DEDICATED pilots and paramedics who have been instrumental in saving countless lives have been hailed as an air ambulance service reached a major milestone.
The Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DRLAA) has completed its 6,000th rescue mission since its formation in 2008.
The milestone was passed during National Volunteers Week, which was fitting for a service that receives no Government funding and relies on the selfless efforts of unpaid workers just to keep running.
Thousands of people across the three counties where the service operates have benefitted from life-saving treatment following car accidents, falls or other serious incidents.
Just last month, the air ambulance touched down near Etwall to attend to a 27-year-old woman who fell form a horse which then toppled onto her.
As well as being able to get seriously injured people to hospital much quicker than on the ground, the helicopter can also to reach places where land ambulances cannot, such as hills and valleys.
Chief executive Andy Williamson has been personally thanking the charity’s volunteers in its shops across the region to mark the achievement.
Phil Bridle, critical care paramedic and airbase manager, paid tribute to the service’s pilots, doctors and paramedics who continue to provide vital assistance to stricken patients.
He said: “To reach 6,000 missions is a magnificent achievement. The fact that we have reached this milestone is testimony of the hard work of all of our volunteers.
“On behalf of all the crew, I would like to thank all of our volunteers who have made this possible and we sincerely hope that we can count on their support for years to come.”