New Great North Air Ambulance helicopter comes to Cumbria

The Great North Air Ambulance Service is bringing its new helicopter - 'Pride of Cumbria II' - to the county it is named after today.

After leaving Leeds Bradford Airport it flew past some of Cumbria's major towns and cities, including Carlisle, Kendal, Whitehaven and Kewswick.

It then landed at the organisation's base in Langwathby.

The Dauphin N3 aircraft replaces a 30-year-old air ambulance - which is now up for sale - and has been described as a more powerful model which will enable the service to reach more patients. It is expected to be in service for at least 15 years.

The new helicopter is prepared for flight. Credit: Great North Air Ambulance Service

Andy Mawson, director of operations, said the old aircraft had maintenance costs of £500,000 each year and it was time to find a new machine.

He added: "The last year has been a struggle for the charity, fundraising has been badly affected, but we needed to look beyond Covid and think about the most effective way to keep our service operating."

Another helicopter, Guardian of the North II, went to work in the service's North East base last summer. The charity has sought funds to cover loan repayments for both aircraft.