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Olympics heroes back ambulance
THREE Team GB equestrian champions have been appointed as ambassadors for the Midlands Air Ambulance.
Lee Pearson, Carl Hester and Nick Skelton, who all struck gold at London 2012, will support the charity with its national fund-raising and spread awareness to the equestrian and equine worlds.
Carl and Lee visited the charity’s operational headquarters at Stren-sham air base yesterday to meet staff, tour the facilities and discover how it provides a vital emergency service to the equine community.
Also in attendance were Claire Dyson of Claire Dyson Racing, based in Cleeve Prior, Evesham, and Jo Challens of the Ledbury Hunt.
Claire was representing Charlotte Cole, of Elgar Crescent, Droitwich, who died, aged 23, after a fall while training at a Worcestershire racing yard two years ago.
Jo was airlifted after her horse rolled on her after falling at a cross country jump about a year ago.
The charity is close to the riders’ hearts, with international show jum-per Nick Skelton requiring their help after breaking his neck in two places after a fall at a show in 2000. Mr Skelton, who believes he owes his life and Olympic success to the air ambulance service, said: “Without that air ambulance, I doubt whether I would have come through the accident without a paralysis.”
Lee Pearson, also airlifted after a fall added: “The riding community in particular greatly values the air ambulance service, they are doing a wonderful job.”
Last year the charity attended 158 equestrian related emergencies from riders who suffered serious injuries as a result of falls from their horses.
If a patient reaches hospital within 60 minutes of injury, their chances of survival are dramatically increased and the maximum flying time to hospital from anywhere in the five counties the charity’s three helicopters serve is less than 15 minutes.
Equestrian incidents account for eight per cent of all call-outs since the charity’s launch in 1991, making the sport the fourth highest cause.
Road traffic accidents account for 50 per cent of all call-outs, followed by medical emergencies and general falls.
Of the 36,547 call-outs it has received, 2,936 were equestrian. The charity answers an average of 15 calls per month from injured riders.