Essex & Herts Air Ambulance to celebrate 20 years of saving lives
Two decades ago, Essex Air Ambulance was born. Now, as Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT), the Charity will celebrate 20 years of saving lives.
The cross-county Charity will be unveiling their newly branded fleet, and never-before-seen helicopter, at their Celebration Event at Audley End House & Gardens on Sunday 25th June.
From 11am-4pm, thousands of Charity supporters will enjoy the family fun day feel of the Celebration Event. As well as unveiling the new look of their fleet – including the Charity’s first ever purchased helicopter, the Agusta Westland 169 and two Rapid Response Vehicles – the varied entertainment on the day ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Attractions include a helicopter simulator (no Air Ambulance Pilots allowed!), a vintage car display, a games area for the entire family, a bird display featuring an owl from the Harry Potter franchise and a wide range of artisanal food stands.
Jane Gurney, Chief Executive Officer for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, said: “This is an incredible opportunity to celebrate the remarkable progress the Charity has made in 20 years. To be able to bring everyone together in the grounds of somewhere as prestigious as Audley End House is a real honour and we can’t wait to use this opportunity to showcase our new fleet!”
Jen Wall, Events and Volunteer Manager for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, said: “A huge thank you goes to the staff of English Heritage and Audley End House and Gardens for helping us to host this very special event. We also wouldn’t be able to put on the event without the help of our sponsors: Specialist Aviation Services, Leonardo Helicopters and SVC. As well as working very closely with sponsors, our media partners for this event, Heart Essex, Newsquest and BBC Essex, have been able to raise awareness of the Charity and our very special day.”
The Agusta Westland 169 comes into service this summer after a three-year search by the Charity for the most suitable helicopter for the Air Ambulance’s needs. Support from the public and businesses of Essex and Hertfordshire ensured that the Charity were able to invest £5 million of donations towards the Agusta Westland 169. When the Government’s LIBOR fund donated to Air Ambulances in 2016, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance used their £1.5 million to complete the purchase of a new helicopter.
Cliff Gale, Operations Director for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, said: “The Agusta Westland 169 is the perfect helicopter for the Charity, and it’s a privilege to be able to afford our first ever helicopter as opposed to leasing the aircraft. The AW169 will be in service with us for at least ten years, and this sustainability means we can start looking forward to the next twenty years of saving lives and future-proofing the Charity. We couldn’t have purchased this aircraft without the generosity and goodwill of the people of Essex and Hertfordshire.”
Henk Schaeken, Managing Director at Specialist Aviation Services who operate helicopters for the emergency services, said: “We have been closely involved with Essex & Herts Air Ambulance for nearly ten years now and we have seen this vital service continue to flourish. We are truly delighted and proud to be a part of the next phase of development and we wish the EHAAT team all the very best for the next ten years.”
Daniele Romiti, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters who build the Agusta Westland helicopters, said: “It gives us great pleasure to have Essex & Herts Air Ambulance as one of the leading customers of the AW169 for emergency medical service in UK. This new generation model has introduced all new capabilities, latest safety standards and has been designed to meet the most stringent requirements for primary and secondary HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services). The UK has rapidly proven to be one of the most successful markets for the AW169 and we’re confident it’ll allow an increasing number of operators to perform a quantum leap forward in mission accomplishment. We’re also committed to staying closer and closer to our customers delivering the level of service they deserve.”
Earlier this year, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance worked closely with their chosen agency Simplify to unite the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire with a single brand design, as opposed to the two Air Ambulances being seen separately. In redesigning the fleet livery, from Helicopters to Rapid Response Vehicles, the Charity were keen to culminate their successful rebrand, choosing to partner with Winch Design, who specialise in aviation, architecture and yachts. Winch Design’s ethos and keen interest in corporate social responsibility has ensured that the Charity’s ambitious vision was executed in their design work, bringing the fleet livery to life.
Jim Dixon, Head of Aviation at Winch Design, said: “Having taken the opportunity to develop such a bold brand signature, we were delighted that Essex & Herts Air Ambulance then chose to call upon the experience of Winch Design’s aviation team to assist with their fleet livery. Our focus was to make the brand highly visible and immediately recognisable in the air; the distinctive brand logo lends itself perfectly to the helicopter form, creating a familiar sight around the region to promote safety and reassurance”.
After the Agusta Westland 169 has been unveiled, it will embark on a promotional tour across Essex & Hertfordshire, using free promotional flying hours from SAS, before it goes into service for the Charity. The Charity’s clinical function will not be affected by this tour, as the aircraft will not be operational until July 2017, when all training and conversion has been carried out. Their two helicopter operation will continue to provide life-saving care throughout this period. With 2-3 stops a day from Monday 26th June to Sunday 2nd July, the Charity hopes to reach out to as many of its supporters as possible and bring the excitement of the new helicopter into the community.
Locations so far include Chelmsford, Colchester, Royston, Buntingford and Watford, with more to be announced. As well as visiting the helicopter on tour, members of the public will be able to track the tour on social media, and via a live tracker on the Charity website, which will be live from 25th June. A full list of locations will be available on the Charity website, and you will be able to see whether or not the Agusta Westland 169 will be touching down in your town. The final stop of the tour will be the Charity’s Summer Cycle Ride event at Welwyn Rugby Club in Hertfordshire.