COMMENT: Please help to keep this life-saving service in the air

It’s every parent’s dread - to discover to their horror that their child has been involved in an accident and is seriously injured.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 1:00 am

They have to stand by, helpless as their son or daughter's life rests in the hands of medics who have rushed to the scene. Richard and Claire Copeland know exactly how it feels. Because their son Willoughby, then seven, was out on his scooter with older brother George when he was hit by a car as it crossed the path on London Road, Horndean to get to a pub. After an off-duty nurse who was nearby ran over to help him, it was down to the critical care team from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance to work on Willoughby and stabilise him in order that he could then be taken by road to Southampton General Hospital for specialist treatment. The story has a happy ending in that Willoughby, now nine, has recovered. It's been a long road and he had to have 40 stitches in his head to reattach the scalp, broke his jaw in three places and had 20 stitches in his mouth, plus an operation to have a plate put in the jaw. He also broke his collarbone and was covered in bruises and cuts. But as he gets on with his young life and tries to put this traumatic experience behind him, his grateful parents will never forget what the medics who were quickly at his side did for him. It's why the family decided to tell their story in National Air Ambulance Week, as a thank you and also to highlight how important the service is to the whole community. Claire says: ‘They saved my son’s life that day and I don’t know where we would be without them. You never think about what they do until you need them in a crisis.' But this amazing, highly-skilled team, who are on duty day and night, 365 days a year, to deal with road traffic accidents, sporting accidents, collapses and many other incidents, can only keep going with your help. It costs £15,000 a day to maintain this life-saving service and the Air Ambulance can only fly and save lives if enough money is donated. So we urge our readers to consider this wonderful charity and donate whatever they can afford by going to     Because one day it might be you or your loved ones who need their help. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise