While many people will be enjoying time off over the Christmas and New Year period, Wiltshire Air Ambulance will remain operational and continue responding to emergencies.
The charity’s lifesaving service operates up to 19 hours a day, all year round, thanks to donations received from supporters across Wiltshire and Bath.
Among the aircrew on duty on Christmas Day are critical care paramedics Craig Wilkins, James Hubbard, Dan Tucker and Adam Khan, along with pilots Rob Collingwood and Elvis Costello.
Paramedic Craig, who will also be on shift for Boxing Day, said: “I hope this Christmas people in Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas have a peaceful and happy time.
“This will be the ninth time I’ve worked over the festive period so I’m well used to it. With shift work, it’s part of the job really and as I don’t have children, I don’t mind.
“I just have to rejig my time with the family for a turkey dinner at some stage, so I don’t miss out.”
The crew room at Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s airbase in Semington, near Trowbridge, will be decorated by the team to look as festive and “Christmassy” as possible.
Richard Miller, clinical services and ground base manager at the charity, said: “Our service operates every day so our pilots and specialist paramedics are ready to respond to emergency incidents, such as road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests and strokes, over the Christmas and New Year period.
“It has been another challenging year for everyone at the charity, especially as we spent the first three months of 2021 in a national lockdown and now with the rise of the Omicron variant as well.
“Our aircrew can’t work from home. They will remain fully operational throughout the Christmas and New Year period, ensuring we could be there for the people of Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas.
“We are only able to provide our essential Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) thanks to people, businesses and grant-making trusts who donate and fundraise for us. We hope everybody has a safe Christmas and New Year – and thank you, as always, for your support.”
The charity receives no regular direct funding from the Government or National Lottery grants. It needs to raise £4 million each year to keep flying and saving lives.
Staff are asking members of the public to consider donating to Wiltshire Air Ambulance this Christmas.
Donations can be made by visiting wiltshireairambulance.co.uk or text WAA to 70490 to give £10. Texts cost £10 plus the standard rate message.