Ashburton partnership establishes night landing site at Varwell Field
Last Wednesday, members of Ashburton Town Council and the Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Hospital League of Friends met with representatives from Devon Air Ambulance and Ashburton Cricket Club to formally launch the new night landing site at the cricket club.
“The project at Ashburton Cricket Club, which has involved installing remotely controlled lighting at the ground and improving access by trimming back the hedge and trees near the area used for night operations, was brought together by a partnership of local organisations which were all keen to ensure Devon Air Ambulance can access patients by helicopter during the ‘hours of darkness’, explained Toby Russell, from Devon Air Ambulance.
“This floodlit surveyed site will be used by our crew to fly into the ‘heart of the community’ when it is dark. By using this surveyed site our pilots and crew can appreciate the features of the cricket club before they arrive on scene. The remotely controlled lighting will help our crews by illuminating the grass outfield during landing and take-off as well as helping medical teams when moving around the site and for the safe carry and loading of a patient into the helicopter”.
Cllr. Philip Vogel said: “On behalf of Ashburton Town Council Emergency Committee, we welcome the ability for the Devon Air Ambulance to have a night landing site so close to the town. This facility, which will benefit residents and visitors alike, has come to fruition thanks to the partnership between Devon Air Ambulance, Ashburton Town Council, Ashburton Cricket Club and the Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Hospital League of Friends.”
In relation to the funding support provided by the League of Friends, Sarah Parker-Khan, Chair, said: “The Air Ambulance provides a vital service and we are delighted to be able to use our funds to support such an important addition to Ashburton.”
Bailiff Mr Sean Wilson commented: “With large numbers of visitors coming to the area and its close proximity to an exceptionally busy arterial highway, emergency services such as the Devon Air Ambulance are critical in ensuring the safety of visitors and residents in Ashburton and the surrounding area, particularly in situations where every second counts!”
Lloyd White, Cricket Club Secretary, expressed his thanks on behalf of the executive committee; “We are delighted to be able to support this project in what will be a fantastic asset to the town and wider community. The project team have been great to work alongside and we thank everyone for their efforts to provide this vital service.”
“Although being the 1199th/1200th Portreeve of Ashburton I am also a member of the Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Hospital League of Friends Committee and was a co-negotiator in the implementation for the landing site for the Devon Air Ambulance in Ashburton.
As we all know and have probably seen, the Devon Air Ambulance pilots and medical teams do amazing work. Now operating until 2am every day and ready to attend emergencies throughout Devon and beyond they use designated night landing sites in order to get as close to the patients as quickly as possible as time can be so important in possibly saving someone's life.
I was pleased that along with Ashburton Town Council, the League of Friends donated funding to help with the installation of the lighting at the cricket field in Balland Lane, and I would like to thank
Ashburton Cricket Club for allowing a section of their field to be used for the landing site.” Portreeve Cllr John Nutley.
Toby Russell went on to add: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped establish the Ashburton night landing site. From the outset the cricket club have been incredibly supportive by allowing the new lighting to be installed and access works to be carried out. Alongside the significant support provided by the League of Friends and Town Council, this partnership has created a community asset that could prove vital for those facing a life-changing or life-threatening illness or accident.”