Colyton’s air ambulance night landing site now operational

PUBLISHED: 15:02 18 January 2018

The Devon Air Ambulance. Picture: SUBMITTED

The Devon Air Ambulance. Picture: SUBMITTED

Archant

Flying medics can now land at the playing fields after dark thanks to a local fundraising campaign

Devon Air Ambulance can now land at Colyton in the dark – after a local fundraising appeal took off.

Residents chipped in with £3,500 towards the cost of installing lighting equipment at the Peace Memorial Playing Fields.

The new facility was also funded by a grant from the Libor banking fines, through the Air Ambulance Trust (DAT), and numerous public contributions, with members of the public and local organisations rising to the challenge to provide the funding for the life-saving service.

A spokeswoman for the parish council said they were delighted that the night landing site is now operational, enabling the helicopter crews to deliver an emergency service after the hours of darkness.

Councillors have also praised all those who contributed and thanked the trustees of the Reece Strawbridge Centre who will be supplying the power for the lighting column from their building.

Toby Russell, from Devon Air Ambulance, said: “We are very pleased to see the new night landing site operational in Colyton - the latest in a growing number of such sites in East Devon.

“We’d like to thank all those who have supported the project – the trustees of the Reece Strawbridge Centre, Colyton Parish Council, Colyton Football Club and the many local people who have got involved. What a great community effort.

“We hope we won’t have to use the site, but at least now we can reach patients in Colyton until midnight every day and later when we extend the service in the future.”

The landing lights are remotely operated by the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services team.

There are currently 38 fully operational night landing sites up and running, with more than 130 more in development throughout Devon.

Sites are pre-surveyed, with lighting installed for both safety and practical reasons – to illuminate the area during landing and take-off and to help paramedics when assessing and loading a patient into the aircraft. The typical cost of installing the equipment is around £6,000.

Mr Russell added that communities have very much taken ownership of developing their own landing sites, not only part-funding them but also undertaking to ensure they are kept in good order.

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