The Children's Air Ambulance

Friday, March 28, 2014

Last Friday, I was invited to a press day at the base for The Children's Air Ambulance charity. Up until then I didn't know much about the charity. I course I knew what an air ambulance was but that was the extent of my knowledge.

The day involved finding out more about the charity itself as well as a once in a lifetime chance to take a ride in the Children's Air Ambulance itself!

The Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA) is one of a kind, it’s the only service dedicated to the air transfer of critically ill children and babies in the UK. It is estimated that 5,800 children need transferring between hospitals every year because 95% of care for critically ill children is carried out in specialist units, which are not available in every hospital in England.  The majority of these have to happen by road ambulance, which can mean long and in certain cases life-threatening journeys.  These are stressful for the child, the family and also require more out-of-hospital time for clinical staff. TCAA typically transfer children with life threatening conditions such as neurological emergencies, severe meningitis and major organ failure.

TCAA are completely funded by voluntary donations from the public and receive no government or NHS funding. This is a service that is helping to save lives! To cut that critical time where a baby could be vastly deteriorating using a land transfer service. The importance of air transfers is the speed in which a transfer can be completed, The air ambulance can travel from Leeds to London in less than an hour, a journey that by car would take around three hours. At the moment TCAA can only transfer paediatric cases (0-12months), although this is the majority of cases in need of transfer, they want to raise enough money to expand so that they are equipped to deal with children of all ages.

Whilst there we heard about Baby Theo the first transfer patient back in May 2013. At one day old, Theo was transferred on a fifteen minute flight from Scarborough Hospital to Hull Royal Infirmary. Theo was born five days late by Caesarian Section  weighing under 5lb. He was critically ill as it was discovered his oesophagus had failed to attach correctly to his stomach and he needed expert care to be treated. The fifteen minute flight insured he got that critical care in the quickest possible way.
Baby Theo being transferred via TCAA
The medical equipment on board
Picture taken by A New Addition

As part of our visit we got shown around the helicopter and got to hear all about the specialist equipment on board including the incubator and stretchers. It is amazing how much space there is inside for the medical staff to attend to the patient.  We then got to take a short ride in the ambulance itself and the experience was breathtaking. Watching the pilot concentrating on take off, looking around at the interior surroundings, and watching the world outside it was very exciting! But then I had a thought for the parents and the medical staff who would usually be sitting in my place, would they even notice these things? For us it was an exciting experience, it is unimaginable what must be going through their minds whilst on board but I'm sure it wouldn't be excitement. For me it would be my worst nightmare to be in the situation that would leave me needing this service, but it is nice to know that should it ever happen I know my baby would be in safe hands.

Picture taken by A New Addition

Also at the press day was the lovely Melanie Walcott (wife of England and Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott). Melanie is expecting her first child and has recently become Patron of The Children's Air Ambulance charity. She told us how much the charity meant to her and why she wants to help with their fundraising mission. It was lovely talking to her and hearing about her plans to take part in a charity bike ride next year amongst other things.

I had a wonderful day and was honoured to meet the team behind all the hard work and I'm looking forward to working with them whenever I can to help raise awareness and funds for such an important cause. 

You can find out more about The Children's Air Ambulance or make a donation on the webpage here.

You can also find them on Facebook or Twitter

You Might Also Like


  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful day and it really is such a worthy charity.

    A lovely write up Carly and I spy that Ickle bump ;)

  2. What an amazing charity, one that I was vaguely aware of but you've enlightened me here, I had no idea that they were funded only by donations! It seems shocking for such an important service! You look fab in the helicopter, I bet it was breathtaking being up there!

  3. Love the Children's Air Ambulance - such an amazing charity. Sounds like a fantastic day! xx