The Devon Air Ambulance landed in our little village of Beer three times in 2017. When you think we only have 1,300 people living here I think that’s quite a high number. Twice it was needed for locals and once for a tourist who had injured themselves. Given that our nearest hospital – The Royal Devon in Exeter is a good 45 minute drive away, the Air Ambulance is very important for us.
Beer Parish Council invited all the locals to a talk last month from the Air Ambulance about establishing a night landing site. Seaton and Colyton are also in the process of having one. To set one up costs about £6,000 with a government grant covering half the money, so our village has to raise the other £3,000. Our night landing site is going to be at Beer Football Club and the majority of the expense is for installing flood lights so that the team can land safely.
As I would have expected we’ve gone into overdrive and already have achieved a great sum but more is needed. We’re doing what we do best – a quiz night in Osborne’s wine bar on the 5th July and a bingo night in the Mariner’s Hall on the 6th July with some fantastic raffle prizes. We’ve also set up a Facebook page to publicise the fund raising.
The wonderful thing about the Air Ambulance is that you aren’t just taken to the hospital in Exeter. We learnt from the talk that you are taken to the hospital that is best suited to your needs. For example, if you have a problem with your heart you might be taken to Derriford in Plymouth to their heart surgeons, or a child might be taken to the Bristol Children’s Hospital, where incidentally my cousin works. All direct as the crow (or ambulance) flies and a lot quicker than by road!
In 2017 these angels in the sky attended to 990 patients, 12% of which were children. Their combined flying time was 720 hours and interestingly 23% of patients were known to live outside of Devon. This is a vital service for locals and our visitors and I know we’ll make that £3,000 and probably more with the focus and effort that Beer residents put in.
Such a worthwhile cause – they are there when it maters most.