The Yorkshire Air Ambulance has been boosted by £1 million in funding from government fines on the UK’s banks towards a new helicopter.
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, pledged the money whilst visiting the North Yorkshire based charity with Yorkshire and England batsman Geoffrey Boycott.
Peter Sunderland, Chairman of Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said the money was ‘hugely welcome’ and would help go towards replacing their oldest MD902 Explorer.
He said: “We have been working hard over the last few years to build our reserves, to ensure that when the time is right, we will be able to provide the people of Yorkshire with a brand new, state of the art helicopter with the latest medical equipment and facilities.
“This generous donation from the Chancellor will put us in an ideal position to consolidate and look at the options which will ensure the continuation of this life-saving service for the next 25 years.
“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is funded primarily through voluntary donations but we must express our sincere thanks to the government who recently granted each of the 20 Air Ambulances across the UK £250,000 from the Libor fund.”
The funding bring the total given to air ambulances across the county to more than £10 million in the past year.
It is also part of more than £500 million from banking fines pledged to support military good causes and emergency services charities since 2012.
The Chancellor said: “It’s a brilliant charity that saves lives across Yorkshire, a county very much at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.
“This funding – and the £10 million the government has donated to Air Ambulances across the country in the past year – comes from fines levied on banks, and it’s only right that funds from those who have demonstrated the worst values should go to those, like the dedicated and skilled air ambulance crews and their supporters who demonstrate the best of British values on a daily basis.”
The charity currently has two air ambulances which operate from The Nostell Priory Estate near Wakefield and the RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk, and together both cover the entire region.
The charity relies on £12,000 a day to keep both helicopters maintained and in the air and Geoffrey Boycott explained much of their support comes from those they have helped or a relative.
He said: “ Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a much needed charity servicing the 5 million of us here in ‘God’s own country’.
“The truth is that none of us know when we, or a loved one, may have a life or death situation and need their assistance.
“We recently managed to raise over £34,000 for the charity at a fundraising dinner. But we also wanted to raise awareness that contrary to public belief our air ambulance needs help from the residents it services to keep going.
“I also wrote to the Chancellor and today is a fantastic response to that letter. I know the people of Yorkshire will join in with us to say a very big thank you.”