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Hammond gets into top gear for Midlands Air Ambulance
A TOP Gear presenter whose life was saved when he was airlifted to hospital by an air ambulance is to become an ambassador for the Midlands branch of the charity.
While filming the BBC show in 2006, Richard Hammond’s 370mph jet-powered Vampire Dragster veered off the track, flipped over several times and crash on to grass, leaving him with a significant brain injury.
Since then, he and his wife, columnist Mindy Hammond, have campaigned for the charity which also airlifted Mrs Hammond’s godson to Birmingham Children’s Hospital after a life-threatening horse accident.
Mr Hammond said he was alive today because of the speed of the helicopter paramedics.
He said: “When you’re critically ill or badly injured as a result of an accident, speed is the essence of saving lives. The ‘Golden Hour’ as it is often referred to, is the critical period in saving a life. The air ambulance saved my life by airlifting me from a wrecked jet-car to intensive care in just 15 minutes. I’m alive today thanks to its crew.”
His wife also praised the air ambulance crew for getting her husband to hospital so quickly after the near-300mph crash.
She said: “There is little doubt in my mind that without the incredible life-saving work of the air ambulance Richard would not be here today. Without the rapid emergency assistance and medical attention, I doubt whether he would have come through the accident alive or without a long-term brain injury.
“I like many other individuals, owe a debt of gratitude to the tireless work of the crews, pilots and medical staff.”
The couple join stars including professional rugby players Mike Tindall and Andy Goode, London 2012 equestrian gold medallists Carl Hester, Nick Skelton and 10-times Paralympian gold medallist Lee Pearson, Only Fools and Horses actor and writer John Challis and Harry Potter actor James Phelps as ambassadors.
Hanna Sebright, CEO of the charity, said: “We are delighted that both Richard and Mindy have agreed to become ambassadors and support the valuable life-saving work that we as a charity provide to the public 365 days every year.
“I, like many other people, was horrified to hear of Richard’s crash in 2006 and the events that unfolded that day across the news. Richard and Mindy have experienced firsthand the life-saving work of the air ambulance. The profile and awareness that they can bring to the Mid-lands Air Ambulance charity is invaluable.”
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