Keeping vital service in the air

Speaker David Hebden, an East Yorkshire Community Fundraiser for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, arriving at the meeting of Pocklington Probus Club
Speaker David Hebden, an East Yorkshire Community Fundraiser for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, arriving at the meeting of Pocklington Probus Club

The Pocklington Probus Club held a meeting in the Freemasons’ Hall where chairman Graham Ball presented a club badge to new member Phillip Driscoll.

After a short business meeting, Mike Denham introduced David Hebden, an East Yorkshire community fundraiser for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, an independent charity.

Graham Ball takes over the chains as club chairman

Graham Ball takes over the chains as club chairman

David is a volunteer, supports fundraisers and recently walked across the Humber Bridge dressed as a helicopter. He made it clear that YAA do not door knock, cold call or operate chugging in town centres.

We heard about their headquarters in Cayley House at Elland and the dedicated air desk at Nostell Estate, which was relocated from Leeds Bradford Airport in 2013, with back up at Topcliffe.

At present, the two helicopters fly from daylight until dusk with one pilot, two paramedics and up to two passengers. All the pilots are ex-military.

You can see them in action in the television series Helicopter Heroes, which features the day-to-day work of the two helicopters attending life-saving missions.

Since it commenced in East Yorkshire, the service has been called to 322 incidents and treated 274 patients.

David has been able to meet families of those rescued and it is the admiration for the work of the YAA which comes across as they realise the lives that have been saved by the speed of operation in travelling to the nearest trauma centre at speeds of up to 160 miles per hour. The YAA is looking forward to having a new helicopter which will enable night flights and will cost £5m, with up to £1m to be spent on medical facilities on board. It costs of £12,000 per day to keep the two helicopters in the air and the average cost of a mission is £3,650.

After the talk, David showed a video of the paramedics, who have been seconded from the ambulance service, being trained and the intensive regime that they are put through.

The talk and video was thoroughly enjoyed by all members. The vote of thanks was given by Paul Taylor.