A second emergency medical helicopter is now operational in London, thanks to generous contributions to the London’s Air Ambulance charity from the people and organisations of the capital. The G-LNDN registered MD902 Explorer is available to deliver the London’s Air Ambulance advanced trauma team to critically injured patients, and is here in time to cover the charity’s current helicopter (G-EHMS) which has now gone offline for its annual maintenance.
Following the charity’s ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ fundraising campaign last year to acquire and sustain a second helicopter and extend its summer daylight flying hours for five years, just over £4m was raised, allowing the charity to acquire the aircraft, convert the helicopter to meet aviation regulations and provide the same medical interior, and to cover some running costs for the extended service. The cost of providing its service has increased to £6m each year and donations are needed now more than ever to maintain the delivery of its 24/7 advanced trauma care to London.
The largest pledge to the ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign was from the London Freemasons who promised £2m, of which over £1m has been donated so far. £1m was also received from Her Majesty’s Treasury banking fines fund. Significant donations were received from BlackRock, Khoo Teck Puat UK Foundation and the Westminster Foundation, and Estate Agent Foxtons is generously sponsoring the second helicopter. All other donations came from individuals who gave generously, took part in, or organised their own fundraising events. Many other organisations provided pro-bono support, included Hogan Lovells who carried out the legal work for the helicopter acquisition. Santander UK provided a comprehensive financing package to partially fund the acquisition over five years.
London Freemason and its Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder, said, “This is a proud day for London and for all London Freemasons. Our £2m pledge is being raised by personal contributions from London Freemasons meeting in Lodges across London. I am delighted that our members have responded to the need in such a generous and immediate fashion, helping to make London a safer city.”
Through the acquisition of a second helicopter and by extending its daylight flying hours in the summer months, the charity estimates it will be able to reach a further 400 patients per year by aircraft. Last year, the charity flew longer hours in the summer months for the first time in its history and, as a result, it was able to reach, and treat, a further 67 patients by air.
Graham Hodgkin, Chief Executive Officer at London’s Air Ambulance, said, “This marks a historic milestone for both for the charity and the people of London. This simply wouldn’t have been possible without our wonderful supporters. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to anyone who contributed to the campaign, in any way. I would also like to make a plea for London to continue to donate and support the charity, to ensure our advanced trauma teams can deliver life-saving treatments to our patients on the streets of London 24/7.”