Birchington Family Spend Day at Lambeth Palace for Launch of New Helicopters
A family from Birchington, Kent were presented to HRH the Duke of York at an event at Lambeth Palace, London organised by The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) to launch the charity’s new aircraft.
The Children’s Air Ambulance is the first and only dedicated paediatric and neonatal transfer helicopter service in the country which was there at the Honour family’s hour of need in February, when 17 month old toddler Phoebe urgently needed to be flown between hospitals to receive lifesaving specialist care.
Phoebe had been admitted to the children’s ward at the local hospital with pneumonia, but after four days her condition started to deteriorate. Fluid had collected on her right lung and it had nearly collapsed. She was struggling to breathe, her heart rate was rapid and her temperature was dangerously high.
With no paediatric intensive care facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Hospital in Margate it was vital that Phoebe was transferred to a hospital where she could get the specialist care she so urgently needed.
It took the Children’s Air Ambulance just 30 minutes to fly Phoebe and her mum Amy to Battersea Heliport where a land ambulance was waiting to transfer them to Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
The Honour family, with a fully recovered Phoebe, were guests of honour at the royal event where they all got a close look at the bespoke helicopter that Phoebe flew on. They also had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the charity’s celebrity ambassadors Dr. Ranj, Brian May, Anita Dobson, David and Frankie Seaman -to name just a few.
Since 2012 the charity had been operating out of the Midlands with one aircraft. The decision to provide two helicopters at bases in the north and south of Great Britain has already enabled the charity to respond to more transfer requests; completing nearly 100 missions since they went into operation late last year, and with a target to complete 300 missions a year.
Welcoming the introduction of the new aircraft, charity Patron Sarah, The Duchess of York, said: “The Children’s Air Ambulance is an important charity which helps save the lives of so many babies and young children like Phoebe. These aircraft make a real difference to these young patients where speed can be the difference between life and death.
“Without transfer by helicopter there could have been very different outcomes to the lives of those saved by the service and their many stories are a testament to that fact.
“I know the introduction of a second helicopter will help the charity to reach even more children across the country but to ensure they can continue this lifesaving work it is important that donations keep coming in.”
Also commenting on the service, Phoebe’s mum Amy said:
“The Children’s Air Ambulance is amazing. I think getting Phoebe to the specialist care she needed so urgently saved her and certainly improved her recovery time. She is now back to her usual self and I will always be very grateful for what they did.”
The AgustaWestland 169 aircraft are based at Doncaster Sheffield and London Oxford airports. The bespoke equipment on-board includes a specially designed stretcher system and clinical interior, incubator and extra seat for a parent to be able to accompany their child. These state of the art facilities make the helicopters second to none in the provision of paediatric and neonatal transfers.