25 Feb 2015
London’s Air Ambulance held a special reception at No.11 Downing Street where the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, backed our campaign to raise £6 million for a new helicopter.
The event, co-hosted by CEO Graham Hodgkin and MP Mary Macleod followed on from our charity’s launch of the ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign and was a further opportunity for London’s Air Ambulance to recognise its invaluable supporters.
In 2014, the Chancellor awarded the campaign £1 million from Libor funds and it has already raised a further £600.000 from companies, charitable trusts and individual donors. The 'Your London, Your Helicopter' campaign in 2015 successfully raised the funds required to purchase our charity's second helicopter, G-LNDN. Click here to read more about the success of the second helicopter campaign, and the arrival of the helicopter in January 2016.
The event came just hours after the Chancellor had also hosted the Association of Air Ambulances, which represents the majority of air ambulance operators in the UK, where he confirmed that an additional £5 million donation from Libor fines will be distributed among the 20 local air ambulance charities, including London.
London’s Air Ambulance received a further £250,000 from this distribution, which they used to help them to secure new premises for the charity.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: “London’s Air Ambulance provides a vital service across the capital and has saved thousands of lives since it was established. I am right behind their campaign to buy a second helicopter and that’s why I have already awarded £1 million from Libor funds to this brilliant charity. I am also pleased to confirm that the charity will receive an additional £250,000 to improve its facilities.”
MP Mary Macleod welcomed guests to the event and highlighted the phenomenal support from the Chancellor towards the air ambulance community in the UK. Guests included patients, London MPs, business leaders, liveries and trusts and employees of the service — including pilots, doctors, paramedics and charity staff.
Graham Hodgkin, CEO of London's Air Ambulance, said: “It is thanks to the people of London that we have been able to treat over 32,000 patients. Thank you also to The Chancellor for supporting our campaign for a much needed second emergency medical helicopter, for hosting us this evening and of course for the further fantastic £250,000 contribution towards new premises for the charity.“
London’s Air Ambulance Medical Director, Dr Gareth Davies, spoke of the difference having access to a helicopter made in saving 12-year-old Alana McDonald’s life. At five years old, Alana was on her first day of school when she fell off a wall and suffered life-threatening injuries that caused bleeding on her brain. Dr Gareth Davies and paramedic Lee Bevin flew to her side in Barnet, administered drugs to ease the pressure on her brain, put her into induced coma and flew her to The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel to have life-saving neurosurgery. Alana and her Mother were both in attendance on the evening.
Dr. Davies said:“It isn’t very often in medicine where you can absolutely see the difference you make to a patient’s life. With Alana’s injury she needed treatment fast. Thankfully the helicopter was available for us to use. Alana is now living a healthy life and will go on to fulfill her dreams and that’s what this charity enables our patients to do.”