Text by Michael Coleman; photos by Debbie Gregory, DAAT
On 30 May 2018, a small group of MDTEMG members visited the Devon Air Ambulance Trust's Eaglescott Airbase near Ashreigney for a presentation by DAAT staff and volunteers on the work of the charity. It also involved a close look at one of the Trust's two helicopters and its equipment and a detailed description of how the helicopter is operated in its life-saving work.
The visit was at the invitation of DAAT and was in recognition of the tens of thousands of pounds that MDTEMG has contributed to the charity, starting even before the first DAAT helicopter flights began in 1992. As well as fundraisers like MDTEMG, the other visitors (the majority) were either adults or children who had been airlifted by the service, accompanied to Eaglescott by members of their families. MDTEMG's most recent contribution had been the presentation of a cheque to a representative of DAAT in December 2017, marking the 35th anniversary of the founding of MDTEMG, as well as 25 years of flying by DAAT (in which time it has flown 25,000 missions)
Lest we were in any doubt about the financial implications of running the two helicopter service (which has recently also begun flying after dark), all of which is funded from voluntary contributions, we were told that the annual running cost in 2017 was £6.4 million. So every penny helps!