Lions visit Air Ambulance base


Members of Barnsley District Lions Club recently paid a visit to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance at their base in the grounds of Leeds/Bradford airport. They were introduced to the stars of BBC1’s “Helicopter Heroes” – James Vine and Sammy Wills.

The service is so efficient that the helicopter could, if necessary, reach an emergency at Darfield in 12 minutes 30 seconds.

How important could that be for saving lives? Yorkshire Air Ambulance, which relies heavily on donations, needs around £8,000 per day just to keep airborne.

Sammy and James conducted the tour of the helicopter base with an enthusiasm that you rarely experience from employees and demonstrated their love and commitment for their work.

James crouched in the helicopter and went through the details of his job as a paramedic and the helicopter’s role in saving lives.

A close-up view of the small space inside the three ton helicopter and it’s equipment was awe-inspiring. It had two engines and could switch over if one engine cut out.

One sentence that everyone recalled after the visit came from James Vine as he proudly announced “this is the best job in the world”.

In the control room the main controller was seated at a desk with seven large computer screens, each displaying different information.

As the Lions left, a member of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance shouted: “the helicopter is just about to take off for an emergency”.

The helicopter warmed up and waited for clearance from the tower. It started to rise and friendly waves rained down that were returned by the Barnsley Lions. Soon it disappeared into the sky.

The purpose of the visit was to present a cheque from Barnsley District Lions for £2000, raised through their project called Let’s Club Together.

This involves Barnsley people and businesses in fundraising for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Participants so far have included Hoyland Health Centre and Darfield Foulstone School.

The photo shows Lions’ Club president Terry Turton, who handed over a cheque for £2,000, in the centre, with Sammy Wills on the left and James Vine on the right.

The money was raised throughout the year via raffles, collections and donations made at the funeral of Mr Norman Turton.

John Bannister,