We were thrilled to meet Simon Jones from the HELP Appeal today at our Henstridge Airbase.

The HELP Appeal, is the only charity in the country dedicated to funding lifesaving hospital and air ambulance base helipads. Simon came along to present us with a donation of £26,787 which is for new runway lights, helipad lighting and a new windsock at our airbase.

The new lights, which are due to be installed this month, will provide a big improvement in both reliability and performance over the previous system, whilst making our night operations safer and more efficient. They will also help as we look to increase our availability in poor weather with a GPS based approach to Henstridge.

The lighting of helipad and runways is a regulatory requirement by the Civil Aviation Authority when flying night missions, which signifies the importance of these improvements as we operate 19 hours every day (07.00am - 02.00am).

Our CEO, Charles Hackett was grateful for the donation and said:

A reliable, aviation lights system is of course critical for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to be able to effectively and efficiently run night operations and so be available to patients when they need us the most. Our thanks to the HELP Appeal for their support, which will enable us to continue bringing pre-hospital, critical care to patients across our region.

Simon Jones, Aviation Technical Advisor for the HELP Appeal said:

It was a great opportunity to visit the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance airbase, meet the team and see how the HELP Appeal’s funding will be put to good use. Emergencies happen at any time of the day or night, so funding state of the art lighting, along with an illuminated windsock, will ensure quicker and safer take offs and landings for the air ambulance crew, enabling them to reach a critically ill patient as soon as possible. Saving time really does save lives.