While most will be enjoying family time this Christmas, doctors, dispatchers, pilots and paramedics at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance will be ready to respond to the most severely ill and injured.

Last December, the charity responded to 193 potentially life-saving call-outs, including 19 over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Part of the team who will be working over the festive period is Specialist Paramedic Lead John Gamblin, who has been flying with the Nursling based charity since 2010.

John said: “We've had some pretty horrific Christmas Days in the past with some nasty trauma incidents such as people getting caught out by adverse road conditions.

“It's always tough because people are expecting to spend Christmas Day with their family, and they certainly don't expect it to be the worst day of their lives.”

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Working from the charity’s airbase in Thruxton, the crew do all they can to mark the occasion between call-outs.

“We get into the spirit of things but we're aware that we're at work on Christmas Day, so we at least try to have a good breakfast together and maybe a Christmas dinner if we get the opportunity. We just try and make it as normal a day as possible,” said John.

Day and night, 365 days a year, the team are ready to bring the hospital to patients in need of urgent critical care – whether they’ve had a cardiac arrest or a serious fall. 

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John, along with the rest of the team, is very aware that they can only respond to each patient thanks to support from the public.

He added: “This time of year makes you realise how important family and being part of a community is. We're incredibly grateful, privileged in fact, to be here on Christmas day serving the people in our region who need us.

“Most importantly, we're only able to be there for those patients because of the goodwill of the people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Thank you to everyone who supports us.”

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance has so far responded to more than 1,700 emergency call-outs this year.