IT has saved hundreds of lives in its five-year history.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is celebrating its fifth birthday and thanking a generous public who have donated more than £9m in that time to keep it in the air.

Since it was launched in 2007, it has undertaken more than 3,780 missions – including everything from road accidents and cardiac arrests, to rugby injuries or fires.

Crews do an average three call-outs a day and there are two permanent pilots as well as relief pilots.

Flights will normally take two paramedics, seconded from the South Central Ambulance Service and often a BASICS volunteer doctor.

It costs more than £3,600 per day to keep it flying.

The air ambulance’s fifth anniversary was celebrated by 4,500 people at a Birthday Summer Fair at Popham Airfield.