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05 February 2007

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5 Feb 07

RAF Benson is pleased to welcome the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance (TVCAA) and its crew, who will operate from their premises near Wallingford in Oxfordshire from the end of January 2007.

RAF Benson reached an agreement with South Central Air Ambulance Service managers, Trustees of the TVCAA and the helicopter provider, Bond Helicopters Ltd in November 2005, who were looking for a more suitable location and improved facilities from which to carry out their life saving operations. The trust is a charity which does not receive any funding from the NHS or National Lottery, but instead relies upon donations, fundraising events and sponsorship.

RAF Benson was pleased to offer the Air Ambulance Service a new home and access to much needed facilities which include hangarage, refuelling facilities and accommodation from which to carry out maintenance on the helicopter. Entering 2007, RAF Benson is still extremely busy in support of 4 autonomous overseas operations, no doubt the most high profile of these being Iraq where they currently have numerous Puma and Merlin helicopters. With this busy operational focus, the station is well placed to provide not only facilities but additional airfield services such as Air Traffic Control assistance, Flight Planning and meteorological information. The Air Ambulance will have the added benefit of being collocated with the Chiltern Air Support Unit which has had its home at RAF Benson since 1998 and serves the Thames Valley, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire police forces.

Group Captain Paul Lyall, the Station Commander at RAF Benson said, ‘I am delighted to be able to provide assistance to such a worthwhile local charity. I hope that the Air Ambulance and its staff will benefit from this new arrangement and I look forward to supporting them as they continue to serve the community for many years to come’.

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