2016 was a busy year for Devon Air Ambulance - not to mention the rest of the world! Missed some of our big news? Not to worry! Let’s take a look back at some of our key moments in 2016 but more importantly, find out more about our exciting Say it with Silver plans, which will mark Devon Air Ambulance's 25th anniversary of life-saving service.
Say it with Silver
The 27th August 2017 will mark 25 years since our very first mission back in 1992, when the Devon Air Ambulance service was launched, flying 5 days per week. Fundraising for an air ambulance service first began 6 years previously in 1986, when Ann Thomas started the Ceri Thomas Appeal following the tragic death of her son.
Since the first mission 25 years ago, the service has continued to develop and expand. Today, Devon Air Ambulance operates two air ambulances flying 7 days a week, with the service now extending into the hours of darkness too!
Our life-saving night-flying service
In November 2016, we launched our new night flying service, extending our flying hours to reach those in need during the hours of darkness. After all, people don’t simply stop being unwell when it gets dark. So, we went on a mission to make night time flight time!
So, how did we do it? We worked with the fantastic communities and organisations across Devon to develop a network of community landing sites, which enable our helicopters to land quickly and safely during the hours of darkness. However, we’re always looking for new sites to expand the reach of this service!
We’re also thrilled to have been awarded a £1 million grant from the Libor (Bank Fines) Fund to assist in funding community landing sites across Devonwhich will be used to help fund community landing sites installation for up to 300 sites!
This year we celebrated the 15th Anniversary of our charity lottery! Since the lottery started in September 2001, it has raised over £2 million- amazing! The lottery now has over 38,000 playing members- that’s over 3% of the people living in Devon.
As well as the chance of being a lucky winner, the knowledge that you’re helping to save lives can be rewarding in itself.
Events & Activities
2016 has been a fantastic year for Devon Air Ambulance events! In June, over 40 people took part in our One Mile Sea Swim, and enjoyed sunshine and calm conditions too! In July, our 11th annual Motorcycle Rideout was a real success, with nearly 1000 motorcycles participating. In September, we were pleased to host our third Dragon Boat Festival. We also took over co-ownership of the Royal Marines Commando Challenge with The Royal Marines Charity, with over 1,100 entrants.
It wasn’t just our own events, either: we were lucky to be supported by events including the Exeter Round Table Fireworks, BMAD and the Colyton Vintage Tractor Run, which also raised money for the charity.
We can’t mention everyone individually, but want to say a huge thank you to everyone who worked hard to raise money for Devon Air Ambulance in 2016! They were all tremendous efforts and thousands of pounds were raised- we couldn’t provide our service without your support.
This year we felt very proud to be chosen as n-ergy’s South West Region Charity of the Year for 2016/2017. We were also thrilled to win the prestigious Innovation Award at the Association of Air Ambulances’ Awards of Excellence.
2017, Here We Come!
We’re looking forward to the start of 2017, and another great year. If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, why not help to support us at Devon Air Ambulance?
As mentioned above, we’re encouraging everyone to get involved and raise some money for Devon Air Ambulance as part of our Say It With Silver campaign. If you’re celebrating your own 25th anniversary or birthday, or just want to help support us, there’s plenty of ways you can get involved - you could run an event, host a party, or hold a charity sale. For more ideas, just visit our fundraising page and download a free fundraising pack. We’d also love to hear about what you’re planning!
Finally, we just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Devon Air Ambulance this year, by volunteering, donating, fundraising, playing the lottery, or visiting one of our charity shops - we couldn’t do it without you!
Happy New Year from all the team at Devon Air Ambulance!