Our History

Pride and passionOur Journey

We’ve achieved many great things and continue to stand by our values in everything we do. Read about our journey and how we’ve developed into the charity we are today.


Malcom Hazel formed the charity under the name Princess Diana National Air Ambulance for Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.

Early Beginnings
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  • 595Missions

The service started flying with a helicopter leased from Sloane Helicopters. Doctors volunteered to regularly crew the aircraft, outside of their NHS working hours.

  • Missions: 322
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  • 1,858Missions

Princess Diana Air Ambulance was removed and the service became what it is known as today – Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.
The initial target was to raise £1,000,000. The lottery scheme and DB textile bag collections had been set up which provided a core, regular income, and the charity set out to build support from the local community.

  • WNAA leased two Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) from Rover which supported the aircraft if it was unable to fly.
  • Paramedics were seconded from NHS ambulance services and responded using RRV’s.
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  • 3,618Missions

By mid-2005 the charity raised enough money to pay for the helicopter lease. All paramedics were seconded from the NHS ambulance service and doctors continued to volunteer their time.

  • Donations via standing order raised £9,000 with 200 supporters.
  • Gold fundraising members collectively raised £1,260,000.
  • Income from the lottery reached £8,000.
Helicopter Leased
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  • 5,398Missions

The charity leased a new aircraft, G-MEDS, which arrived at Coventry Airport as the new WNAA helicopter.

  • Partnered with the company, Reclaim to recycle mobile phones.
  • The charity began to take credit card payments.
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  • 7,000Missions

By its third birthday, WNAA began to provide lifesaving services 365 days a year.

  • CEO, Andy Williamson was voted the Charity Principal of the Year by the Charity Times.
  • WNAA made it onto the Discovery Channel as part of a documentary about A&E.
Year Round Support
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  • 9,292Missions

WNAA took over the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA) and began to provide the same lifesaving services as its now sister, WNAA.

  • DLRAA launched using the G-MEDS helicopter, with WNAA operating under G-WNAA.
  • Single biggest donation to-date was received from The Soroptimist International of Rugby Charitable Trust of £100,000.
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  • 11,881Missions

The first charity motorbike Rescue Ride Out took place in Leicestershire.

  • Professional ballroom dancers, Anton du Beke and Erin Boag supported WNAA and DLRAA for a staff team building event.
1,200 Missions
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  • 14,386Missions

The first WNAA charity shop opened in Rugby, following by an additional nine shops throughout the year.
The charity went through a re-brand and launched a new logo.

  • G-RSCU entered service for WNAA. Volvo RRV’s replaced the Rovers at WNAA.
  • The hero’s run took place for the first time with events in Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
  • In April, the charity moved into the new HQ in Princethrope.
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  • 16,683Missions
  • 10Shops

Andy Williamson was voted the Institute of Directors Overall Director of the Year in the Midlands and Director of the Year in the Third Sector. Achieved two Charity Retail Association awards; retail staff member of the year and WOW interior of the year.

  • The charity brought together the two HEMS services under The Air Ambulance (TAAS) umbrella.
  • TAAS took over the Children’s Air Ambulance and promised to have the service flying by the end of 2012.
  • The charity won a National Business Award for Transformational Change of the Year.
  • Registered with the Care Quality Commission as an independent provider.
  • G-HEMZ started service at DLRAA.
  • A fundraising trek to Kilimanjaro took place.
One Group
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  • 18,468Missions
  • 21Shop
  • 3TCAA Missions

At the Best Business Awards, TAAS won the Best Employer and Andy Williamson achieved an award for Outstanding Achievement.
TAAS began to employ its own paramedics for HEMS helicopters.

  • October saw the first flight for the Children’s Air Ambulance.
  • The first recycling bank was placed in Northampton.
  • Landing Pad café opened in Daventry.
  • Began a shop partnership with Asda.
  • Fundraising trek to Machu Picchu.
Best Employers
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  • 20,129Missions
  • 25Shops
  • 46TCAA Missions

‘Octobash’ took place that celebrated WNAA’s 10th birthday.
The charity had an operational service expansion to WNAA, DLRAA and Children’s Air Ambulance. G-MEDX was the aircraft for DLAA and G-HEMZ entered modification to start service as the Children’s Air Ambulance.

  • The first patient transfer by the Children’s Air Ambulance took place.
  • TAAS launched an online eBay store.
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  • 20,129Missions
  • 27Shops
  • 112TCAA Missions

G-TAAS entered service as a new aircraft for DLRAA.

  • The service had its first event that took place at Lord Fink’s residence that provided the opportunity to raise awareness of the Children’s Air Ambulance.
  • 100 Children’s Air Ambulance transfers were completed and flew its first teenage patient.
A TCAA Milestone
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  • 24,381Missions
  • 31Shops
  • 172TCAA Missions

Launched the first Air Ambulance Week appeal in September

  • First TV advert went live on-air for the Children’s Air Ambulance.
  • Published ‘Flying to Save Young Lives’ paper that looked into future needs for emergency paediatric and neonatal transfer by helicopter.
  • WATCH (Wales & West Acute transport for Children) joined as the seventh clinical partner for the Children’s Air Ambulance.
  • Launched the night car service meaning that clinical HEMS lifesaving missions began running until 02:00, initially for two nights a week.
  • A rebrand to encompass the three services took place.
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  • 27,555Missions
  • 38Shops
  • 255TCAA Missions

Official contract for two new Children’s Air Ambulance helicopters was signed.

  • Launched in-house kerbside collections across Leicestershire
  • Trading went live on Amazon
  • Volunteer campaign ‘a mission for a mission’ took place with many MP’s visiting volunteers in their local shops.
  • 55 clinical partners attended training at Coventry airbase for Aviation Environmental Training
  • Children’s clinical partner teams increased to nine as two neonatal specialist teams joined: NEST and SONET
  • The first neonatal transfer was complete by Children’s Air Ambulance with the NEST team
  • Two new RRVs began service and the night car service extended to 7 days a week
  • The recycling team won the Community Impact award at the Charity Retail Awards.
  • Moved into new head office location in Rugby
A New Home
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  • 34,077Missions
  • 50Shops
  • 336TCAA Missions

Trading achieved ISO accreditation.

  • Children’s Air Ambulance service was increased to seven days a week.
  • Welcomed the Duchess of York as a Patron to the Children’s Air Ambulance.
Royal Patron
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  • 34,639Missions
  • 54Shops
  • 377TCAA Mission

The 15th Birthdays of WNAA was celebrated with the DLRAA’s 10th birthday also celebrated with an event at the Palace of Westminster.

  • Data wiping service was launched in conjunction with Blancco
  • Care Quality Commission inspection of all three TAAS services. Report praised TAAS as an organisation and its clinical services provided to patients.
  • Partnered with the National Forest to begin selling trees ahead of the first memorial tree planting that took place in November.
  • Expansion of the Children’s Air Ambulance service when two new helicopters were official handed over – the AgustaWestland 169 G-TCAA and G-PICU began service in September.
  • We opened two new airbases for the Children’s Air Ambulance in Doncaster and Oxford.
  • The first dual mission took place for the Children’s Air Ambulance.
15th Birthday
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  • 38,572Missions
  • 55Shops
  • 500Missions

Launched children’s fundraising club #TheCrew and the new Doncaster superstore opened.

  • Won Innovation & Technology in Charity Retailing at the Charity Retail Awards.
  • Opening of the charity’s first superstore, The Hanger in Alfreton, Derbyshire.
  • In-house clothes and plastic bag recycling began.
  • Opened the first toy collection bank in aid of the Children’s Air Ambulance.
The Hanger
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  • 41,982Missions
  • 55Shops
  • 583Missions

Reached 40,000 missions across our Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland service

  • ECMO and Nitric oxide equipment launched on Children’s Air Ambulance aircraft
  • Launched our online store selling new goods and merchandise
  • Gained ISO certifications 9001 and 14001
  • Launched our first children’s book, ‘Motorways in the Sky’
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  • 45,351Missions
  • 59Shops
  • 650Missions

2021 saw the launch of our brand new HEMS aircraft.

  • Our first Channel Swim Fundraiser
  • Hosted our first Annual Showcase Awards
  • Reached over 1000 #TheCrew Members
  • Two more The Hanger Superstores opened nationwide
  • 11th CPT (KIDS) for Children’s Air Ambulance
  • New In Memory Tribute website launched
  • 500th patient transfer for TCAA
  • 200th mission milestone with Embrace
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