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Air ambulances grounded amid safety concerns

Air Ambulances covering Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and South Cumbria have been temporarily grounded amid concerns over safety.

The North West Air Ambulance and the Scottish Ambulance Service have suspended the use of their EC-135 helicopters- the same model as crashed in Glasgow earlier this month.

The Great North Air Ambulance, which uses a different model is continuing to operate.

Contingency measures are in place on both sides of the border to ensure that a rapid response service for medical emergencies is still available.

Funding for the North West Air Ambulance

The North West Air Ambulance Credit: NWAA

Air ambulances across the country, including the North West, are due to benefit from £192,000 from the Freemasons' Grand Charity. Twenty two air ambulance in nine regions will receive funding from the grant-making charity this year so they can continue carrying out their life-saving work.

Funding will help keep the ambulance in operation Credit: NWAA

Among those to benefit from the latest funds are North West Air Ambulance, which will receive £12,000. The latest figure brings the total amount of donations made to air ambulance charities by Freemasons since 2007 to £1 million.

The donations will be presented to the regional rescue services by Freemasons from across the country.

The service is vital in our region Credit: NWAA

Laura Chapman, chief executive of the charity, said:

"Support for air ambulance charities is very popular within Freemasonry because these vital services are at the heart of every community they operate in.

"Relying on donations, these organisations save thousands of lives each year and we are absolutely delighted to report that the total amount given is now over £1 million."

The Freemasons' Grand Charity is dedicated to supporting people in need in the areas of medical research; support for vulnerable people; youth opportunities; hospice services; air ambulances; and disaster relief.