A SERVICE which saves countless lives every year has been handed a massive cash boost.

Red Funnel has presented £55,000 to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA), which is the culmination of all the fundraising efforts made by the company last year.

Each year, Red Funnel selects a charity to support, with HIOWAA selected following thousands of votes from members of the public.

Among the ways of raising money have been dress down Fridays, a family fun day at Thruxton Motorsport Centre and a dance challenge.

Kevin George, CEO of Red Funnel, said: “We are really proud to have helped raise £55,000 for such an important service for the island and all of Hampshire alike.

“The HIOWAA crew does an outstanding job and we are so grateful to all our generous customers who took the time to donate and help support the tremendous, life-saving work they do.

“We can’t thank our customers enough for supporting our staff as they relentlessly fundraised on behalf of HIOWAA throughout the year.”

The air ambulance exists to bring immediate, lifesaving critical care to patients when they need it most.

The helicopter flies 365 days a year, both day and night, 19 hours a day, providing an efficient, prompt response to road traffic collisions, sporting accidents, collapses and many other incidents throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Ray Southam, of HIOWAA, said: “We’re greatly honoured to have been Red Funnel’s charity of the year for 2017 and the amount of money that has been raised is fantastic

"It has been great to work with Red Funnel and I would like to thank everyone for their contribution.”