Live updates

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.

GNAA: 'Budget announcement will save us £25,000 a year'

Air ambulances have VAT on fuel scrapped Credit: GNAA

The Great North Air Ambulance Service, which operates Pride of Cumbria, has welcomed the Government’s decision to relieve air ambulances from the burden of fuel duty. As part of the budget announcement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that air ambulance fuel would no longer be subject to VAT.

The announcement follows a long campaign by supporters of air ambulances in the UK.

Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “We estimate that this move could save the charity around £25,000 a year, enough to pay for ten missions.

"This is clearly a significant contribution and we are grateful to all those people who have worked hard to make this happen, especially the many thousands who signed the online petition which triggered the debate in the first place."


Chancellor announces VAT relief for Great North Air Ambulance


Chancellor announces VAT relief for air ambulance fuel. Thanks for all the support everyone - we did it! #budget2014

As part of his budget for 2014 George Osborne has announced that air ambulances will have VAT relief.

The Great North air Ambulance have been campaigning for this.

Husband praises Great North Air Ambulance after rescue

Karen Luker and Rod Coombs Credit: Family photo

A man has paid tribute to the Great North Air Ambulance Service after they rescued his wife following a walking accident in the Lake District.

Karen Luker fell during a walk on 19 October, leaving her in severe pain. Her husband Rod Coombs found that he had no phone signal and had to run to the nearby village of Buttermere to call 999.

He then returned to his wife when he knew emergency services were on their way.

When he knew emergency services were on their way he returned to his wife, who was being comforted by two passersby, to tell her the ambulance was on its way.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service landed in a field just 100 metres from the patient and the onboard doctor and paramedic treated Mrs Luker on scene.

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team also helped to stretcher the patient to the waiting air ambulance, where she was airlifted to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle with suspected spinal injuries.

The 61-year-old was able to leave hospital the next day to continue her recovery.

Air Rescue

The Rescue Team bring the injured woman off the fellside Credit: Great North Air Ambulance

A woman in her forties is recovering after falling on High Dodd near Ullswater. The Great North Air Ambulance and Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team were called to rescue the woman who had leg injuries shortly before 4pm.

She was airlifted down to the rescue team base and is in a stable condition.

Load more updates


Today's top stories