23 Jun 2014

Brave individuals have been lining up to go off the edge of our helipad to raise vital funds for the service. 

The helipad is 284ft up off the ground, on top The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. It is the highest helipad in the UK and possibly also in Europe. From Thursday through to Sunday over 130 people have faced their fears and scaled down the side of the hospital generating £55,000 in sponsorship.

Among those looking nervously at the long drop below was 53-year-old Hywel Jones, an ex-patient treated by London’s Air Ambulance after a fall from height almost left him paralysed and afraid of heights. He raised £1,000 to conquer his fear on Sunday.    

On completing the abseil, Hywel said: “That was terrifying but once again the London’s Air Ambulance team was there, reassuring me everything was going to be okay, and it was. It means so much to be able to this for them. It’s difficult to comprehend how different life could have been for me and my family. I’m so grateful for what the doctors and paramedics were able to do for me and I want to ensure the same treatment continues to be readily available for anyone else who urgently needs it.”

 Congratulating Hywel and those that completed their challenge, Graham Hodgkin, Chief Executive of London’s Air Ambulance said: “Having dropped off the edge of the helipad myself previously to raise funds, I know exactly what it feels like and the metal required to step off into thin air. The feeling at the bottom is however tremendous. Not only is it a huge relief to have your feet back on solid ground, it also feels good knowing that you’ve challenged yourself, and succeeded, and that you’ve raised some money in the process to help others. 

Having treated over 30,000 people in the Capital, the charity has an international reputation for pioneering medical procedures which have been adopted across the world. This week London’s Air Ambulance announced it had performed the world’s first roadside balloon surgery to control internal bleeding, known as REBOA. It’s the advances in pre-hospital care that the charity continues to make which also help inspire people to fundraise for London’s Air Ambulance. 

Graham Hodgkin added: “We’re constantly challenging ourselves in pursuit of clinical excellence. Our aim is to provide our patients with the world’s most innovative and effective pre-hospital care, which the proceeds from this event will go towards helping us achieve that aim. On behalf of the charity, thank you and well done to all our abseilers”. 

The cost of running London’s Air Ambulance each year is approximately £5million, almost two-thirds of which is funded from charitable donations.

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