National Air Ambulance Week

Last month, air ambulance charities across the country appealed to the public to celebrate the work of local air ambulances and promote awareness of the services they provide. Running from 22–28 September, National Air Ambulance Week is a national campaign introduced by the Association of Air Ambulances, which gives the air ambulance community a national voice and an opportunity to promote the work that they do at a local level (Association of Air Ambulances, 2014).

Last year’s campaign saw notable exposure as a result of a celebrity video montage which featured 17 celebrities and sports personalities saying the words: ‘I support my local air ambulance, do you?’ As part of the initiative for 2014, local charites have turned to the general public and asked them to produce a short video quoting the same words and place it on their social media feed. To increase the number of participants in the campaign, those producing videos were asked to use the tag #NAAW2014 and to nominate three individuals to also upload a video.

Hanna Sebright, chief executive for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, said: ‘National Air Ambulance Week has now become a regular feature on people’s calendars and there are so many different ways that people can get involved. The creation of a video and donating via text is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate your support of our vital life-saving charity, so we are looking forward to seeing how the public respond’ (Midlands Air Ambulance, 2014).

Other campaigns carried out to raise awareness during the week include London’s Air Ambulance having Batman on work experience, as documented in a rather entertaining blog (London’s Air Ambulance, 2014), while Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust asked the people of Essex and Hertfordshire to get colourful and ‘Go Yellow’ to raise funds for Essex Air Ambulance’s yellow helicopter, and ‘Go Red’ for Herts Air Ambulance’s red helicopter. Sabi Blyth, Essex Air Ambulance senior fundraising coordinator, said:

‘We really want people to have fun with this, a ‘selfie video’ is probably one of the easiest ways of getting involved and we look forward to seeing what crazy yellow-themed activities people are prepared to do (Essex Air Ambulance, 2014).

Further support has come from celebrities, with videos from UB40 frontman Ali Campbell, Men Behaving Badly actor Martin Clunes, and Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis, appearing online.

Air ambulance charities in the UK generate £96.7 million a year, operate 36 helicopters, and have a volunteer network of over 2 500 people. With many charities investing funds to expand their operations to provide night Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) missions or placing investment into the advanced education and training of their paramedics and doctors, the need for continued support for air ambulances has never been greater.


Association of Air Ambulances (2014) National Air Ambulance Week 2014. (accessed 29 September 2014)

Essex Air Ambulance (2014) Life-saving charity asks for support during national air ambulance week. (accessed 29 September 2014)

London’s Air Ambulance (2014) Batman on work experience. (accessed 29 September 2014)

Midlands Air Ambulance (2014) Get involved with National Air Ambulance Week. (accessed 29 September 2014)

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 3 October 2014.