CREWS from the North West Ambulance Charity (NWAA) were called out 431 times in Cheshire over the last year.

New figures released as part of National Air Ambulance Week show that between September 1, 2018 and August 31, 2019, the charity had completed 2,403 missions across the North West - 431 of these being in Cheshire.

Many of the patients they have under their care receive critical pre-hospital medical care from a crew of advanced paramedics and consultants.

NWAA helicopters can fly at speeds of up to 150mph, saving vital minutes for patients in urgent need of treatment, whether that’s reaching a specialist centre within the region, being attended to at the scene for time-critical conditions such as cardiac arrests, or receiving lifesaving blood transfusions on board.

Andy Duncan, lead helicopter emergency medical service paramedic said: “As our charity grows, we’re always assessing how we can take our interventions further – bringing the hospital to the patient, and saving even more precious minutes while lives hang in the balance.

"It’s why we are so grateful to our supporters, whose generosity allows us to advance the service for the benefit of patients.

"We often reflect as a team that just as some of our patients wouldn’t be here without the charity, neither would we be here without our supporters.”

As a charity NWAA receives no government funding and to maintain the first-class service 365 days a year and relies on public donations and corporate support to keep going.

Chief executive at the charity Heather Arrowsmith said: “This is our 20th year of service, and our 7th year celebrating National Air Ambulance Week, and I am so proud of how far we have come in such a short time.

"Our charity has expanded significantly in recent years, from introducing new clinical practices such as blood on board to the development of our volunteering programme.

"Currently, we must raise £9.5 million a year to continue our service as we are not a recipient of government funding, instead relying on the support of our amazing fundraisers, donors, volunteers and the generosity of people from across the North West.

"I am constantly humbled by the support we receive from our community, and know they are truly appreciative of our service.

“I urge anyone to consider a donation to their local air ambulance charity. No matter the amount, you will be helping to save lives, and we, and the patients affected by our service, are truly grateful.”