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Wells man collapses postponing Air Ambulance fly-in

By abbiewhouse  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

Pilot Johnnie Ecclestone (middle) with Paramedics Steve Freeman and Michelle Walker landing outside Wells Cathedral

Pilot Johnnie Ecclestone (middle) with Paramedics Steve Freeman and Michelle Walker landing outside Wells Cathedral

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The Air Ambulance fly-in event to Wells Cathedral Green was postponed today after the ambulance team received emergency calls in Nunney and Wells.

The team were due to land on the Green at 11am but were first called to the home of an elderly man in Nunney who had suffered a Stroke. He was treated and safely air-lifted to Bath Hospital.

Then, minutes before the helicopter was due to land outside the Cathedral, the team were called out again to a home in Wells, near the Blue School, where another elderly man had collapsed.

The Wells man was treated by the paramedics at around 12 pm.

Johnnie Ecclestone, Pilot of the Air Ambulance, explained that this was the nature of his job:

"We were called for two jobs today and that is the nature of our service, we never know where or when we will be going next.

"It is a shame we couldn't land on the Cathedral Green as scheduled but obviously saving a life is more important. Our job is to respond to these calls as quickly as we can."

Johnnie landed his helicopter on Wells Blue School's sports field:

"I actually have authorisation to land this helicopter wherever I see fit and The Blue School was the closest area available to land safely.

"It has been a fairly busy morning, it happens like that sometimes. We still had time to do our morning drills but after that it was non-stop."

The helicopter was finally able to land on the Cathedral Green at around 1pm, giving locals the opportunity to chat to the team, explore the aircraft and learn more about the DSAA.

A woman from Wells attended the fly-in and recalled a time when the Air Ambulance was able to help her injured friend.

She said: "My friend was run over on a pedestrian crossing a few years ago. She was knocked out, severely injured and in a lot of trouble.

"The Air Ambulance service was wonderful and they arrived very quickly. She told me the first thing she remembered was seeing the faces of the team all around her."

Paramedics Steve Freeman and Michelle Walker were on hand outside the Cathedral to answer any questions the public had about the DSAA.

Michelle Walker said: "It is such a rewarding job. Obviously sometimes it is hard but I really relish the opportunity I have to help people.

"There is a crew ready to respond seven days a week and on average we respond to three calls a day."

The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance will be holding two more fly-ins for the National Air Ambulance Week. Tomorrow they will be flying into John Bright Fencing Ltd, in Bridport and on Friday they will be landing at Minehead First School in Minehead.

They have also recently launched a text and donate service allowing anyone to donate £10 by texting DSAA02 £10 to 70070.

By donating £10 you will be paying for one minute's worth of air-time.

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