BRADFORD mum Rebecca Beaver is one of the many people who have been rescued by Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Last year Rebecca had to be airlifted to hospital after a decision to have a go on a swing rope nearly ended in tragedy.

She was on a family walk in woodland near her home in Queensbury with her sister, nieces and ten-year-old son Lewis when they came across a make-shift rope swing across a beck.

“Everyone had a go, but when it was my turn the thing snapped and I just came crashing down onto my back.,” Rebecca, 32, said at the time. “At first, I could not feel my legs which was quite scary, and then it was really very painful.”

Mountain rescue volunteers were drafted in to help get Rebecca to the aircraft which flew her in minutes to trauma specialists at Leeds General Infirmary.

Fortunately, Rebecca only suffered a snapped a disc in her pelvis and after a period on crutches, the grateful mum-of-two fully recovered. But she won’t be having a go on any more rope swings.

“We all do this kind of thing when we’re kids but perhaps not now. I was very, very lucky. It could have ended very differently,” she said.

Rebecca was one of 1,543 patients rescued by the service in 2016 - 11 per cent more than during the previous year. Her ordeal featured in the UKTV series Helicopter ER, which follows the life-saving work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).

Others, some who owe their life to the air ambulance, include the well-known York-based pantomime star Martin Barrass who nearly died in a terrible motorbike accident and was flown to hospital in the nick of time.

YAA is an independent charity needing to raise £12,000 a day - £4.4million a year - to keep both of Yorkshire’s air ambulances in the air and maintained, enabling them to attend more than 1,300 missions a year, an average of three incidents every day.

The charity benefits from the work of volunteers, who help with fundraising at events across the region. At present the YAA is appealing for people to help with fundraising during the Tour de Yorkshire from May 3 to 6.

Says regional fundraising manager Bob Smailes: "The Tour de Yorkshire volunteers will be kitted out with a volunteer badge and hi-vis gear. We would expect them to be working around the depart area and finishing area. Generally, they will have a collection bucket and hopefully the public will pop something in it."

If every adult in Yorkshire donated £1 per year, the YAA would have the money needed to keep the helicopters in the air and saving lives.

Volunteers are also needed throughout the year. Says director of fundraising Garry Wilkinson: “Because we never door knock or cold call we need more volunteers on the ground who can attend community events, man information stalls or give talks. Being a volunteer is a really great way to get out and about in your local area and meet people. You would be part of a fantastic team and you can do as little or as much as you want, to fit in with your lifestyle.”

Flying from Nostell Priory near Wakefield and RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk, the life-saving rapid response emergency service operates 365 days a year, serving five million people across four million acres of Yorkshire. Ninety per cent of Yorkshire live within a 20 minute flying time from either of the two airbases

From a 999 call coming in, the average dispatch time for a helicopter is between two and three minutes. The fast medical response is vital to the survival chances and future quality of life of patients who have suffered major trauma, especially those with head and spinal injuries.

Over the past year, YAA has fully brought into service two new state-of-the-art Airbus H145 helicopters, which carry the latest generation of medical equipment.

The rapid response emergency service has also introduced extended night flying hours at its Nostell Air Support Unit, from 6am to midnight, and started carrying blood on board for the first time, enabling critically injured patients to receive transfusions at the scene of accidents or in the air.

“We are flying more missions, treating and airlifting more patients than ever before, and this increased activity is set to continue as we fly longer hours,” adds Garry.

*If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer for Yorkshire Air Ambulance contact the charity by phone on 01422 237900 or visit the website or