New Yorkshire Air Ambulance

Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -2The New Airbus H145 Yorkshire Air Ambulance


The invitation to see the brand new and latest Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) to the County on Tuesday 7th June was both a delight and an honour. The Rotary District Governor Hazel Haas and I were invited to represent all the individual Rotarians and the 79 clubs across Rotary District 1040 who have donated funds to the YAA over the last few years.

The venue for the event was the Nostell Air Support Unit, which is actually part of the Nostell Priory Estate, near Wakefield. The facility was apparently donated by Lord St Oswald and the ongoing lease is described as a ‘peppercorn rent’.

Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -4

Rotary District 1040 – A Principal Supporter of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance

The Rotary emblem is prominently displayed along with 20 organisations in the YAA head quarters as a ‘Principle Supporter’ and the new Air Ambulance displays two Rotary logos, one on either side of the ‘clam shell’ doors at the back of the aircraft. Many Rotary clubs make individual donations directly to the YAA and unfortunately we don’t actually know the total benefit the Air Ambulance received during the last Rotary year. (A good example, if any were needed, for the database that is Rotary Club Central).
Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -3Rotary Logo displayed with great pride

The YAA Chairman Peter Sunderland followed Brian Chapman’s welcome and introduction.  He said that each air ambulance is called out 3 or 4 times a day, every day of every week and that it is not part of the NHS. The £12,000 per day running costs are funded entirely from donations, from small individual donations to large corporate donors. Peter believes that the people of Yorkshire are very proud of the Air Ambulance service and they feel ‘a high degree of ownership’ towards the service. He was very pleased to report that the cost of administering the charity was just 15% of the total income, less than some other comparable services.

The new Air Ambulance

The Airbus H145 helicopter so proudly displayed was built to YAA exact specifications.  The helicopter was paid for in full and a major contribution towards the cost was from the government.  This contribution was made after Chancellor George Osborne received a letter from Geoffrey Boycott suggesting that a share of the fines levied against the Banks to go towards a new Air Ambulance in the County of Yorkshire. Peter Sunderland spoke of his amazement seeing the sum of £1m showing on the account via a BACS transfer from H.M. Government!

On seeing the new aircraft for the first time, one lady was heard to remark, “I wonder how many lives that will save?” The helicopter it will replace saved 4,893 lives and this number will continue to increase until the new aircraft is fitted out and brought into service later in the year (2016).

The new aircraft will have increased manoeuvrability due to an enclosed and protected tail fan, it has a top speed of 160 mph and can travel two hours thirty minutes without refuelling; over one hour longer than the current model.

The interior of the Air Ambulance

 The new aircraft is larger than the current model with the benefit of being able to transfer through to the cabin and the treatment area. As well as the stretcher there are two forward facing seats at the side and one backward facing seat at the head end of the stretcher to facilitate life saving / sustaining treatment whilst in flight. Additional medical equipment will include cardiac machines and an incubating and ventilation system, all of which can be administered by qualified Doctors who are now part of the YAA team.

Looking Forward
It is an ambition of the YAA to be able to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Such a service will increase costs by some 30% and require additional equipment such as night vision helmets at a cost of £20,000 each (they require 9 helmets!). In addition, the four regional trauma centres; Middlesbrough, Hull, Sheffield and Leeds will have to be fully lit 24 hours a day, which is not currently the case.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance covers 4 million square acres of Yorkshire and includes over 5 million people. 4.4 million of those are adults and if each adult paid just £1 each that would almost cover the annual running cost of one Air Ambulance.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a remarkable service.  If you were that patient, if that person was your relative or if you were at the scene of an incident, it would give you tremendous reassurance when a helicopter appeared from out of the sky.  On board there will be a team of qualified and very professional caring people – who have just one primary objective;- to help save your life.

Air Ambulance 7.6.16 -1A proud day for Rotary District Governor Hazel Haas

The most organised Rotary Club in 1040?

NorthAllerton INVITE 2017

On Thursday 14th April 2016 I received what must be the longest notice ever for an event. From the moment I received the email to the date of the event I have exactly 19 months, 3 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes to prepare for the Rotary Club of Northallerton’s Charter evening!

Even though I knew full well that no other club made contact about dates for my year in office starting July 2017; I still went to check my diary! How ridiculous was that? No one plans that far ahead do they? (Apart from RC of Northallerton.)

So, to the all important question, “is the the Rotary Club of Northallerton the most organised club in Rotary District 1040, or even RIBI?”

I wonder if Secretary Les Crelling has written his Christmas cards yet?!


Skipton Craven Charter Dinner.

Congratulations to the Rotary Club of Skipton Craven on a great night celebrating their 28th Charter. At £20 a ticket, it must be one of the best value Charters in the District, no wonder over 80 people turned up with visitors from 12 other clubs.  A sizeable Fish Platter to start, perfectly cooked Braised Steak in shallot and red wine sauce with generous amounts of green vegetables and potatoes, followed by a choice of warm sweets with either custard, cream or ice cream. I have to confess to not having a pudding but judging by the reduction in the noise level, everybody definitely enjoyed them.

Just when I was wondering about sneaking off home to nurse a very contented tummy, President Elect George Garland stood up and gave what must be the best Toast to RI and RIBI I have ever heard, a point not missed by District Governor Hazel. If that was what the ‘warm up’ speaker could do, I had to stay and listen to the rest of them. I did not regret it; DG Hazel and President John Utley were a perfect double act and John Spencer, the Ex England Rugby Union Captain rounded off the evening perfectly with a number of thought provoking, interesting and humorous stories. One thing that John Spencer did say that will remain with me, “The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity”. Now that must be a candidate for a Rotary International theme for the year. I have no idea how these things work, but does anybody think we should try and get it considered for a Rotary International theme in the future?

Thanks again to President John and everyone who made me and all the guests feel so welcome.

Finally, if anybody sees a man in a kilt wondering around Skipton with confused look on his face, tell Mark Stewart-Clarke he’s “got the wrong night, Skipton Craven Charter was on Tuesday 12th April!”

RobertSkipton Craven Menu card 12.4.16


blog 2

This is my second blog. I’m still finding my way around the system. Hopefully the blogs will improve as I get more proficient. In the meantime can I recommend the web site of my Club, The Rotary Club of Bradford West?

Also we have a Facebook page which you may find to be of interest

Finally can I tell you about our Charity Auction? You will find a list of all the lots and some photographs on our web site.


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