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VAT relief for Air Ambulance

The Great North Air Ambulance says a tax break announced in yesterday's budget will help save lives.

It costs £4million to run the service, £100,000 of which is the fuel needed. The VAT on that fuel has now been lifted after a lengthy campaign and a petition signed by 100,000 people.

"We're just all absolutely thrilled when we heard the news. It's been really hard to work to get to this stage, so it's just the culmination of everything we've been working towards.

We could save up to £25,000 and that money will go directly into the pot to pay for the missions. We estimate it costs about £2500 every time the aircraft flies, so you know, it could potentially save ten lives."

– Jim Entwhistle, Great North Ambulance Service

A boost has also been announced for Mountain Rescue Teams. They were disappointed the budget speech made no mention of VAT relief for them. But the House of Commons announced their funding has been secured. It means money due to run out next year will be extended beyond 2015.

Air ambulances grounded amid safety concerns

Air Ambulances covering Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and South Cumbria have been temporarily grounded amid concerns over safety.

The North West Air Ambulance and the Scottish Ambulance Service have suspended the use of their EC-135 helicopters- the same model as crashed in Glasgow earlier this month.

The Great North Air Ambulance, which uses a different model is continuing to operate.

Contingency measures are in place on both sides of the border to ensure that a rapid response service for medical emergencies is still available.

Two airlifted to hospital after A684 crash

Two people have been airlifted to hospital in Preston via air ambulance following a collision on the A684 in Cumbria.

The crash involved an open top sports car and a bus. it is understood that no one on the bus was injured.

Three fire engines from Kendal were called to assist emergency services and paramedics at the scene at New Hutton near Kendal.

The fire service used specialist cutting equipment to free the two people from the car so that they could be transported to hospital.

The road remains closed.

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School makes mammoth collection

Hundreds of bags are waiting to be picked up Credit: ITV Border

A small school in North Cumbria is a regular contributor towards clothing collections for the great North Air Ambulance, so much so that they are now recognised by the charity as making the biggest single contribution in the whole region.

Fir Ends School in the village of Smithfield, just outside Carlisle, have raised more than £20,000 for the charity in recent years by donating old clothes.The most recent collection was over two tonnes worth of clothing.

The Air Ambulance have said that for such a small rural community the amount of contributions given is incredible.

Man rescued after falling while abseiling in a quarry

Great North Air Ambulance and Coniston Mountain Rescue were involved in the rescue Credit: Viewer picture

A man has been rescued after falling 20ft while abseiling in a quarry in the Lake District. He suffered a broken leg in the fall at Hodge Close quarry at Coniston on Friday afternoon.

Coniston Mountain Rescue Team freed the 45 year old who was then flown to hospital in Preston by the Great North Air Ambulance. He's currently in a stable condition.

Family tribute for crash couple

The family of Mr and Mrs Murray who died following a car accident in Hoff, Appleby on Saturday has paid tribute to them.

Their car plunged off a bridge and landed in a river, the couple were pronounced dead at the scene.

Steve Murray, their eldest son said on behalf of the family:

“We are all truly shocked and terribly upset by the tragic event on Saturday taking mum and dad away from us; as well as Grand parents and Great Grand parents from our children. It is hard to come to terms with something so shocking and painful. We thank family and friends for their support and such a difficult time.”

– Steve Murray

Bridge crash: couple named

Cumbria police have named the couple who died as when their car fell from a Cumbrian bridge.

They were Mr and Mrs Murray from Appleby.

Mr Alan Murray, aged 73 of Scattergate Crescent in Appleby was driving towards Appleby on Saturday afternoon (30th June) when his vehicle left the road, travelled down an embankment and turned upside down in a beck.

Emergency services, including the Great North Air Ambulance attended the scene. However both Mr Murray and his wife Barbara who was a passenger were pronounced dead at the scene.

The road was closed for four hours while examinations were carried out.

Police are appealing for witnesses.

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