On the 23rd of November the Forum welcomed Helen Murray-Sharpe as guest speaker. Helen is a volunteer fund raiser with Yorkshire Air Ambulance which was the subject of her talk. The talk covered two aspects of the work of the Air Ambulance, the operational side of the organisation and how it works as a charity.
Yorkshire Air Ambulance began in 2000 operating from a Portakabin at Leeds /Bradford Airport. After it was involved in the rescue of TV personality Richard Hammond in 2007 he featured the organisation in a programme titled Helicopter Heroes which greatly raised its profile. There are now two helicopters, one based at RAF Topcliffe and the other at Nostell Priory near Wakefield. These bases enable 90% of the population of Yorkshire to be reached within one hour. At the Nostell base there is an air desk whose operator monitors all 999 calls in the area and can break in to the conversation to offer air ambulance assistance. Patients are usually flown to the nearest of four major trauma centres, in Leeds, Hull, Sheffield or Middlesbrough.
Helen also related how the air ambulance works with Embrace, an organisation based in Barnsley which provides emergency care for young children. Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a charity totally reliant on donations for its existence. For instance its cost is £44 million each year and the average cost of each mission is £3,420.
Helen summarised the methods of fund raising used which never involve harassment of potential donors. Forum members posed many questions to Helen and a collection was taken to which members generously contributed.