Published: 20 May 2024

Wales Air Ambulance is delighted to have received a £5,000 grant from the Toyota Manufacturing UK Charitable Trust.

Since 2012 the Charity has been fortunate to receive over £69,000 in grants from the trust.

The donation will go towards the costs associated with funding a helicopter pilot for North Wales, and will fund a pilot for five days.

Wales Air Ambulance is a consultant-led service, and the pilots play a crucial role in the field of emergency medical services by transporting the critical care team to patients suffering a life and limb-threatening illness or injury. Once on scene, the highly skilled clinicians deliver advanced critical care – including hospital standard treatments such as blood transfusions and administering anaesthesia. Part of the pilot’s role is look after the aircraft when on scene and ensure that they are ready to depart once the medical teams have stabilised the patient.

When required, the pilots will also transfer patients to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery.  

The service is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.

As part of the pilot’s role, they undergo rigorous training to ensure they are equipped to handle the unique challenges associated with callouts. On average, it takes around seven years to become a pilot on board an air ambulance.

Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £11.2 million every year to keep its helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the roads.

Hannah Mitchell, Grants and Trusts Fundraiser for Wales Air Ambulance said: “Our pilots work closely with the medical crews to deliver one of the most advanced air ambulance operations in the UK. They are responsible for ensuring the airworthiness of the aircraft, performing pre-flight inspections, addressing any maintenance issues, and collaborating with ground crews to keep the aircraft in optimal condition.

“This grant will enable us to reach patients that need our lifesaving service. The continued support the Charity has received over the years from Toyota Manufacturing UK Charitable Trust has been amazing. We’re delighted to have received this £5,000 donation which will make a lifesaving difference.”

Regional Fundraising Manager Debra Sima attended a celebration ceremony at the Toyota Engine Plant in Deeside to accept the cheque on behalf of the Wales Air Ambulance.

Tim Freeman, Trustee and Deputy Managing Director at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd commented: “This is our best year ever for fundraising and we are extremely proud to support some amazing causes, including Wales Air Ambulance, a fantastic charity making a difference in our local communities.”

As a pan-Wales service, the dedicated air ambulance crews, regardless of where they are based, will travel the length and breadth of the country to deliver emergency lifesaving care.