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A Royal greeting for one of our families at Lambeth Palace

Last week, a family from the Isle of Wight were the guests of honour at an event organised by the Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) which saw the official launch of the charity’s new aircraft at Lambeth Palace.

The Children’s Air Ambulance is the first and only dedicated paediatric and neonatal transfer helicopter service in the country which arrived at the Dix family’s hour of need, when their 7 month old son Blaize needed to be flown to reach urgent specialist care in January.

Blaize was at nursery when he choked on his lunch, he inhaled a piece of food and his left lung collapsed. Blaize was anesthetised and intubated before a 7 minute flight with TCAA to the nearest Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Southampton General Hospital.

Mum Tash flew with Blaize utilising the helicopter’s new parent seat. Blaize’s father and older son drove and took the ferry to Southampton, a journey which took 2 hours 15 minutes.

The Dix family, with Blaize now a healthy 10 month old baby boy, were guests of honour at the royal event which saw the launch of the new bespoke aircraft, the same kind which flew Blaize, rubbing shoulders with celebrity ambassadors Dr. Ranj, Brian May & Anita Dobson, and David & Frankie Seaman, to name a few.

Since 2012 the charity had been operating out of the Midlands with one aircraft. The decision to provide two helicopters at bases in the north and south of Great Britain has already enabled the charity to meet more needs, completing nearly 100 missions since their launch late last year, and with a target to complete 300 missions a year.

Welcoming the introduction of the new aircraft, charity Patron Sarah, The Duchess of York, said: “The Children’s Air Ambulance is an important charity which helps save the lives of so many babies and young children like Blaize. These aircraft make a real difference to these young patients where speed can be the difference between life and death.

“Without transfer by helicopter there could have been very different outcomes to the lives of those saved by the service and their many stories are a testament to that fact.

“I know the introduction of a second helicopter will help the charity to reach even more children across the country but to ensure they can continue this lifesaving work it is important that donations keep coming in.”

Also commenting on the service, Blaize’s mum Tash said, “I had never heard of the Children’s Air Ambulance before it transported Blaize in his hour of need.

“The green helicopter that saved our son should be breaking news on the Isle of Wight as people don’t know about it – and they need to.

“It’s terrifying for all parents on the island that the nearest paediatric intensive care unit and pre 28 weeks neonatal care is two and a half hours away across the water.

“The Children’s Air Ambulance saved our son’s life and will, no doubt, save the lives of other babies and children on the Isle of Wight in the future. It’s amazing.”

The AgustaWestland 169 aircraft are based at Doncaster Sheffield and London Oxford airports. The bespoke equipment on-board includes a specially designed stretcher system and clinical interior, incubator and extra seat for a parent to be able to accompany their child. These state of the art facilities make the helicopters second to none in the provision of paediatric and neonatal transfers.