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Supporting the Cornwall Air Ambulance New Heli Appeal

Established in 1987, Cornwall Air Ambulance is one of the county’s most vital charities, completing over 800 missions every year, bringing essential emergency medical treatment to patients across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The charity has committed to raising £2.5 million by April 2020 to secure a bigger, faster helicopter for Cornwall. In 2018 Talland Bay Hotel became the charity’s first Tourism Business Supporter and we’ve set ourselves a target of raising £50,000 towards the New Heli Appeal.

Paula Martin has been the Chief Executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust since 2008. We chat to her to find out how the New Heli Appeal is progressing and why it’s so important for visitors and tourism business to be involved...


What service do you provide and why is it needed in Cornwall?

Our helicopters provide emergency medical services across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The paramedic aircrew can deliver pre-hospital critical care at the scene of an incident and can quickly fly patients to specialist hospital units for further treatment.

Cornwall is 100-miles long and both its geography – with remote rural and coastal areas – and transport logistics are particularly challenging. The road network simply can’t support rapid transport, especially in the summer when we often see traffic jams on the main roads. The nearest major trauma hospital is in the next county at Plymouth and we have just one trauma unit at Treliske in the centre of the county.

When a patient is seriously sick or injured the 45-minute triage window is critical. In many cases you want treatment to have already started and for the doctors to have the medical information in advance of the patient reaching hospital, our teams can provide both.


How is the Cornwall Air Ambulance funded?

The service is funded predominately by public donations, which is why the support of local businesses and communities is so important. Many people presume we’re part of the NHS but apart from some of the salaries of the paramedics being covered by them we’re entirely separate. All of the advanced medical equipment, operations, helicopters themselves and the cost of flying the missions has to be funded by the charity.


Why should visitors to Cornwall and tourism businesses support the appeal?

Each year, around 20 per cent of airlifted patients are tourists.

Cornwall is an incredibly popular holiday destination. Our visitors love hiking in the beautiful, remote spots that Cornwall is blessed with. The county also has a growing reputation for extreme sports. Ultimately with the volume of visitors the county receives it’s inevitable that the number of incidents will increase.

The new generation of air ambulance helicopter is much-needed and will serve the communities of Cornwall for the next 20 years, be they locals or visitors.


How much have you raised so far?

We’ve already raised over £1 million. This year is a massive year as we want the new helicopter to be operational by April 2020 so need to raise the remainder by the end of 2019. We’re asking everyone who loves Cornwall, who holidays, lives or works here to help make this fantastic thing happen.


You recently ran a fundraising event in London, why there?

There are very strong connections between London and Cornwall, business people who commute by train or plane, Cornish people who’ve moved to London, people from London who love to come to Cornwall on holiday. We wanted to harness the power of the Cornish communities in the City.

We had a fantastic response and have more events planned, including a special gala dinner. (Tickets are guaranteed to sell out fast for this, contact the Cornwall Air Ambulance team for more details.)


Richard and Judy are appeal ambassadors, how did that come about?

One of the Cornwall Air Ambulance board trustees is a neighbour of theirs and approached them on our behalf. They’ve been great advocates, even visiting our headquarters to meet members of the team.

Richard has been particularly enthusiastic, giving his time to present at our awards last November and raising the profile of the Air Ambulance on primetime TV recently.


Tell us about the special event you’re hosting at Talland Bay Hotel in April...

Kevin and the team at Talland Bay Hotel were the driving force behind launching our tourism sector business-to-business campaign. They’re hosting an exclusive auction lunch with Richard Madeley on 27th April, which is by invitation only.


How can visitors to Cornwall help with the Appeal?

Holidaymakers can check whether their accommodation provider is on board and inviting guests to make donations. They should also look out for collection tins across the county in petrol stations, pubs, ice cream shops. Or simply visit the Cornwall Air Ambulance website to make a donation.

Dr Kevin O’Sullivan, owner of Talland Bay Hotel and an appeal board member says: “If every one of the annual five million visitors to Cornwall made a donation of just 30 pence this year we would reach the target”.

To find out more about Cornwall Air Ambulance and getting involved visit their website.