A Neath Coach Hire service has funded a lifesaving helicopter mission across Wales, by raising vital donations for Wales Air Ambulance.

D J Thomas Coach and Minibus Hire moved to new premises in July, and to mark their grand opening the business parked a coach in the town centre to raise funds for the Welsh helicopter charity.

Staff helped to raise awareness for the charity by displaying WAA literature, and a raffle was held throughout the first week of the shop’s opening to raise donations to help fund the charity’s missions.

Richard Thomas, D J Thomas Director, said: “It had been on our minds to adopt an official charity, and we settled on Wales Air Ambulance as it is a favourite of one of our founders.”

The opening day fundraiser raised a total of £1,500 in charitable donations for Wales Air Ambulance, enough to fund one of the charity’s helicopter missions across Wales.

Each year Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £6.5 million to fund its operations, and to keep its four helicopters flying.

With aircraft based in Caernarfon, Llanelli, Welshpool and Cardiff, the Welsh helicopter charity can be anywhere in Wales within 20 minutes, and its missions are funded by kind support.

Richard Thomas, D J Thomas Director, and Carwyn Davies MBE, D J Thomas Coach Driver, came to Wales Air Ambulance’s airbase in Llanelli to present their donation to the crew.

D J Thomas parked one of their coaches on the charity’s helipad next to Wales Air Ambulance’s South Wales aircraft and fourth aircraft – used to complete emergency helicopter missions and urgent inter-hospital transfers.

Mark Stevens, Wales Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to D J Thomas for their support, which is truly lifesaving.

“Each of our missions cost around £1,500, so they have been able to help us come to the aid of someone in Wales in their hour of need.”