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Funding appeal for helicopter service

THE Scottish public are being asked to dig deep and help raise funds for the country's first charity-funded air ambulance.

The newly formed Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) has been given the green light by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), but needs funding of £1.5 million per year to get it running.

Currently, the Government funds two helicopters and two planes, but it is hoped the charity aircraft will supplement the work of the SAS in delivering its emergency response service.

The charity is calling on businesses, communities and individuals to donate to help fund the service, which is expected to be in place by spring next year.

SCAA chairman, Perth businessman John Bullough, said: "This will be the people's air ambulance, funded by the public and supported by communities the length and breadth of the country who recognise the value of fast-reaction medical air support in the face of mishap, illness and tragedy.

"We will be looking to corporations, trusts, businesses, communities and the public in general in the weeks, months and years to come to keep this additional air resource flying."

The new air ambulance will be based at Perth Airport at Scone and staffed by SAS workers whose wages will be paid by the charity.

Health Secretary Alex Neil welcomed the charity's work, and said: "In a country like Scotland with its island, remote and rural areas, it is important we work collaboratively with partners to support community resilience."

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