New Air Ambulance base for Essex and Hertfordshire officially opened

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

The lifesavers of the Essex and Hertfordshire Air Ambulance are now working from a new custom built base at North Weald near Harlow.

A hundred people attended the official opening and a minute's silence held for Sir David Amess MP who was a long time supporter of the charity.

The charity's medical director, Dr Neal Durge, said it was a tragic and senseless loss of life.

"He was a huge supporter of everything we did, he's opened shops for us, supportive of our fundraising activities, his loss will be felt especially keenly and he will be missed," Dr Neal Durge added.

On average the service is called out 6 times a day and it costs £750,000 a month to run, most of which comes from private donations.

The new base started construction at the beginning of the pandemic and has taken just over a year to complete.

The official opening was attended by people who had been helped by the service including Maisie Moon and her family from Earls Colne in Essex.

David, Nicola and Maisie Moon have supported the service since a car accident in 2012 Credit: ITV Anglia

They had supported the charity ever since a car accident in 2012. Maisie was 15 months old and had to be airlifted to hospital.

"Without the Essex Herts Air Ambulance we simply wouldn't have a little girl here today," Daivd Moon said about his daughter.

"The interventions they're able to perform on the day of the accident in 2012 with Maisie, having that hospital literally at the side of the road is so important and was the difference between having Maisie now as a happy, healthy 10 year old and not having a little girl," he said.The new building brings together both the charity and its operational side under one roof.

Two helicopters can be held in the hangar alongside two rapid response vehicles. It also has underground heating for the helipad to keep it free of snow and ice during winter.

One of the charity's 2 helicopters Credit: ITV Anglia

One of the flight doctors, Rachael Harding, said the new base was so important because it was a job where every second counted.

"In general it's within 5 minutes of immediate despatch and in terms of getting airborne it's 5 or 6 minutes of being on the telephone, out of the ops room into the aircraft, the pilots do all their checks and lift," she said.

The helicopters can reach the furthest parts of Essex and Hertfordshire in under 20 minutes to provide critical care.