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Every moment matters

Local supporter Josh Belcher is picking up the pace to keep the Cornwall Air Ambulance rotors running.

The impressive rural landscape that Cornwall offers its local residents and out-of-county visitors is both beautiful and enchanting, but when the unthinkable happens it can be less than ideal for land ambulances to navigate, and when every second counts in an emergency, time is not on side. The Cornwall Air Ambulance takes an average time of 12 minutes to arrive on scene in the most rural locations, and attends more than 1,000 incidents every year. Nobody wakes up expecting to take a ride in the air ambulance, but when it matters most the team and their helicopter are there to help in those critical moments.

It may come as a surprise that Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust doesn’t receive any government support towards their running costs, which is approximately £5 million a year. They rely solely on the generosity of the likes of us to keep the helicopter flying, and fundraisers mean their loyal supporters can get involved in raising money for this life-saving charity. A popular fundraising activity for Cornwall Air Ambulance supporters is competing in running challenges, and along with benefitting physical and mental health, running events raise a substantial amount of money for the charity every year.

Photo by Adele Blandford

The winner of this year’s London Marathon charity place for CAAT, Josh Belcher hopes that his participation will bring attention to the importance of the charity who hold a special place in Josh’s heart, ever since Josh was airlifted as a baby. “I was airlifted by the crew to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in 1993 after having a bad reaction to Polio drops. My mum remembers how quickly the helicopter came – it only took six minutes to reach us from the base in Newquay. Then, in October 2015, the air ambulance came to my dad when he suffered a pulmonary embolism.”

Above, Josh as a baby with his Dad

Crystal Palace Half Marathon

Although now living in London, Josh hopes to spread the message that Cornwall Air Ambulance is there for everyone in their time of need, whether a resident or visitor. “A lot of my friends in London often go to Cornwall on holiday, and this has given me a great opportunity to shine a light on how vital the service is to everyone that visits Cornwall, not just the residents. It’s great to see how respected and well-known the charity is nationwide.” A year after his father died, Josh completed the Hackney Half Marathon, raising £1,296 for Cornwall Air Ambulance. He hopes to raise over double the amount this time, with a goal of £3,000. With supporters like Josh rallying to keep the Cornwall Air Ambulance in the air, we can hope to rely on the team’s life-saving service for a long time to come.

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