20-Dec-2013 Source: Midlands Air Ambulance
TV presenter and Top Gear star Richard Hammond and his wife, columnist Mindy Hammond are the latest high profile celebrities to be appointed as ambassadors for the MAAC.
The couple join stars from the worlds of sport and entertainment who are ambassadors and supporters of the charity including professional rugby players Mike Tindall MBE (England & Gloucester) and Andy Goode (England & Wasps), London 2012equestrian gold medalists Carl Hester MBE, Nick Skelton MBE and 10 times Paralympian gold medalist Lee Pearson CBE, actor/writer John Challis (Only Fools & Horses) and actor James Phelps (Harry Potter).
Richard and Mindy will support the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity with its national and local fundraising and awareness. The charity and its cause are extremely close the Hammond’s hearts. An air ambulance famously airlifted Richard following a near fatal crash seven years ago. In addition Mindy’s godson Jobe Taylor-Davies was airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital by the Midlands Air Ambulance after a life threatening equestrian accident.
In September 2006, Richard was filming for the BBC TV show Top Gear at Elvington airfield near York, when his 370mph jet-powered Vampire dragster veered off the runway, flipped over several times and crashed on to grass. Richard suffered a significant brain injury as a result of the crash. He was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary in a matter of minutes and credits the air ambulance with saving his life.
Richard commented; “When you’re critically ill or badly injured as a result of an accident, speed is the essence of saving lives. The “Golden Hour” as it is often referred to, is the critical period in saving a life. The air ambulance saved my life by airlifting me from a wrecked jet-car to intensive care in just 15 minutes. I’m alive today thanks to its crew.”
Mindy also praised the air ambulance crew for getting her husband to hospital so quickly after the near-300mph crash; “There is little doubt in my mind that without the incredible life saving work of the air ambulance Richard would not be here today. Without the rapid emergency assistance and medical attention, I doubt whether he would have come through the accident alive or without a long-term brain injury. I like many other individuals, owe a debt of gratitude to the tireless work of the crews, pilots and medical staff.”
Since Richard’s accident, the Hammonds have worked tirelessly to raise funds for the air ambulance. Immediately following the crash, fans of Richard donated over £250,000 allowing Yorkshire Air Ambulance to procure a vital second air ambulance.
The couple are now focusing their attentions to their local air ambulance service and have joined forces with the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, one of the largest and longest established air ambulance charities in the UK and which operates across six counties of the West Midlands Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Herefordshire where the Hammonds currently live.
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity CEO Hanna Sebright said: “We are delighted that both Richard and Mindy have agreed to become ambassadors and support the valuable life saving work that we as a charity provide to the public 365 days every year. I, like many other people was horrified to hear of Richard’s crash in 2006 and the events that unfolded that day across the news. Richard and Mindy have experienced first hand the lifesaving work of the air ambulance. The profile and awareness that they can bring to the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is invaluable”
Earlier this year, Mindy, together with Caron Scudamore hosted their own ‘Walking On Air’ ball in celebration of Caron and Mindy’s godson Jobe Taylor Davies. The ball was held in aid of both the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
In 2012, Jobe was knocked unconscious after he was struck with enormous force to the right side of his head by a horse. Unconscious and placed in a coma to stop seizures, doctors at Ross-on-Wye Community Hospital feared the worst for Jobe and he was air-lifted by the Midlands Air Ambulance 60 miles to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for emergency treatment. The specialist care helped Jobe make a full recovery.
Mindy commented “It is so important to support our local unsung heroes who save lives every day! Richard and I have experienced the incredible support and care of the air ambulance teams. Each year the Midlands Air Ambulance has to raise £6million to keep the three helicopters and support staff (remove) operational. They are desperate for funds and it is so important that people donate to their local air ambulance service to keep this vital service flying.”
Richard added” The Midlands Air Ambulance service is entirely funded by public and charitable donations and receives no Government or National Lottery funding. It is vitally important for the public to support their local air ambulance service.”