November 2, 2017:
Wiltshire Air Ambulance has held a topping out ceremony to mark the progress of the building work on its new airbase. The project is half way to completion: the roof of the airbase is on, most of the exterior walls are complete and the floors have been laid.
Chief executive David Philpott says: “It is so exciting for everyone at Wiltshire Air Ambulance to see the progress of the work on the new airbase. It was less than six months ago that we were standing here in an empty field for our groundbreaking ceremony and now the airbase is taking shape before our eyes.
“I'd like to thank our primary contractor Rigg Construction (Southern) Limited, and our architects and project managers, CMS, for their work in creating and building an airbase that will benefit the entire county for many years to come. The base will bring together the helicopter, aircrew and charity team on one site for the first time and secure the future of the charity.”
The central location of the site in Semington, near Melksham, means that the helicopter will be able to reach all parts of Wiltshire within 11 minutes, as it does now from the current base in Devizes.
The 1,500 sqm facility includes a flight and operations centre for its aircrew, a hangar for the helicopter and medical equipment, offices for the charity team, a training suite and a visitors' viewpoint.
The charity has received £2.7 million from a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous and £1 million from the LIBOR fund for the new airbase. Together with other funding and pledges, the charity has raised 90 per cent of its overall £5.1 million project costs. The charity is asking people to help raise the remaining funds now that it is on its final push to complete the building and equip the new airbase, before it becomes oper-ational by next summer.
Trustee Anna Cole says: “We've had a tremendous response from the public to our airbase appeal so far and, as we enter the next phase of construction work, we still need to raise the remaining funds to make it a reality. Wiltshire Air Ambulance has been saving lives for over 27 years and our new airbase will enable us to save many more lives in the future.”