AN AIR ambulance charity that saves lives across Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire is appealing for help in raising vital funds needed to buy their new air base.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) was given the green light to move from Filton to Almondsbury in 2016, as their current site near the airfield no longer meets the needs of the growing service.

The project, which received considerable support from current landlords BAE Systems, will see the site shared with the National Police Air Service (NPAS) and an expected move in date before the end of the year.

BAE Systems now told the charity they can have opportunity to buy the new base once it’s completed – at a significantly lower price than it cost them to buy the land and build the facilities – thus providing GWAAC with stability for the foreseeable future.

Watch: Senior Pilot Jim Green talks about the importance of the charity to our reporter Ross Arnott.

Emma Carter, the Head of Marketing and Fundraising for the charity, also stated the 'importance' of public support in keeping the charity going.

"I make sure that we receive the £3 million that we need every year to function," she said.

"However that isn't possible without the support of the public. We are completely charity funded, it is thanks to the generosity of the community that we are able to fly. 

"Thousands of people are affected by the work that the charity does, and so many people owe a lot to the fantastic work of the pilots and the doctors here.

"We always say that together we save lives. We couldn't do what we do without people who work tirelessly to raise money for us. We are grateful but we also want to be able to continue the good work that we do."

GWAAC’s lead doctor Matt Thomas said: “It is so important to my colleagues and I, as well as all of our patients and their families, that we can keep doing the work that we do every day.

“Our current hangar in Filton dates to before the First World War! It is cold and damp, and no longer fit for purpose.

“A new home for our helicopter and a more welcoming place to work every day is very exciting, and really means that GWAAC will be here to stay, providing our vital service for every single person across our region.

“As a charity-funded air ambulance, we rely on the generosity of our supporters, and now we need your help to make this dream a reality.”

The charity, which covers South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and surrounding areas, receives no day-to-day funding from the Government or National Lottery, but attends on average five incidents every day, providing critical care at the scene of an accident or medical emergency.

The new air base will cost GWAAC £2million to buy, with the charity calling on the public to help them raise £1million towards this, plus £250,000 to fully kit the site out – this is on top of the £3million needed by GWAAC each year to stay operational.

Chief executive Anna Perry says: “The chance to Buy Our Base is an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity for GWAAC.

“If the charity owns our base, instead of leasing it, it will provide much-needed stability for our operations, enabling our crew to work in an environment which reflects the importance of their work.

“We’re here for you, local people from across our region, and it’s thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we are able to provide this life-saving service.

“Every penny counts, and we’re asking the public to support us in the opportunity to Buy Our Base, in any way that you can!”

To find out more and donate to the Buy Our Base appeal visit