THE North West Air Ambulance charity's 20th birthday celebrations have taken off with tea.

The charity marks two decades of action this May, and is asking the public it serves to raise a mug in honour of the crew's life-saving work.

'Brew with the Crew' will run over the coming months, as the charity says its crew misses 6,782 brews a year due to emergency callouts.

Sometimes no sooner than the kettle is on, the crew are called out to reach critically injured patients across all corners of the north west, from Stoke to Carlisle.

So they are urging people to brew up on their behalf, by hosting community events to raise vital funds over cake and a cuppa.

Andy Duncan, lead Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) paramedic at the charity, said: “To be able to celebrate our 20th birthday is testament to the fantastic support of our amazing fundraisers and volunteers. As an organisation which is entirely dependent on charitable contributions, we quite literally couldn’t do it without them.

“It’s a bit of a running joke amongst our crew that as soon as we click the kettle on, that’s when we always seem to get a mission call-out. There’s never any delay though – we’re straight onto the aircraft, getting to where our patients are as soon as possible.”

Just £9 can fuel one of NWAA’s three helicopters for one minute of a mission. A donation of £25 can buy a warming blanket to maintain the body temperature of a severe trauma patient, and £650 can provide a specialist stretcher to ensure that patients with neck or spinal injuries can be transported to hospital safely.

No matter how big or small the donation, it will be helping to save a life.

Heather Arrowsmith, NWAA CEO, said: “Building on the success of Brew with the Crew last year, we’re now looking forward to kick-starting our 20th birthday celebrations in style.

"Our goal is to bring the whole North West together over tea, coffee, cake and sandwiches.”

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