Scotland’s charity air ambulance crew have been honoured with award

Scotland's charity air ambulance (SCAA) team pictured from left: Captain Nigel Clarke, paramedic John Salmond, paramedic Graeme Hay, lead paramedic John Pritchard, paramedic Craig McDonald, paramedic Julia Barnes and captain Russell Myles. Pic: Graeme Hart/Perthshire Picture Agency.
Scotland's charity air ambulance (SCAA) team pictured from left: Captain Nigel Clarke, paramedic John Salmond, paramedic Graeme Hay, lead paramedic John Pritchard, paramedic Craig McDonald, paramedic Julia Barnes and captain Russell Myles. Pic: Graeme Hart/Perthshire Picture Agency.

The life-saving crew of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) have been voted the country’s Rural Heroes 2017.

The pilots and paramedics of Scotland’s only charity-funded air ambulance team picked up the coveted title at the Scottish Rural Awards in Edinburgh for a service the judges described as “a crucial lifeline that Scotland simply could not do without”.

Scotland's charity air ambulance -  pilot Captain Russell Myles comes into land. Pic:  Graeme Hart/Perthshire Picture Agency

Scotland's charity air ambulance - pilot Captain Russell Myles comes into land. Pic: Graeme Hart/Perthshire Picture Agency

Since launching in 2013, SCAA has responded to more than 1,330 emergencies throughout the Scottish mainland and its many islands, bringing expert paramedic care quickly to the scene and providing rapid onwards transport to hospital for those seriously ill or injured.

Funded solely by the people of Scotland, the Perth Airport-based service has become a recognised and respected member of the country’s 999 response network – proving particularly vital in remote and rural communities.

SCAA’s pool of two pilots and five paramedics was the judges’ unanimous choice for the Rural Heroes Award, who said that the service was ‘truly remarkable’ with the potential to benefit every resident of Scotland.

Their citation said: “They (SCAA) are true heroes of remote communities, providing fast-response life-saving skills when they are most needed.

“This team’s selfless and dedicated service has seen them operate in difficult, stressful and highly demanding situations to bring care and comfort to those involved in emergencies, saving countless lives in the process and working to benefit many more.

“The judges were unanimous that Rural Heroes must create a positive impact on their rural community to the highest possible degree and that, definitively, fits the life-saving work carried out by the crew of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.”

SCAA Chief Executive David Craig said: “They claim they are just doing their job but when that job involves the level of skill, dedication and physical and mental endurance they display every day of the year to bring their outstanding level of care to those most in need – wherever they are in Scotland – then it’s not overstating the case to call them heroes. SCAA is extremely proud of our amazing crew who always go the extra mile and this Rural Heroes Award shows that this sentiment is echoed by the people of Scotland.”