Posts Tagged ‘Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’

Royal official opening for Almondsbury helibase

Posted on Thursday 28th November 2019 at 8:46 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a large group of attendees standing in front of the air ambulance.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) welcomed His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester to officially open their new purpose-built emergency operations base in Almondsbury on Wednesday 25th September.

Moving to the new site, located alongside the M4/M5 motorway interchange, was a huge milestone for the life-saving charity, which celebrated its tenth birthday last year.

GWAAC’s Critical Care Team moved into their new home in October 2018, after a successful capital appeal raised £1.3 million needed to purchase the site and secure the future of the charity’s operations.

During his visit, His Royal Highness met a range of people who all made last year’s purchase possible, from charity staff and operational crew to supporters, trustees, patrons and volunteers.

Amongst some of the 80 guests were also members of the South Western Air Ambulance Service Foundation Trust (SWASFT) and Babcock Mission Critical Services, who provide the charity’s helicopter, Helimed 65.

Photo of The Duke meeting former patient Ali Layard.

The Duke was given a tour of the new facilities, which culminated in the hangar, where he unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the official opening and met a former patient of GWAAC, Ali Layard and the specialist paramedic who attended to him, Pete Sadler.

The Duke gave a speech to guests after unveiling the plaque, saying:

“It’s great to see such a splendid building which has all the equipment you need to do such an important job. It’s clear to see how passionate everyone here is about the charity and all the important work that it does.”

More: Police helicopter also uses the Almondsbury base »

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Lions support air ambulance charity

Posted on Friday 13th September 2019 at 9:19 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of representatives of Bradley Stoke Lions Club presenting a cheque to a member of the air ambulance team.

Photo of Robin Young.

President Michael and Lion Ailsa visited the Great Western Air Ambulance’s new operational base at Almondsbury recently to present them with a cheque for £1,030.35. This amount included £780.35 raised at past president Robin Young’s funeral and a further cheque for £250 donated by Bradley Stoke Lions in remembrance of Robin. Thank you to all who donated money in lieu of flowers – Robin would have been so humbled by this response and so pleased that it went to such a worthwhile charity. It is hard to believe, when you recognise the amazing work the air ambulance does for our communities, that this is still a charity depending on people’s good will to donate. Our thanks to Joe Hughes, their community fundraising coordinator who showed us around the new base and introduced us to some of the crew just before they flew off on yet another mission.

Sadly, we bid goodbye to another Lion, Frederic, his wife Xiying and daughter Sophie, as they set off for Japan where Frederic’s work will take him for the next few years. We wish them well and hope they enjoy Japan.

If you would like to know more about the Lions, please get in touch with the Bradley Stoke Lions on 0845 8336745 or use the number given below. We would love to hear from you.

Lion Ailsa Young
Tel: 07737 10683

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 24). 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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Air ambulance and police chopper now operating out of new Almondsbury base

Posted on Saturday 1st December 2018 at 8:29 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of GWAAC crew with air ambulance G-GWAC on the apron of the new Almondsbury air base

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!

More: Almondsbury-based police helicopter is operational 24/7/365 »

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Work starts on new helibase at Almondsbury

Posted on Thursday 14th December 2017 at 8:32 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of groundbreaking ceremony.

Work is now under way to build a new air operations base for the air ambulance and police helicopter on a green belt site near the Almondsbury Interchange.

The new helibase will serve the needs of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) and National Police Air Service (NPAS), whose helicopters are currently based at a site on the former Filton Airfield.

The new site will feature a hangar, a grassed final approach and take-off strip, a car park and a new access road off the A38 (from a point between Almondsbury Sports & Social Club and the Swan Inn).

Planning permission for the new helibase was granted in August 2016, despite fierce opposition by some nearby residents in Almondsbury and north Bradley Stoke, who objected on the grounds of unjustified development of green belt land, potential noise pollution, and the possibility of motorists being distracted by aircraft movements.

BAE Systems purchased the land in Almondsbury for use by GWAAC and NPAS as part of its proposed scheme to redevelop the former Filton Airfield site. The defence company has since sold the Filton site to Malaysia-based conglomerate YTL.

Speaking after a ground breaking ceremony held at the site on 8th November, Russ Woolford, assistant operations director for NPAS, said:

“Today is a significant milestone in the base move from Filton to Almondsbury as construction works begins.”

“The base at Almondsbury will be part of the national, borderless network of 15 NPAS bases from which our crews support local police forces to keep communities safe.”

Anna Perry, GWAAC chief executive said:

“Everyone at GWAAC is pleased that work is beginning. The charity is desperately in need of a modern air base and this great location will mean that even when we cannot fly, our doctors and paramedics can get to patients quickly in our Critical Care Car.”

More: Both helicopters are expected to relocate in autumn 2018 »

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