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Devon Air Ambulance celebrates 25th anniversary

Devon Air Ambulance landed in Topsham today to celebrate the 25th anniversary Credit: ITV News West Country

The Devon Air Ambulance service celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. It has flown almost 25,000 missions and saved tens of thousands of lives since it started in 1992. The milestone is being celebrated with a family day and emergency displays at Topsham today.

Dr Ann Ralli, founder of the Devon Air Ambulance Service Credit: ITV News West Country

The Devon Air Ambulance was started by Dr Ann Ralli after she lost her son Ceri Thomas when he was involved in a car accident while riding his bike on Sidbury Hill. He was just 18 years old.

It took an ambulance an hour to get Ceri to hospital, by which time it was too late to save him. When she asked a doctor if anything might have saved him he said 'only an air ambulance’.

She realised in rural areas it took longer than 'the golden hour', when many patients can be saved, for an ambulance to reach a hospital by road.

Ann spent six years raising money to launch the service which cost £500,000 to set up. With two helicopters it now costs £5.5 million a year to run all through money raised from the public.


Could you tame the dragon?

Devon Air Ambulance Trust staff, family, volunteers and aircrew Credit: Devon Air Ambulance Trust

Dragons will roar on the River Exe this autumn, when Devon Air Ambulance Trust holds its second annual dragon boat festival.

With 16 rowers needed for each boat, the charity hopes friends, neighbours and colleagues will team up to tame the dragon, helping them raise money for their work.

Our first Dragon Boat Festival last year was a great success and we know many of last year’s teams are looking forward to taking on the dragon again! A few of the teams from last year are already challenging each other to do better!

– Caroline Creer, DAAT Fundraising Director

Investigation into water tank crash in Devon

The elderly woman was airlifted to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital with severe leg wounds Credit: PA

An investigation is underway into a crash in East Devon in which two elderly pedestrians were crushed by a water bowser.

It came loose from a tractor on the A375 at Sidbury, north of Sidmouth yesterday morning. The tank crashed into the man and woman, leaving them with severe leg injuries. They were taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for treatment.


Devon's air ambulance aims for night flights

They're the lifesavers that currently only operate in the daytime. The Devon Air Ambulance service responds to emergencies within minutes - but their two helicopters are currently NOT allowed to fly at night.

That could mean no rescues are possible after four o'clock in the winter.

The charity that runs the service wants to extend its flying hours - but it needs to raise a million pounds to fund it.

Richard Lawrence reports: