Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) has taken up tenancy of a new air base in Almondsbury. The move is a huge milestone for the charity, which had previously been operating from a hangar at the former Filton Airfield.
The air ambulance has been joined at the new site by the local police helicopter, which was also previously based at Filton.
In a move which would ensure stability for the life-saving charity, the landlords of the new base have offered GWAAC the opportunity to purchase the facility at a significantly reduced price.
GWAAC chief executive Anna Perry explains:
“We’re thrilled to have moved into the new air base at Almondsbury, however with our current tenancy agreement we could be asked to leave again after ten years. This could be extremely disruptive to our service. Owning our air base will ensure we can continue to carry out our life-saving work well into the future. It’s unlikely we will have the opportunity to buy a facility like this again.”
Earlier this year, GWAAC launched an urgent appeal to help them raise the additional £1.25 million needed to fund the purchase. They are half-way towards their target, but still have a long way to go. As a charity they rely on generous donations from members of the public to stay operational. Excitingly, if they can raise another £315,000 then a generous local organisation has pledged to double this money!
GWAAC lead critical care doctor Ed Valentine added:
“The whole crew are really pleased to have moved into our new hangar, which is warm, dry, and has all the facilities we need to train for and deliver our service. Owning this base would mean that we can continue to expand and continue our work long into the future.
We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has donated so far, and would urge anyone who is able to contribute to the Buy Our Base appeal to do so.”
To make a donation, visit www.buyourbase.com
Russ Woolford, assistant operations director for the National Police Air Service (NPAS) said:
“We are delighted that NPAS Almondsbury is now operational. The state-of-the-art air base, including a 520m lit Final Approach and Take Off (FATO), is a great addition to our national network of bases. NPAS Almondsbury is operational 24/7/365 and our crews will regularly support police colleagues on the ground to find missing people and search for suspects. Air support is a vital tool available to police forces and flying at average speeds of 138mph crews will also help bring many other ‘crimes in action’ to an end, to help keep communities safe. NPAS Almondsbury replaces the existing NPAS Filton site which is now under redevelopment for housing.”
Photo: GWAAC crew with air ambulance G-GWAC on the apron of the new air base.
Photo: View of air base looking south, towards Bradley Stoke, with the RAC Supercentre in the background.
Photo: Air base viewed from from the air.
This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 26 & 27). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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