THE Wales Air Ambulance charity has thanked the public for its support, which enabled it to attend 3,544 life and limb-threatening emergencies in 2021.

The total number of missions undertaken since the charity’s inception in 2001 stands at more than 41,000.

The charity, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has airbases in Llanelli, Caernarfon, Welshpool, and Cardiff, received 3,544 calls during 2021.

Of those calls, 1,870 attended were by air and 1,674 by road in one of its Rapid Response Vehicles.

Of the incidents, 1,540 were medical-related, while the remaining 2,004 were linked to trauma. Further analysis revealed 372 patients treated were 17 years old or younger.

Now operational 24/7, the charity needs to raise £8million every year to keep the helicopters in the air and its Rapid Response Vehicles on the road.

Dr Sue Barnes, Wales Air Ambulance chief executive, said: “The support that our charity receives is incredible.

“From everyone who raises money for us, to our army of volunteers – they are all lifesavers.

“I would also like to thank our trustees, charity colleagues, partners, medics and pilots for their passion, determination and dedication to the people of our country, and our focus on serving Wales and saving lives.

“On 3,544 occasions last year, we were able to attend life or limb-threatening emergencies and that was only possible thanks to everybody I have mentioned. Thank you so much.”

While the helicopter operation is supported by the people of Wales through charitable donations to the Wales Air Ambulance, the medical capability on board the aircraft is delivered thanks to a unique third sector-public sector partnership between the charity, Welsh Government and NHS Wales.

In place since 2015, this collaboration resulted in the creation of the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS Cymru).

Professor David Lockey, EMRTS Cymru national director, said: “Last year was a challenge for everyone as COVID-19 continued to impact on our service and our people.

“Nevertheless, despite those challenges, we were able to continue our lifesaving work – as we have done throughout the pandemic.

“The reason for this is the commitment shown by everyone connected to the service and the people of Wales, for which I cannot thank you all enough.”

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance charity.

These include online donations, signing up to the charity’s ‘Lifesaving Lottery’, or by coming up with innovative ways to fundraise. Further information can be found via:

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.