To mark the launch of a new Charity of the Year partnership between Air Ambulances UK and the Government’s Valuation Office Agency, on 13 July employee Adrian Hirst made an emotional visit to meet the team from Yorkshire Air Ambulance that saved his life following a horrific motorbike accident in which he was critically injured last year.

The VOA’s more than 3,000 employees overwhelmingly voted for Air Ambulances UK to be its Charity of the Year following Adrian’s accident near York in March 2017. The accident left him at the roadside with life-threatening injuries including a severed spinal cord, broken pelvis, hip, neck, shoulder, wrist and ribs as well as a bleed on his brain.

In such critical circumstances, there is not always time to get a patient to the hospital. Getting the hospital to a patient is sometimes the only way to help prevent loss of life at the scene. That is when the speed and skills of one of the UK’s 21 local air ambulance charities can be the only way to save a life. The aviation excellence of the helicopter pilots and pre-hospital advanced medical capabilities of the Critical Care Teams are global-leading.

On 11th March last year it was Paramedics Lisa Dempster, Lee Greenwood and pilot Captain Chris Attril forming and Critical Care Team from Yorkshire Air Ambulance who flew to Adrian and performed the hospital-level treatment on him which saved his life. The Team’s advanced life-saving treatment continued on-board the rapid helicopter transfer to hospital, effectively saving his life a second time.

Says Adrian: ” If it wasn’t for the skill and dedication of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance team, I’m sure I wouldn’t be here today. They saved my life at the scene of my accident and then whisked me off to Leeds General Infirmary. During the 10-minute flight I slipped into a coma as my lungs collapsed, and so every second saved by the speed of the helicopter transfer, the equipment on-board and the skills of the paramedics were all vital as my life hung in the balance.”

The Charity of the Year partnership will see VOA employees raise funds to help the collective life-saving work of the nation’s air ambulance charities through an exciting range of air-themed and other challenge events, office and social activities, payroll giving and much more.

VOA senior executives Thomas Lindie, Operations Director, and David Nicholls, Head of People and Advisory Services, accompanied Adrian to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Airbase visit at Nostell Priory near Wakefield. Adrian’s wife Karen, who was riding pillion and badly injured in the accident, also attended.

Thomas Lindie says: “It’s been an absolute privilege to attend today’s launch of the charity partnership between the VOA and Air Ambulances UK. We’ve all seen, heard or read of the life-saving services provided by air ambulances, but to attend this event with Adrian today really brings home just what an amazing service this is.”

Says Abby Barmby, Director of Marketing & Communications of Yorkshire Air Ambulance: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome both Adrian and Karen to our Nostell Airbase to meet Lisa, who was one of the paramedics that saved Adrian in March last year.  We are very humbled that the VOA have now chosen to support the work of local air ambulance charities throughout the UK, including Yorkshire Air Ambulance, through their national partnership with Air Ambulances UK. We were delighted to welcome everyone to Nostell to launch the partnership today.”

Adds Adrian: “I remained in a coma for a month and am now in a wheelchair. However, I am recovering well from all my other injuries.Yorkshire Air Ambulance saved my life and I hope the national partnership between Air Ambulances UK and the Valuation Office Agency can help save many more right across the UK.”

Nikki Wright, Air Ambulances UK Head of Fundraising and Communications, says: “Life-threatening injuries or a medical emergency can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. That’s why being here today with Adrian is such poignant testament to how important it is to support all the UK’s local air ambulance charities. We are incredibly grateful to everyone at the Valuation Office Agency for raising funds throughout their offices around the country, helping to ensure a world-class life-saving service for our nation.”