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Thursday 01 November 2012 Updated: 05/11 16:40
DURAN Duran star Simon Le Bon launched the Children’s Air Ambulance on Wednesday.
The dad of three, who is a patron of the charity, flew into the helicopter's base at Coventry Airport before visiting one of its fund-raising charity shops in Warwick.
The Children's Air Ambulance will transfer critically ill children from general hospitals to intensive care units across England and Wales or help move specialist teams to give children lifesaving treatment and care.
Mr Le Bon said: "This is a fantastic new service that is desperately needed throughout the UK because each year, thousands of seriously ill children need urgent care at specialist hospitals. "However, at the moment, they can face long road journeys, which could be detrimental to getting the lifesaving help they need.
"This service relies completely on charitable donations from the general public. It is my intention to do all I can to raise the profile of TCAA and to help raise the money that is so crucial to keeping the service running."
The service needs a further £545,000 before it can fly its first mission with £134,000 required per month to maintain the service.
This money will be spent training staff and kitting out the helicopter to launch the country’s first dedicated air ambulance service for critically ill children and babies.
Andy Williamson, chief executive of The Air Ambulance Service, said: "It’s a hugely exciting day for us.
"We have the helicopter, the pilots and the team and we’re ready to go – our focus now is to secure the funds we need to get off the ground.
"The organisation is funded solely through the generous donations received from the public and vital support from corporate sponsors - without any Government or National Lottery funding - so we’re urging the country to get behind the service to help us reach our £545,000 target."
The Children’s Air Ambulance will operate under the umbrella of The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS), which runs the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance.
To find out how you can donate log onto thechildrensairambulance.org.uk or contact The Air Ambulance Service on 08454 130 999.
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