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Air ambulance celebrates 10th birthday

Great North Air Ambulance
Great North Air Ambulance attending a callout Credit: Great North Air Ambulance

The Pride of Cumbria Air Ambulance is celebrating it's tenth birthday.

The aircraft, which is part of the Great North Air Ambulance Service, has responded to four and a half thousand call-outs in a decade. There were almost 500 last year.

It's funded solely by public donations.

'Take pride when you see the aircraft'

Since 2004, the Pride of Cumbria air ambulance, otherwise known as the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), has completed 4,500 missions across the county.

It's estimated that each mission costs around £2,500, accounting for the aircraft, fuel costs, staffing equipment and drugs.

In the last financial year the helicopter was dispatched 482 times and volunteers say it's crucial that people continue to donate to keep the service going.

"It has never been easy. It was a battle setting it up and it remains a battle to keep enough money coming in. It is clear now though that this service is needed. There are thousands of people out there who would testify to that from personal experience.

"We'd like to thank everyone who has ever supported us in any way. Every contribution, from the loose change to the substantial gifts left in people's wills, it all makes a difference.

"Anyone who has ever donated should take great pride every time they see the green and white aircraft flying overhead, because that is where their money is going."

– Grahame Pickering, Chief Executive, GNAAS

Air Ambulance celebrates a decade in action

The helicopter will land at Armathwaite Hall in the Lake District at 2pm today, Thursday 7 August
The helicopter will land at Armathwaite Hall in the Lake District at 2pm today, Thursday 7 August Credit: ITV Border

The Great North Air Ambulance is celebrating its tenth birthday today.

The Pride of Cumbria helicopter began work from its base at Langwathby near Penrith back in 2004. In that time it's been on over 4,500 missions.

Celebrations, including a special birthday cake, are taking place all day.

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Thanks for saving my life! Says triathlete.

A professional triathlete whose neck was broken in an horrific crash in Cumbria has managed to give personal thanks to the paramedic who treated him.

Three months after the crash that nearly killed him, Alistair Robinson has met Andy Dalton from the Great North Air Ambulance at their Penrith base.

Alistair crashed into the back of a bus that had a puncture on the A66 between Penrith and Threlkeld in April.

The 30 year old from Dockray, near Penrith, fractured his skull, broke his neck and back, with nine of his vertebra broken.

I remember about half a mile from where I crashed but I have no memory of the accident itself.

"I don't remember being put into the ambulance but I do remember being in the air ambulance, looking up and hearing the rotors. And I can recall a paramedic being sat next to me.

I was really, really scared. I've had a lot of accidents over the years. I've been a full time athlete for almost 10 years now. This was my first major accident. I was well aware that there were serious problems. They don't call the air ambulance out for fun."

– Alistair Robinson, professional triathlete

I can't thank them enough. I've often seen the air ambulance out over the Lake Distict but you never think that it'll be you that needs it.

I am going to raise money for them as soon as I can. Without them, my injuries could have been a lot, lot worse."

– Alistair Robinson, professional triathlete

We managed to land in the field just behind where the bus was and we managed to see Alistair lying just behind the bus. It was obvious that he had hit the back of the bus at a fair speed and it was obvious that he'd banged his head as well because he was repeating himself a lot and he was not aware of what happened.

"We are just pleased that he's making a good recovery. It's always nice to meet a patient to see how they are getting on."

– Andy Dalton, paramedic from the Great North Air Ambulance

Cyclists injured in Fred Whitton Challenge

Two cyclists were airlifted to hospital after separate crashes in The Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District at the weekend.

Wrynose pass Credit: Great North Air Ambulance

A 50-year-old man, who was unconscious at the scene, was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital with serious head injuries after a crash at Wrynose Pass.

The cyclist had fallen on a steep descent at Honister Pass Credit: Great North Air Ambulance

Meanwhile, 27-year-old man, from Portsmouth, came off his bike at Honister Pass.

He suffered multiple injuries and was assessed by a doctor and paramedic team before he was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital.

Vicar sets off for thousand mile walk

A vicar is setting off today on a thousand mile walk that will take him from France across much of Northern Spain.

The Reverend Peter Turnbull from Cleator Moor is heading for the shrine of St James in Santiago de Compostela.

It is a journey to raise money for the Great North Air ambulance but also to make his own spiritual journey.

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