Wiltshire Air Ambulance, January 19, 2017 - We were granted full planning permission for our new Operations Centre on land at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, near Melksham, on 12 January 2017 and today (Thursday 19 January 2017) launch our Airbase Appeal to raise the remaining £1.25 million needed.
The custom-built airbase will bring together the helicopter, aircrew and charity team onto one site in a central location in Wiltshire. Construction work is anticipated to start in Spring 2017.
David Philpott, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We are delighted that our plans for our new airbase at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, have been granted by Wiltshire Council. Wiltshire Air Ambulance has saved countless lives in the 26 years it has been operating and our new airbase will allow us to save many more lives in years to come.
“The site at Outmarsh Farm is perfect as it will allow our state-of-the-art helicopter to reach all parts of Wiltshire within 11 minutes, as it currently does now from its base in Devizes.”
Semington resident Peter Vooght, 71, who was airlifted by Wiltshire Air Ambulance when he suffered a life-threatening episode of sleep apnoea in March 2016, backed the new airbase.
Mr Vooght said: “I owe my life to Wiltshire Air Ambulance. I was in favour of the air ambulance moving to Semington from the start. Being in Semington means it will be ideally situated in the centre of the county, because you never know when you might need it.”
Horse rider Suzanna Hext, 28, who was airlifted by Wiltshire Air Ambulance following a fall at Marston Meysey, near Cricklade, in July 2012 and suffered life-changing injuries, also backed the new airbase.
Suzanna, who lives near Sherston, is a volunteer with Wiltshire Air Ambulance and now competes at an advanced level in para and able-bodied dressage competitions, said: “Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a vital service that we couldn’t do without, especially in rural locations such as where I had my horse riding accident. If they hadn’t got me to hospital quickly, the outcome could have been different.”
Cheryl Johnson, Head of Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Airbase Appeal, said the charity had already received funding for the new £5.1 million airbase, including £2.5 million pledged by a benefactor and £1 million from the LIBOR fund.
She said: “The response and support we have received towards our Airbase Appeal has been tremendous but we need to raise a total of £1.25 million to make our airbase a reality. We hope individuals, community groups, schools and businesses will get onboard and enable us to secure the future of our lifesaving service.”
To donate to the Airbase Appeal and find out how to get involved go to www.wiltshireairbaseappeal.co.uk or email [email protected] or call the charity team on 01380 739453.