Air ambulance night landing site operational at Kilmington

PUBLISHED: 07:01 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:18 12 November 2018

The Devon Air Ambulance flying over Axminster.  Picture: KEVIN DOE PHOTOGRAPHY

The Devon Air Ambulance flying over Axminster. Picture: KEVIN DOE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Lights have been installed at the village cricket ground to allow the helicopter to land after dark

Pictured at the cricket ground landing site  are (l to r) parish councillor Chris Bolton, John Mellows, Toby Russell (DAA) and Cllr Mike Collier Picture: CONTRIBUTEDPictured at the cricket ground landing site are (l to r) parish councillor Chris Bolton, John Mellows, Toby Russell (DAA) and Cllr Mike Collier Picture: CONTRIBUTED

A new night landing site for Devon Air Ambulance has become fully operational at Kilmington.

Floodlights have been installed at the village cricket field to enable the helicopter to put down after dark.

The initiative to provide the equipment was led by village resident John Mellows after he read an appeal from the flying medics to extend the areas where they can land until midnight.

He said: “With the swift and enthusiastic reaction from Kilmington Parish Council and our cricket club we got things moving very quickly.

“Community funding was needed to purchase and erect a lighting column with a remote switching system. This allows the LED lighting to be turned on and off by the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) dispatch team, so no-one needs to be on-hand when flying into the village.”

Kilmington Parish Council supported the project together with a grant from East Devon ‘Parishes Together’, a DAA grant from the Bank LIBOR fines, and an anonymous local donor.

Toby Russell, community landing sites development officer said: “The site is well located for us to quickly reach people in the village and it could also help those involved in incidents on the nearby busy A35.

“Our grateful thanks to Kilmington Cricket Club for the use of their outfield for operations ‘during the hours of darkness’ and to Kilmington Parish Council for supporting and driving the project.

“Thanks also to local resident John Mellows who, after reading about our night flying campaign in Helipad magazine, contacted us to offer his help.

“That quickly led to John and I being able to identify a suitable site and the project being adopted locally.”

There are currently around 100 community landing sites across Devon and DAA has a target to expand to a network of 220-250.

Extending flying until midnight every day can make a considerable difference, particularly during winter when daylight hours are limited by longer dark nights.

An Air Ambulance can offer early advanced medical intervention to patients with serious medical conditions and then take them directly by air if required, to the most appropriate hospital best able to treat their injuries or condition.

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