MEMBERS of the Melksham Business Growth Group have presented a £500 cheque to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Airbase Appeal, after hearing that the charity still needs to raise £225,000 for its new airbase at Semington.

BGG chairman Kevin Wiltshire handed over the cheque for £500 on behalf of Business Growth Group to Wiltshire Air Ambulance in early December.

The group had invited Kevin Reed, the charity’s head of operations, and Valerie Whistler, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance partnerships co-ordinator, to a meeting to tell the group about their lifesaving work and the plans for its new airbase at Semington.

Business Growth Group (BGG) consists of 35 local business owners from around Wiltshire and Bath who meet every Friday at the King’s Arms in Melksham for breakfast and to share new business opportunities.

Kevin and Valerie shared information about the charity’s work, including that nearly 1,000 life-saving missions were undertaken by Wiltshire Air Ambulance across Wiltshire and surrounding counties in 2016.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a charity and relies almost entirely on public and corporate donations. Its air ambulance helicopter can get anywhere in the county within 11 minutes, providing rapid first aid in life-threatening situations.

Members also heard that Wiltshire Air Ambulance still needs £225,000 to fund the new airbase, on top of the £3.25 million annual running costs.

Mr Wiltshire, a partner at Trowbridge-based Kings Court Financial Planning, said: “It was a pleasure to have Wiltshire Air Ambulance share with us what their invaluable life-saving work involves, to hear of some of their amazing missions which resulted in lives saved and to learn how the business community can pledge their support.

“As a group, we are delighted to make a donation towards their new state-of-the-art base nearby.”

Valerie Whistler said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to the Business Growth Group for their incredible generosity in donating £500 to our Airbase Appeal. Our new airbase will benefit the entire county and enable our specialist aircrew and helicopter to save many more lives in the future.”

It costs £8,904 a day to keep Wiltshire Air Ambulance flying. For more information about how you can support their vital work, see their website: