MORE than 250 people filled the Winchester Science Centre to mark the good work of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. 

Dedicated supporters who keep the charity’s doctors, dispatchers, pilots and paramedics responding to the most critically ill and seriously injured people across the region, 365 days a year, gathered on Thursday, May 9 to celebrate the enormous difference their support makes to lives across the region.  

Lives such as Dale Muffett, who spoke on the night about his experience of needing the life-saving skills of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance when he was hit by a car while out jogging in Portsmouth on New Year’s Day 2021.  

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Andover Advertiser: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance's Evening of Celebration at Winchester Science Centre

Dale needed an emergency pre-hospital blood transfusion, a surgical chest procedure (thoracostomy) to relieve pressure and reinflate his collapsed lung and was given an anaesthetic to be artificially ventilated. Dale was seconds from dying and is now paralysed from the waist down.  

He said: “No one knows who is going to end up needing the air ambulance – today, tomorrow or the next day. It could be any one of us. It’s such a vital service. And it’s not just myself who is eternally grateful, it’s my friends and family, too. We all just owe them so much.” 

The audience also saw first-hand the vital role that teamwork plays between the air ambulance and road ambulance crews from South Central Ambulance Service, as the two organisations played out a realistic demonstration of their considered steps they take when treating a severely injured patient. 

Keith Wilson, director of income and engagement said: “Our Evening of Celebration event gives us a unique opportunity to thank hundreds of our supporters for all they have done and continue to do to support our lifesaving charity.

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Andover Advertiser: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance's Evening of Celebration at Winchester Science Centre

"Between them they have saved countless lives, ensuring friends and families remain together for many years to come. Thanks to their passion and dedication for our cause, they will no doubt go on to save many more lives in future.” 

Nearly £4,000 was raised on the night through donations and raffle tickets.  

Thanks to donations from its supporters, the charity continues to evolve and respond to an ever-increasing number of incidents, with more than 750 calls for help this year – a 24 per cent increase on the same period last year.

This is largely owing to extra crews and resources out on the road, funded entirely by the public.