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24 miles in 24 hours for Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Wiltshire Air Ambulance pilots and paramedics will be running 24 miles in 24 hours at the end of July to raise vital funds for blood products used during emergencies.

Critical care paramedics Ben Abbott and Sophie Holt alongside Pilot Elvis Costello at the charity’s airbase, alongside the Bell 429 helicopter.

The aircrew will be running across the county of Wiltshire and in Bath, areas which Wiltshire Air Ambulance carries out its lifesaving service up to 19 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Earlier in 2021 the team managed to cycle 1,191 miles over seven days to raise £7,800 for vital MEQU °M Blood Warmer unit and accessories.

However, those blood warmers are being used more than ever, with usage of blood products up 66% during 2021 when compared with last year’s figures.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance began carrying packed red blood cells in 2015 and enhanced the blood products with plasma (LyoPlas) in 2019. The red blood cells help carry oxygen around the body and replace blood lost by patients, with the LyoPlas (freeze dried in powder form) containing essential clotting factors to stop bleeding.

Now the charity’s aircrew are gearing up for another challenge in a bid to raise £7,500, enough to fund blood products for the remainder of 2021.

They plan to run a mile every hour during a 24-hour period, taking in many towns and cities across Wiltshire and in Bath.

They will incorporate local businesses who support Wiltshire Air Ambulance, including Qinetiq at Boscombe Down, Octavian Wines in Corsham, Salisbury Racecourse and Swindon Town Football Club, plus Hall & Woodhouse pubs in Swindon (Wichelstowe) and Melksham (Milk Churn).

Other landmarks on their planned route for the challenge include Stonehenge, Castle Coombe race circuit, Longleat Center Parcs, Longleat House, Bowood House in Calne and Bath Rugby.

The crew have also been supported by Rygor Commercials, who have loaned them a minivan for the duration of the challenge, with Asda at Melksham providing some food and refreshments to keep them going.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance pilot Elvis Costello and critical care paramedics Ben Abbott and Sophie Holt will be taking on the mammoth challenge.

The trio aim to complete it over a 24-hour period, starting from 8am on 30 July 2021 and aim to raise £7,500 – to fund red blood cells and LyoPlas for rest of the year.

Pilot Elvis said: “It’s an idea we discussed in the crew room about maybe running a mile every hour at the airbase, but then it just developed from there.

“We discussed wanting other people to be involved and especially those who have supported our charity in the past and plan to do so in the future.

“The response we’ve had from local businesses and the public from across Wiltshire and Bath has been tremendous and we can’t thank them enough. We just can’t wait to get going now.”

Critical care paramedic Sophie said: “Being able to administer blood products to a patient in the community can mean the difference between them surviving their journey to hospital or not.

“Raising money during this challenge really will allow us to continue to provide this lifesaving treatment to the ever-increasing number of time critical patients we see.”

You can help kick-start their fundraising by donating via their Just Giving page here. Alternatively, text BLOOD to 70480 to donate £10 to the challenge. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message.

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