Devon was chosen as Charity of the Year, 2023, for good reason by the Mill Bay Beach Owners Group at Salcombe. 

It is hard to find places to berth your boat in the South Hams. But members of Salcombe Yacht Club and visitors can keep their boats close to the club at Mill Bay Beach, East Portlemouth and Salcombe, for up to four weeks in any one year for £10 per week. 100% of this income was donated to Devon Air Ambulance that year, raising over £3,000 for Devon Air Ambulance.  

This is not the first donation associated with the club. When Salcombe Yacht Club celebrated its 25th anniversary a couple of years ago, a percentage of ticket sales was also donated to Devon Air Ambulance. We were chosen as the charity beneficiary because a couple of years prior, Jules McColl, Manager of Salcombe Yacht Club, had experienced first-hand how crucial the service is.  

Jules's father, John Walster, was playing tennis with friends at a hotel in Okehampton when suddenly, he collapsed, suffering a Cardiac Arrest. Jules said:

Dad would not have survived if the hotel did not have a defibrillator and the staff had not acted so quickly in using it. Then the air ambulance got him into RD&E Hospital quickly. It saved his life, and there is a ripple effect for us as a family too.

Hotel staff immediately administered CPR and used a defibrillator they had on site whilst waiting for medical assistance to arrive. We were tasked to attend and arrived quickly, taking over John’s care and conveying him to Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital where he made a full recovery. Feeling much better after receiving this care, John was back to his normal self, even joking to his family that he had been winning the game before he collapsed!  

Jules added: ‘Without that helicopter we would not have had him with us today!’  

Inspired by the care her father received, Jules was motivated to fundraise for DAA during several other events. What the team at Salcombe Yacht Club (SYC) did not anticipate was that they would need DAA’s support again when a guest also suffered a cardiac arrest at an SYC event. The guest received CPR and is now back healthily sailing. 

Following this incident, Salcombe Yacht Club began raising money for their own defibrillator as the closest one previously had been roughly a 5-minute walk away at Whitestrand Boat Hire.  

Devon Air Ambulance is immensely grateful to Salcombe Yacht Club and Mill Bay Beach Owners for all their support of our lifesaving service and look forward to planning more activities together in the future. 

Devon Air Ambulance exists entirely thanks to the support of the communities we serve. 

We welcome your continued support.

John and Jackie Walster

John and Jackie Walster