Wales Air Ambulance is delighted to announce that former Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby international James Hook has become an ambassador for the lifesaving charity.

James, who retired as a rugby union player last year, made 6 appearances for the British and Irish Lions on the 2009 tour of South Africa and won 81 caps for Wales. 

In his club career, he has represented Neath, Ospreys, Perpignan and Gloucester. He is currently a coach at the Ospreys.

Wales Air Ambulance celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and James has had several interactions with the service over the last two decades, supporting its fundraising work along the way.

James, 35, who is married to Kimberley, said: “I’m delighted to become an ambassador for the Wales Air Ambulance. It’s a cause that’s close to my heart as they attended my eldest son just over 10 years ago when he became very ill. I think it’s an amazing Charity and you don’t know how important it is until you need it.  I was also at the scene of the Charity’s first-ever mission at Glynneath Rugby Club 20 years ago.

“It’s incredible to see how far it’s come over the last 20 years and it’s a huge honour to be involved with their lifesaving work.” 

James chose the Wales Air Ambulance as one of the charities that would benefit from his testimonial year in 2020. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the testimonial events could not go ahead.

The father-of-three boys, Harrison, Ollie and George, is also developing his career as a TV and radio pundit, working for BBC TV and Radio, ITV and Channel 4. During the 2021 Six Nations, he worked for BBC Radio 5 Live. 

Sue Barnes, Wales Air Ambulance Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome James to the Charity as one of our ambassadors, especially during our milestone anniversary. James has first-hand experience of the essential work that our Charity does, 24/7, for the people of Wales. 

“Our ambassadors, who volunteer their time, play a vital role in helping us to reach new people, inspiring fundraising opportunities and activities, and thanking our supporters and employees for the incredible work that they do. These are all vital for our Charity as we strive to raise £8 million every year to maintain our helicopter operation.

“We hope that being an ambassador for Wales Air Ambulance will give James an enormous sense of satisfaction and pride knowing that he will be contributing to our lifesaving service.” 

Since his retirement, James, who lives in Swansea but grew up in Port Talbot, recently co-authored a children’s book called ‘Chasing a Rugby Dream’. He has also set up a business called the ‘Fab Four Coffee Company’ with fellow ex-international players Lee Byrne, Mike Phillips and Shane Williams.