Devon Air Ambulance, Paignton Rugby Club and Paignton Rotary have joined forces to enable the Rugby Club’s practice pitch to be used as an emergency night landing site.

This is extremely good news for the residents of Paignton as it means the Air Ambulance can now land in the centre of Paignton until midnight every day, and later to 2am when the service is extended in the future. The night landing site, which has been operational for a month, has already been used by Devon Air Ambulance to reach and treat a local man who had a serious fall and convey him to Derriford for further treatment.

Cllr Barbara Lewis, Councillor for Paignton Town Centre, who managed to bring all parties together to implement the creation of the site said,

“I was delighted when the Rugby Club offered their land for the community landing site and I was able to bring the Rotary on board to fund the new lighting equipment required.  It is an example of us all working together to make things happen”.

The Rugby Club has very kindly made available their practice pitch as the landing site for Devon Air Ambulance, which is situated next to the main road, giving easy access for land ambulance crews and any other emergency services that may be required. The Club’s existing lighting at their practice pitch has been adapted to include a switching system so the lights can be activated remotely in the event of an emergency and the aircraft needs to land.

Chairman for Paignton Rugby Club, Nick Moloney said,

“Paignton Rugby Club is a community focused organisation and we have been a long standing supporter of Devon Air Ambulance.  This new capability is a clear demonstration of how we want to enrich our local community using the values of Rugby (Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline & Sportsmanship).  These values are at the centre of everything we do and we are delighted to be part of this team. Devon Air Ambulance continue to be one of our focused charities, we expect that to be the case for the foreseeable future and the new landing site is a clear demonstration of our commitment.”

Paignton Rotary has generously donated £745 towards the remote switching equipment needed for the night landing site.  Landings that could help save lives in the future. Marion Page, President of the Rotary Club of Paignton said:

"Our Club is delighted to have been given the opportunity to contribute to such an important project for the town residents and visitors. Enabling the Air Ambulance to be able to land in the centre of the town will in years to come become a lifesaving facility and we are proud to have been able to help in this venture”.

Devon Air Ambulance is working with communities across Devon to help them establish their own night landing site.  As Toby Russell, Community Landing Sites Development Officer, went on to explain:

“There are now 79 community landing sites in operation with a further approx. 140 being developed across the county. This achievement is all down to hard work by organisations like Paignton Rugby Club with support from community groups like Paignton Rotary.

We are delighted to have the first night landing site in Paignton operational and, as we have already seen, this allows us to bring a life-saving service right into the heart of the community at night. We would like to extend a huge thanks to the Rugby Club and the Rotary Club of Paignton for making this happen and to Cllr. Lewis who helped bring the key partners together – a great community effort.

See our Community Landing Sites map for locations of our sites around Devon.

Left to right: Cllr Barbara Lewis (Roundham with Hyde Ward), Darren Law (Paignton RFC), Marion Page (President of the Rotary Club of Paignton), Toby Russell (Devon Air Ambulance), Nick Moloney (Chairman, Paignton RFC) and John Hopkins (Rotary Club of Paignton).