HAMPSHIRE and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) will now have more access to difficult-to-reach urban areas, after a £50K donation was fundraised and given to them by air traffic service company NATS Swanwick.

The donation has funded one of three Critical Care Team Vehicles (CCTV) operated by the life-saving charity, which enable pre-hospital emergency medicine doctors and paramedics to provide the same care as the Air Ambulance, and provides resilience when the aircraft cannot fly due to adverse weather conditions.

Employees at NATS Swanwick made HIOWAA their charity of choice in January last year and celebrated hitting the £50K milestone by unveiling the new vehicle at a joint event, which represented over a year's worth of fundraising activities.

These activities included climbing Mount Snowdon, taking part in the Southampton Airport Runway Run, abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower, and a charity car wash, while contributions were donated by staff directly from their salaries each month.

Director of NATS Swanwick Jamie Hutchison said: “We are thrilled to have hit our fundraising target for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

"The Air Ambulance provides a vital service to the south coast region and is also a charity that is very close to the hearts of many of our employees here at the NATS Swanwick centre."

He added: “The work that the HIOWAA team does in the local community is outstanding and we have had such a great time partnering with them over the past two years, raising money to support the fantastic work that they do.

"We are really proud to have played a part in helping them to continue the important life-saving job that they do.”

HIOWAA Partnerships Manager Ray Southam said: “The overwhelming support that we have received from NATS Swanwick has allowed us to respond to patient demand across our region, by adding to our fleet of vehicles.

“Since our first CCTV became operational in 2017, mission numbers have doubled, with May 2019 being the busiest month on record for our life-saving service.”