then there are the hundreds of people, clubs, groups and businesses who have raised funds for us, with one of our supporters, a local farmer, dressed as a scale model tractor in the heat of this year’s London Marathon in order to attract attention and raise funds.”
Ms Jobling said 2019 will be important. She said: “It will certainly be a big year of celebrations for us and we look forward to announcing some of the exciting activities we have planned.”
The service relies on the support of local communities to raise the £4million needed to increase operation hours and keep the helicopter flying.