AN air ambulance charity has raised more than £1 million in an emergency appeal during the coronavirus crisis.

Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex launched its coronavirus emergency appeal in April to cover the additional costs of operating its emergency response service safely during the pandemic.

It costs the life-saving charity £14 million a year to provide its emergency service, in which specialist doctors and paramedics provide critical treatment to patients at the scene of an incident.

Almost 90 per cent of this is raised through public donations.

It is the first time in the charity’s 30-year history that it has had to launch an emergency appeal. Thanks to support from the public and a Government grant of £140,000, it has raised more than £1 million so far.

However, the charity is still facing a significant income shortfall of almost £2 million, as major fundraising events have been cancelled.

David Welch, chief executive, said: “We simply cannot thank people enough for the support we have received so far.

“When we launched our appeal, we aimed to raise £535,000 initially to meet the immediate additional costs of continuing our life-saving service during the pandemic and we have received an amazing response.

“It is truly humbling how generous people can be.

“Yet despite this, with the continued impact of the pandemic we still face a significant shortfall of £1.9 million.

“Last year, we were called out to help over 2,500 people in life-threatening situations across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

“We have an outstanding, highly skilled medical team and we are determined to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients and to continue to run our charity efficiently and responsibly.

“To secure our future, we urgently need your continued support.

“Let’s work together to continue to save lives during this difficult and unprecedented time.”

It is the only UK air ambulance service to fly 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It is also the only air ambulance service to have been rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission in all five of its inspection criteria for being safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.

To donate to the emergency appeal, visit