Why we fly

George C’s Story

Without the Children’s Air Ambulance, he would have had to travel four to five hours in an ambulance on the motorway where you’ve got traffic and the possibility of an accident.

Kirsty, George’s mum

Little George Clegg has battled with serious illness since the day he was born. He has spent months of his life in hospital, having operation after operation as he fought a heart condition and a worrying list of other health problems.

The Children’s Air Ambulance were there when George urgently needed a transfer, so that he could have the two major operations he desperately needed when he was just eight months old. His family live in Beverley, East Yorkshire, but it was decided that Great Ormond Street Hospital in London would be the best place for him to have the heart and tracheal surgery he so desperately needed.

Great Ormond Street is 200 miles from his nearest hospital in Leeds, a journey difficult for any ill child, let alone one with so many critical conditions. It was felt a helicopter transfer would minimise the risks of moving George. The alternative was a four to five-hour trip down the M1, which would have carried more risks and potential problems for poor George.

Because of his precarious condition, the Children’s Air Ambulance, with a team from our clinical partners at Embrace, was the safest, quickest and most efficient way of getting George the surgery he needed.

Once the air ambulance landed in Regent Park, George was taken to the nearby Great Ormond Street Hospital where he was soon joined by his loving parents.

Kirsty said, “We were lucky he was quite stable, but if he had been worse there was a chance he might not have made it if something had happened half way down the road. The Children’s Air Ambulance is an absolute lifesaver.”

While it took Kirsty and Russell more than three hours by train, the journey took only an hour in our helicopter, travelling safely at 185mph to its destination.

A short while later, George had one operation to resolve a problem with a narrowing of his windpipe and then had major surgery on his heart.

He then spent two months at Great Ormond Street, recovering from his traumatic yet lifesaving surgery, before he was well enough to go back to hospital in Leeds. Eventually George returned to his home at the end of October.

It’s been an agonising and traumatic introduction to the world for him and his loving family, who have waited patiently at his bedside throughout his ordeal.

His proud parents, Kirsty and Russell, say they’ll be forever grateful to the Children’s Air Ambulance for playing a crucial part in their fourth child’s recovery.

And today, although George has got a long way to go and will need more operations this year, he’s doing much better and is at home with mum, dad and his older brother and two sisters.

Kirsty said, “He’s got a long way to go before everything is sorted properly, and they’ve said everything that is wrong with him is fixable. He’s going to have some problems when he’s older, but it’s all fixable and it’s not as if it’s life-shortening.

“He’s always happy, he’s never really cried, he’s just so easy going. For everything he’s been through, you’d think he’d be a difficult baby, but he sleeps all night and he’s really chilled out as well.

“He takes it all in his stride, he’s such a pleasant little boy. Generally, he’s doing quite well at the moment, but he will need more surgery.”