The Masonic Charitable Foundation, through the Province of Herefordshire, has donated a further £4,000 to the Midlands Air Ambulance. The Provincial Grand Master, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Grand Charity Steward and Provincial Communication Officer went to visit the Strensham Air Base in Worcestershire on a wet and blustery day in December, where we met our opposite numbers from Worcestershire who were also donating £4,000. There we presented certificates showing the donations made by each Province to the Herefordshire and Worcestershire fundraising managers for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.
There is normally one helicopter based at Strensham, with others based at RAF Cosford in Shropshire and Tatenhill in Staffordshire, from which they can reach 90% of the area on 8 minutes or less. On the day of our visit the helicopter was out on a mission, despite the squally weather, but we saw it come in to land just as we were about to leave.
However, we were able to meet Ryan, a very highly qualified paramedic who mans the new critical care car, equipped with some very advanced equipment for dealing with extreme medical emergencies. The equipment is much the same as that carried in the helicopters, but the vehicle is especially useful in more urbanised areas of the region which are often difficult to reach for a helicopter.
The advanced equipment enables the paramedic to carry out some emergency surgery at the scene, such as tracheotomies in cases of severe trauma. It also carries a range of life-saving drugs, all of which go beyond what is carried in a normal ambulance. The vehicle is intended to facilitate emergency treatment in cases of cardiac arrest, sepsis, severe breathing difficulty as well as serious injury following road accidents.
Ryan gave us a good insight into the work he is able to do with the new vehicle, which adds a significant element to the excellent work the Midlands Air Ambulance service is able to do. Just after he finished talking to us he was called out on another emergency and drove off with lights flashing and sirens sounding, hopefully to achieve another successful outcome for someone suffering a medical emergency.
Everything this charity does is paid for through voluntary donations, and it needs constant and extensive fundraising to enable it to keep up its crucial work. Seeing the equipment at first hand and meeting some of the personnel brings home what excellent work it does, and how worthy it is of our continued support.
Mary Seldon, Fundraising Executive for Herefordshire, warmly thanked the Freemasons of Herefordshire for the donation.