£1m boost for Yorkshire Air Ambulance new helicopter

Mr Osbourne made the funding pledge during a visit to Yorkshire Air Ambulance’s s air base at Nostell Priory, near Wakefield, with longstanding charity supporter and cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott who asked the Government for help.

Following the completion of a detailed review of their evolving needs for service delivery over the next 25 years, Yorkshire Air Ambulance has now placed an order for a latest generation Airbus H145 helicopter to replace the older of its two aircraft, G-SASH.

The £1 million Government donation, from fines levied on banks, will contribute substantially towards the new £5.7 million helicopter, which should arrive by September 2016 and will fly out of Nostell.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance Chairman Peter Sunderland, said: “We remain totally dependent on the generosity of the fantastic people of Yorkshire. 

“However, the phenomenal donation we have received today from The Chancellor of the Exchequer, will allow us to work towards fulfilling our mission to provide Yorkshire with the highest quality rapid response emergency service – and I express my sincere thanks for this exceptional contribution.

“In planning for the future we have been building up our reserves to ensure we can continue to develop and expand our life saving service by having the most up-to-date aircraft.

“G-SASH has been a familiar sight over the skies of Yorkshire for the last 14 years. But in recent years, maintenance costs have escalated and spare parts have become increasingly difficult to find. Now is the right time to replace her.”

The new helicopter offers exceptional flight performance and will have significantly lower operating and maintenance costs. The Airbus H145 is night capable and is used by military, police and air rescue services around the world – including the Metropolitan Police.

It has a larger cabin and provides paramedics with a much more modern medical fit-out to treat and transport often critically injured patients.

Mr Sunderland added: “Replacing G-SASH will ensure the continuation of a state-of-the-art air ambulance service for the people of Yorkshire for the next 25 years.”

Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a rapid response emergency service that serves five million people across Yorkshire, operating from air bases at Nostell and RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk.

It attends more than 1,000 incidents a year, on average, and the charity needs to raise £12,000 every single day to keep its two existing helicopters maintained and flying.  

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: "Geoffrey Boycott asked the government for support, and I am delighted to able to donate £1m towards funding a new helicopter for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.  

“It's a brilliant charity that saves lives across Yorkshire, a county very much at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

"This funding – and the £10 million the government has donated to Air Ambulances across the country in the past year – comes from fines levied on banks, and it's only right that funds from those who have demonstrated the worst values should go to those, like the dedicated and skilled air ambulance crews and their supporters who demonstrate the best of British values on a daily basis."