Moretonhampstead residents gathered at the Sports and Community Centre (MSACC) to celebrate the opening of the community landing site for Devon Air Ambulance. The occasion was marked by Devon County Councillor, Jerry Brook, and was an opportunity to thank all those involved with realising the project.

A lifeline for locals

The night landing site, which become operational earlier this year, was made possible following the installation of new lighting at King George V Playing Fields. The floodlighting helps illuminate the landing area, allowing medical teams to see clearly as they assess and treat patients. The lights are switched on remotely by the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) Dispatcher based at the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, by making a simple phone call to an electronic control box connected to the switch mechanism at the Community Landing Site. Once the crew have cleared the scene, they are turned off using the same procedure.

One of the key co-ordinators of the community fundraising for the new lighting, Lynn Bartlett, said:

Everybody came together and supported the project because they believed in it. I know local people donated for many reasons; some very personal where the Air Ambulance has touched their lives, or maybe helped their friends, some just feel very passionate about the Air Ambulance itself. I was told many touching stories by people while collecting donations.

Jane Willis, Chair of Moretonhampstead Parish Council, said:

We are very pleased that the Night Landing Lights project has been completed. It will allow the Devon Air Ambulance to land safely in Moretonhampstead after dark. A big thanks to Lynn Bartlett, fundraiser extraordinaire, who heard about the project and encouraged us all to be involved; the people of Moretonhampstead who contributed an amazing £3,500 towards the costs; our County Councillor, Jerry Brooks, and Teignbridge District Councillor, Mike Jeffrey, for their contributions, and The Sports Centre for generously allowing the lights to be erected on their land. A great team effort that will save lives in the future.

Graham Austin, on behalf of MSACC, added:

Moretonhampstead Sports & Community Centre is delighted to have been able to assist in providing the facility at King George V Playing Fields for a Devon Air Ambulance Night Landing Site and for having the opportunity to be involved in such a worthwhile project for the local community.

The new landing site at the Sports Centre in means we the community can be reached during the hours of darkness. Toby Russell, DAA Community Landing Sites Development officer, extended his thanks to all those people and organisations that helped to make the project possible. 

The Moretonhampstead night landing site has been added to a growing network of surveyed floodlit community sites (now totalling 116) across Devon which enable the Charity to reach and treat patients until 2am every day.

Find out more about getting a community landing site in your community