AN AIR ambulance charity that saves lives in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire is celebrating the arrival of its new helicopter.

The new arrival for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity will allow them to “deliver an enhanced service” to the 2.1million people they serve, the charity has said.

The new EC135 T2+ can hold more fuel and heavier loads, which will allow for a longer flying time of an additional 45 minutes and enable the crew to carry additional equipment if needed.

A more modern version of the EC135 that the charity previously leased, the new chopper comes with with minor upgrades to the controls and comfier seats, also giving the GWAAC crew a more comfortable flying experience.

In addition to the new helicopter, five new members also joined the GWAAC team this week, including new CEO Anna Perry, critical care paramedics Dee Gordon, Jack Kilminster and Mark Kinsella, and new full-time pre-hospital emergency medicine doctor Andrew Holstock.

Speaking of the charity’s new helicopter, GWAAC CEO Anna Perry said: “The distance that the crew travel for jobs has been steadily increasing since we started operating in 2008, and in June we had our longest ever flying time when we attended a job in Pembrokeshire, which involved a total of 4.5 hours in the air.

“In order to do this, we had to refuel twice as we then took the patient to hospital in Birmingham. 

“We are delighted to have received our new helicopter, as it means that we can now deliver our life saving emergency care to people across a much wider area, helping a larger community than ever before.”

John Wood, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST) air operations officer and specialist critical care paramedic for GWAAC added: “Our new crew members are joining a team that deliver the highest level of emergency assistance to the people of our region, and I am very pleased to welcome them on board!”

To find out more about GWAAC and the work that they do, visit the charity’s website –