London Freemasons have today presented London’s Air Ambulance with a cheque for £500,000 at their Investiture Day.
The £500,000 is the final instalment of London Freemasons’ £2 million pledge which enabled the charity to purchase a second helicopter for London.
London's Air Ambulance is now able to fly more days, longer hours, and take its advanced trauma care to more people across the capital thanks to London Freemasons’ support.
In 2015, the single emergency medical helicopter was out of action for the equivalent of 62 days for necessary maintenance. Since the second aircraft became operational in January 2016, the service has only been without helicopter cover for the equivalent of five days.
London Freemasons, which has 40,000 members in 1,350 lodges across the capital has raised the money through personal contributions from members meeting across London.
Metropolitan Grand Master, Sir Michael Snyder said:
“With London’s badly needed second air ambulance now permanently in service, London is a safer place to live, work and travel.
London Freemasons have responded magnificently to the challenge, totally embracing the initiative and allowing us to complete the fundraising in only 18 months rather than the expected 24!
Our members have undertaken all sorts of charity fundraising events from garden parties to bridge walks and running many marathons.
It hasn’t just been our members either, as they have been joined by their families and friends in totally supporting our pledge to support the communities of London with this very special and now completed project.”
London’s Air Ambulance Pilots Capt. Neil Jeffers and Capt. Dave Rolfe and Dr Anne Weaver accepted the cheque on behalf of the charity at a gathering which was attended by Freemasons and their families.
Capt. Neil Jeffers said:
“Operating two helicopters gives us the resilience to ensure we can deliver critical care across the city every day of the year."
The cost of running the 24/7 trauma service is £8.5million a year. The charity’s doctors are seconded from Barts Health NHS Trust, and its paramedics from London Ambulance Service, but all other costs – including running costs, pilots, fire crew, fuel and charity staff are entirely funded by donations.
Charles Newitt, interim CEO of London's Air Ambulance, said:
“The support of London Freemasons has been instrumental in allowing us to acquire a second helicopter and to keep it in the air for the next five years.
“As a result we will be able to reach more patients and save more lives.”