A WARRINGTON man who owes his life to the North West Air Ambulance was among those wishing the charity “Happy Birthday” as it celebrated 21 years.
Karl Halton, 52, is just one patient who credits NWAA with saving his life.
In April last year, he was heading along the A57 towards Woolston when he was involved in a serious motorcycle collision. Paramedics from NWAA were quickly on the scene, administering urgent pre-hospital care before transporting him to Aintree Hospital.
Today he said: “The North West Air Ambulance Charity were there for me at one of the worst moments of my life, and I’ll never forget their care. My arm and leg were shattered, my other thigh was broken and ruptured an artery, and my pelvis was shattered and detached from my spine. I was in a serious condition, although during the flight to Aintree I apparently told my wife to put my tea in the oven when she called, as I thought I’d only been in a slight accident!
“I’m still recovering over a year later, but I’m so grateful I have that opportunity and it’s thanks to the brilliant work of the crew. This charity deserves all the support it can get, it does a truly amazing job and I urge anyone to get involved to help.”
NWAA took its maiden flight in May 1999 from Blackpool Airport. Since then, the charity has completed over 22,000 missions, making a difference to thousands of lives across the region.
In 21 years, the service has grown from one helicopter to three, launched four rapid response vehicles and opened a second airbase in Barton. All along it has been supported by the generosity of donors, fundraisers and volunteers across the North West.
On call 365 days a year, the NWAA crew work tirelessly to bring the hospital to the patient. The service is entirely charity-run, depending on public and corporate support to complete its lifesaving missions, as it does not receive government funding.
One young supporter wishing the charity a happy birthday is nine-year-old Elizabeth (below) fromWarrington, who has single-handedly raised over £400 by taking part in a 21-hour sponsored silence.
She said: “It was hard not to talk for so long, but it was worth it to raise money for the air ambulance charity. I wanted to say thank you for its work, because its paramedics are my heroes! I want to be a paramedic when I grow up now, and help people just like they do.”
NWAA chief executive Heather Arrowsmith, said: “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported our charity over the years. In this time our charity has made a truly lifesaving difference to our community, thanks to the hard work of our crew, our team at HQ and volunteers, and the incredible generosity of our fundraisers and donors. Supporters like little Elizabeth make all the difference to our work. It takes over £9.5 million a year to remain operational, and we simply wouldn’t be here without this support.”
To celebrate its 21st birthday and raise urgent funds, the service is calling on people to take on a new challenge: Go21! Challengers can choose any activity to help raise funds and awareness – whether that’s completing 21 laps of the garden or running 21 miles over 21 days.
To receive your free Go21! fundraising pack or download a special kid’s activity pack, head to nwaa.net/21bday