Wroughton Paralympian reflects on being an ambassador for Wiltshire Air Ambulance

By Jessica Durston - 1 September 2022

SportCharity
  • Louise Hunt

    Louise Hunt

Former Paralympian Louise Hunt looks back on her first months as a Wiltshire Air Ambulance ambassador.

  • Louise Hunt and Chris Skelley with Nick Mason and his wife, Annette

    Louise Hunt and Chris Skelley with Nick Mason and his wife, Annette

Louise Hunt PLY, who became an ambassador for Wiltshire Air Ambulance earlier this year, says she believes working with the charity has opened her eyes to the need for such an emergency service.

She said: “These first few months of working with the team at Wiltshire Air Ambulance has really made me appreciate how important this service is to my local community. In fact it was due to personal experience that I jumped at the chance to support the charity. 

“The air ambulance came to the aid of a very close family friend who was taken ill suddenly. Sadly this friend passed away however I, my family and friends will always be grateful for the highly experienced and kind team from WAA and the speed in which they got to her to try and help.

“This service is one we all hope we will never need – yet I promise you, you’ll forever grateful if you need their emergency service.”

The 31-year-old wheelchair tennis champion was invited to become an ambassador earlier in the year and visited the team’s base in Semington, where she met with pilots and medics. 

With an annual cost of £4 million – which equates to £11,000 a day -  the charity relies on donations as it receives no regular direct government funding

Louise added: “When I learnt more about the real-life stories and how many lives the crews have saved it made me feel passionate about supporting the charity in any way I can this year and next.”

Louise and her fiance Chris Skelley MBE PLY recently supported fellow Wiltshire Air Ambulance ambassador Nick Mason, the musician and former drummer with iconic band Pink Floyd, at his annual Open Garden Event.

Nick and his wife Annette, opened up their gardens at Middlewick House in North Wiltshire earlier this summer, to raise money for charity – including Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Nick also took the opportunity to show off some of his famous classic cars at the event as he is a motor racing enthusiast.

“It was a fabulous day and the weather was gorgeous,” Louise said. “It was a real privilege to be able to spend time with Nick and Annette in their own ‘back yard’ and what a back yard! We loved the cars and we’re all so grateful to those who came along and helped raised thousands for charity.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance was launched in 1990, and staff attend around three calls a day. As an ambassador, Louise helps spread awareness about the charity in local schools, and in her daily life, to help them raise the funds to keep their helicopter in the air.

Louise Hunt was born with spina bifida, meaning she has been a wheelchair user from childhood. She became an elite athlete, and was an accomplished road racer in her wheelchair. Later, she specialised in tennis which she says she found more mentally challenging. 

She went on to amass more than 100 titles for professional tennis and was ranked number 10 in the world for wheelchair tennis at the height of her competitive career.

Today Louise lives in Wroughton, and is a motivational speaker, diversity and disability consultant for businesses and brands, and an activist around disability issues.

For more information about Louise, individuals can visit http://www.louisehunt.co.uk

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