Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

John Bridge takes on chairmanship of Magpas Air Ambulance as new base plan unfolds



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


Magpas Air Ambulance’s fund-raising for a new purpose-built air base is stepping up a gear as John Bridge takes over the chairmanship of the much-loved charitable organisation.

Dr Paddy Wilkinson forming part of the Magpas Air Ambulance team, alongside a critical care paramedic, technical crew member and pilot, with the helicopter and a rapid response vehicle
Dr Paddy Wilkinson forming part of the Magpas Air Ambulance team, alongside a critical care paramedic, technical crew member and pilot, with the helicopter and a rapid response vehicle

In 2016, the land of the current Magpas Air Ambulance airbase was sold for development and the charity served notice to vacate. At the same time Magpas became the first service in the region to expand its service to 24/7 operations. The expansion was a success, enabling the charity to treat over 50 per cent more patients a year. However, it also highlighted the inadequacies of the already ageing operational facilities at RAF Wyton which were not designed to accommodate such a service.

The enforced need to relocate provided Magpas Air Ambulance with an opportunity to find a more suitable site and build a bespoke facility designed specifically for its expanding operations. A site at Alconbury Weald was identified and in 2018, with the help of a £1m LIBOR grant, 2.2 acres of land was acquired and plans commissioned for the new airbase.

Daryl Brown, chief executive of Magpas Air Ambulance, who was recently made an MBE, said: “We have a total amount still to raise of £2.7m as of last week, phase one is very nearly entirely funded, so we need to get phase two fully funded from the summer, to the end of next year.

“The funds to date have all been from very large grants. The rest we hope to secure through further grants, corporate donations, high NET worth donations and a couple of large events we hope to host once Covid rules permit.”

John Bridge OBE is a well-known figure in the county’s business community. The former chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, who left the role this year after 17 years, takes over the post from Dr Nigel Brown during the charity’s 50th anniversary year.

John Bridge, the new chairman of Magpas Air Ambulance, at Wyton Royal Air Force Station, Wyton. Picture: Keith Heppell
John Bridge, the new chairman of Magpas Air Ambulance, at Wyton Royal Air Force Station, Wyton. Picture: Keith Heppell

During his time as chairman, Dr Brown helped the charity to become the first air ambulance service in the region – and only second in the country – to provide 24/7 critical care as well as overseeing the introduction of a new all-bells-and-whistles helicopter.

The changeover comes as the organisation lays the foundations for the next 50 years. Work has started on plans for the new air base, headquarters and training centre at Alconbury Weald. John was already the chair of the Magpas Future 50 Appeal, which was established to raise the remaining £3million to complete the base build project, and will now also lead the charity’s main board of trustees.

“Over many years, I have witnessed the Magpas Air Ambulance flying through our skies to provide lifesaving care to someone whose life hangs in the balance,” says John. “I’m always mindful that this life could be someone I know or someone I care about very much or I myself might one day need their service.

“Magpas Air Ambulance provides vital care for our community that we have been fortunate to have benefitted from for the past 50 years. I am immensely proud to become the chairman of Magpas Air Ambulance at such an important time for the charity, as well as continuing to lead the appeal to build a new bespoke airbase creating the foundation for the organisation’s next 50 years.”

Daryl Brown added: “I am very pleased that John has agreed to become the chair of the board of trustees.

Daryl Brown, CEO, Magpas Air Ambulance, at Wyton Royal Air Force Station. Picture: Keith Heppell
Daryl Brown, CEO, Magpas Air Ambulance, at Wyton Royal Air Force Station. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Dr Nigel Brown led the board to such incredible achievements in the past 10 years and provided such great support to the charity, especially through the challenges of Covid-19.

“John joins as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and will help shape our plans to ensure the next 50 years of Magpas are as successful, so many lives are saved each year because of this incredible charity. I have known John for a number of years through his many roles in the county and he will bring great energy, knowledge and enthusiasm to the role. He is also united in our mission to provide the very best emergency care for the region, available to anyone, anywhere in their moment of need.

“We’re extremely lucky to have John join us as chairman.”

HM The Queens Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence, said: “For the last 50 years Magpas Air Ambulance has been a leader in pre-hospital emergency medicine.

“They have impacted the lives of over 60,000 people in our community, saving mums, dads, daughters and sons. They have kept families together whilst training and nurturing the next generation of emergency doctors and paramedics.

“We need them to be able to continue to do this for another 50 years, which is why this project is absolutely vital.”



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More