Efforts to bring a life-saving air ambulance to Aberdeen have received a major boost with £150,000 being ploughed into the training of new paramedics.
Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) is on a mission to amass £6million to base a new machine in the north-east within the next year.
The campaign was bolstered yesterday when the People’s Postcode Lottery ploughed £300,000 into the operation.
Half of the cash will go towards improving the charity’s existing helicopter at Perth, while the other half will ensure that staff are recruited and trained up in time for the launch of the second aircraft.
SCAA chief executive, David Craig, said the award would prove a “lifesaver”.
He said: “This support will help SCAA build an expanded life-saving service, serving people in most need through illness or injury across the whole of Scotland.”
The cash will fund new equipment for the existing helicopter – known as Helimed 76 – including a package to help crews carry out rescues in extreme weather.
The kit includes a a shelter to protect patients and crew, heat pads and Alpine thermal blankets.
The £150,000 dedicated to the operation at Aberdeen will help recruit and initially fund a new crew.
SCAA is Scotland’s only charity-funded emergency air ambulance service, and has responded to more than 2,050 time-critical calls in every corner of the country since it launched in 2013.
The charity has already collected about £2.5million towards the new helicopter, which will cover costs for the first three years.
In February, Culter woman Cara Baird was appointed as the SCAA’s north fundraising manager to ensure the target is reached by the end of the year – and to continue amassing the money needed to ensure it becomes a permanent fixture.
The organisation announced plans to bring a second helicopter to Aberdeen last spring.
In November, the charity’s bright yellow aircraft touched down in Hazlehead Park as the city was officially named as the base for a second model.
A campaign to install the craft in the region was backed by the Press and Journal, those rescued by the existing helicopter and politicians across the political spectrum.
The addition will also be sent north to deal with accidents and emergencies, and SCAA say it will allow crews to save “twice as many lives”.