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Bristol Charity Advent Calendar 2019, day 5:  Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

By ellie pipe, Wednesday Dec 4, 2019

The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) team will be working throughout the festive season to provide life-saving treatment across the region.

The crucial service operates 365 days a year and is reliant on charitable donations to keep it flying, bringing the skills and expertise of an in-hospital emergency department straight to the scene of the most critically ill or injured patients.


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When Michelle Child took a fall from her horse, she suffered a brain injury and needed emergency care fast. GWAAC’s critical care team was able to stabilise her and administer a general anaesthetic, before transferring her to Southmead Hospital, the nearest major trauma centre.

Michelle’s mum Sarah said: “If you hadn’t been there to help us it could have been very, very different. Her heart rate was all over the place and she wasn’t breathing properly. It just doesn’t bear thinking about, it’s made a massive difference to our lives.”

Each call out costs an average of £1,750 and the team attends more than five incidents a day on average. 2019 is on track to be the busiest year to date, with more than 1,600 call outs recorded from January to October.

Critical care doctor Matt Campbell said: “Whilst we hope you or your loved ones will never need our services, we want to make sure we are here for you if you do. We’ll be working this Christmas to make sure we can keep more families together for many more Christmases to come.’’

GWAAC has to raise more than £3m every year to continue providing its life-saving service. The charity has launched a Christmas Mission fundraising campaign to help meet this target.

To find out more or to support the mission, visit:

Main photo by Tammy Lynn

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