ABOVE: The charity currently has three AW169 air ambulances in its fleet

Air Ambulance charity Kent Surrey Sussex has purchased its second helicopter, described as a ‘huge milestone’, which was enabled through donations via the Buy it for Life appeal. The ability to buy the asset outright (rather than leasing it) will also save the charity up to half a million pounds a year.

Launched at the beginning of April, the campaign ‘sparked a phenomenal response from people of all ages right across Kent, Surrey Sussex’ notes the charity, which raised its initial £1 million target in just six weeks. The fundraising continues to exceed expectations, currently ‘surpassing an incredible £1.78 million,’ with every extra penny raised being allocated to the helicopter.

Chief Executive David Welch explained that Kent Surrey Sussex has now “secured the future of this lifeline for our communities,” with lifesaving crews able to “get to where they’re urgently needed 24/7, 365 days a year”.

The charity will also save half a million pounds a year in owning the helicopter outright, with Welch continuing: “The cost saving will also enable us to improve and develop our lifesaving service, including being able to fly for longer and in more challenging weather conditions, as well as grow our Patient and Family Aftercare Service and introduce more community-based prevention and education activities”.

Individuals, groups, schools and community groups who donate £100 or more can still benefit from the ‘very rare opportunity’ to have a chosen name included on the side of the helicopter, with limited time left for supporters to ‘take up this unique opportunity and be part of every lifesaving mission’. Contributors have until 28 June to secure their space via this link.