A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy who was hit by a bus was reunited with the air ambulance crew who saved his life as he handed over a large donation to the charity.

Max Deans, of Norfolk, was hit by a Thamesdown Transport bus in Haydon Wick while visiting family in Swindon in February and it was expected that he would have to stay in hospital for months.

But he has made a miraculous recovery thanks to the quick work of paramedics from the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), and now the family has handed over a £3,650 donation they raised with the help of friends and church members.

Heidi Deans, Max’s mother, said the crew had likely saved her son’s life.

“While we were aware of air ambulance charities and the incredible work they do, we never expected we would have to experience their services first hand – no-one does,” she said.

“Without GWAAC and the other emergency services that attended that day, we would have had a very different story to tell.

“Max’s life was dependent on their skill, for which we can’t thank them for enough.”

Max sustained severe head injuries, and the crew from GWAAC, alongside Wiltshire Air Ambulance and road ambulance crews, provided critical care to Max and he was sedated and flown to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, arriving just 12 minutes later.

Although Max’s family was warned by doctors that he may need to spend months in hospital, he was able to be discharged just three weeks later.

Of the money raised, the largest donation came from the local Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, based in Bristol, who supported Max and his family during their time in hospital. GWAAC serves the Swindon, Bath and Bristol areas and relies on donations to keep the helicopter in the air.

Neil Hooper, one of the GWAAC critical care paramedics who attended Max’s accident, said: “It is always rewarding when former patients get back in touch with us and visit the base, and it is great to see Max looking so well.

“On behalf of everyone at GWAAC I’d like to say thank you to Max and his family for their donation, as the amount of money that has been raised will really help to keep our helicopter flying.”

Dr Leon Roberts MBE, GWAAC critical care doctor, said: “Unfortunately accidents like this do occur in the South West and when they do, the Great Western Air Ambulance crew based at Filton aims to provide a critical care service to those involved at the point of injury.

“Max required critical care interventions in Swindon that day – the team came together to ensure this happened.

“There is nothing more rewarding than to be able to show him around our unit today.”

l GWAAC is currently trying to raise £250,000 of additional funds for a new Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter in order to replace the ageing Bölkow 105 model now in use.

A new helicopter would attend to patients four minutes faster, would allow a mother and child to fly to hospital together and would allow more space for the patient, equipment and mid-air treatment.

For more information and to donate, visit the website www.