Air ambulance hoping to boost funds

Published on: 28 Aug 2013

BRISTOL’S air ambulance charity is hoping to boost funds with a series of events over the next month.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) is looking to replace its aging helicopter with a newer model which would reach patients more quickly. 

The Filton-based charity is calling on supporters to get behind a busy month of fundraising events to help reach its £250,000 target.

The first event takes place this weekend (August 31 – September 1) at the 2013 Bristol International Kite Festival at Ashton Court where GWAAC is the official charity partner.

The charity’s helicopter will on display and will be fully operational from the site during the two-day event. The work of the charity will also feature in the main arena and visitors will have the opportunity to meet the crew and charity staff and find out about fundraising.

The charity will also be busy during National Air Ambulance Week from September 23-29.

Local businesses, schools and community groups are being encouraged to support the air ambulance by organising a dress down day or by holding a raffle, a coffee morning or a cake sale. 

You can also support the charity during a series of local pub quiz events run by Downend couple Anne and Andrew Newbery.

The husband and wife team hit upon the idea of writing and hosting quiz nights to support the charity following a horse riding accident where Anne’s goddaughter had to be rescued by the air ambulance.

The GWAAC is the last air ambulance charity in the UK to rely on an aircraft which was designed in the 1960s.

At the time, the vehicle - a Bölkow 105 - was considered state-of-the-art but technology has moved on and it is now too small, slow and less secure than modern helicopters.

The charity hopes to lease a Eurocopter EC 135 which is bigger and more flexible. It would attend to patients four minutes faster, would enable a mother and child to fly to hospital together and would allow more space for the patient, equipment and mid-air treatment.

The air ambulance is not funded by the NHS and relies on donations to cover its £1.5million a year running costs. 

Patricia Gaitan, fundraising manager for GWAAC, said: “We are delighted to once again be chosen as the official charity partner for this year’s Bristol International Kite Festival.

“This event marks the start of a month of key fundraising activity for the charity, which culminates in National Air Ambulance Week at the end of September, and we are looking forward to sharing the importance of the work that we do with visitors to the event – their support will help to keep our air ambulance flying.”

Fundraising packs are available on request and contain ideas for activities and materials to promote involvement in National Air Ambulance Week. Contact Emma Carter on 0117 9699344, email or visit 


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