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Former Children’s Air Ambulance patient is now a “lively and funny boy” as he celebrates 7th birthday

Former Children’s Air Ambulance patient James Berry from Plymouth is celebrating his 7th birthday on 2 February.

James was just four months old when he was transferred by helicopter from Leeds General Infirmary to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth to continue the specialist care he had been receiving since being born 17 weeks early weighing just 1lb 5oz.

The family were moving home to Plymouth but a 300-mile journey by ambulance or car was out of the question due to his fragile condition.

To travel from Leeds to Plymouth by road can take up to nine hours with traffic delays, so the safest and quickest option was to fly James with a specialist team from Embrace, Yorkshire & Humber Infant & Children’s Transport Service – one of the clinical partner teams that work with the Children’s Air Ambulance.

The flight took just two hours.

James’s mum Natalie is forever grateful that the Children’s Air Ambulance was available to transfer her son. She says: “It will always have a special place in our hearts.”

With limited options available to celebrate James’s birthday due to lockdown, the family are planning a walk or bike ride before a special tea.

“As James enjoys being outdoors, he will be happy with this. He loves exploring new places, getting really wet and muddy and cycling,” says Natalie.

She works as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner at Derriford Hospital and sometimes sees the Children’s Air Ambulance on the helipad there.

“It makes me smile but it also reminds me of what we’ve been through and I think about why the helicopter is there and the family involved,” she says.

After his Children’s Air Ambulance transfer as a tiny baby, James spent another two weeks in hospital before he was strong enough to go home.

He is now a lively, funny, and intelligent little boy who is curious about the world he lives in – loving facts about animals, history, and how things are made.

“He is cheeky, energetic, loving, and caring and talks A LOT!” says Natalie.