AN appeal to get a second air ambulance for Yorkshire has got off the ground.
The £2.5m Golden Wings Appeal was launched in a ceremony at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance service is only four years old, but is already the fourth busiest in England and Wales.
Crews have carried out 4,000 missions since the service started.
But they still operate only one helicopter.
The 15-year-old helicopter carries a pilot, two paramedics and all the equipment that a land ambulance has.
It can reach any destination in Yorkshire in no more than 25 minutes - usually much less - with a further 10 minutes maximum to an appropriate hospital.
The helicopter operates 8am to 6pm, seven days a week. Its missions are often to remote or inaccessible areas, as well as to industrial sites and road crashes.
It was vital in saving the life of Golcar schoolboy Marc Jackson. He was injured in a bus accident in Milnsbridge but flown to hospital within minutes.
By raising £2.5m YAA hopes to buy a second helicopter with higher medical specifications and to pay for an extension of flying hours in the summer.
YAA chief executive Martin Eede said: "We're funded mainly by the generosity of Yorkshire people, Yorkshire companies and friends of the county.
"The county needs and deserves the very best air ambulance service possible.
"The new generation aircraft would be able to provide this, by offering larger capacity and longer flying time," he added.
Anyone wanting to make a donation to the Golden Wings Appeal should call 0845 120 6060 or send a cheque to The Golden Wings Appeal, Office D255, Dean Clough, Halifax HX3 5AX.