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Canterbury Family Join Us at Lambeth Palace For New Helicopter Launch

A family from Canterbury, Kent were presented to HRH the Duke of York at an event at Lambeth Palace, London organised by The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) to launch the charity’s new aircraft.

The Children’s Air Ambulance is the first and only dedicated paediatric and neonatal transfer helicopter service in the country which was there at the Dear family’s hour of need in January, when six-year-old Edith urgently needed to be flown between hospitals to receive lifesaving specialist care. It took the Children’s Air Ambulance just 33 minutes to fly Edith and her Dad Jeff from the local hospital in Margate to King’s College Hospital, London so she could be nursed in a paediatric intensive care unit after an emergency operation to remove her appendix.

Mum Alex travelled to London by road, a journey which took her three hours. The family, with a fully recovered Edith, were guests of honour at the royal event where they all got a close look at the bespoke helicopter that Edith flew on. They also had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the charity’s celebrity ambassadors Dr. Ranj, Brian May, Anita Dobson, David and Frankie Seaman -to name just 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 respond to more transfer requests; completing nearly 100 missions since they went into operation 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 Edith. 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.”

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.