YORKSHIRE now has a second air ambulance.
The service got a huge publicity boost after the current air ambulance played a part in saving the life of popular TV presenter Richard Hammond.
Richard suffered serious head injuries in a high-speed crash during filming for the programme Top Gear at the former RAF airfield in Elvington near York last September.
His fans flooded the helicopter fundraising team with offers of cash help and that - coupled with a helicopter `mortgage' from the Yorkshire Bank - has led to the new one being bought.
This means two helicopters can now be in the skies above Yorkshire at any one time - and they can go out of the area to help in other parts of the North or Midlands.
The new £3.35m aircraft is due to go into service in August following a fit-out to adapt it for use by paramedics.
The MD902 Explorer is the same as the current Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
The new helicopter was previously owned by PT Airfast who used the aircraft to transport BP oil workers across Indonesia. UK law firm DWF provided legal advice on the acquisition.
Over the Easter weekend the Yorkshire Air Ambulance carried out 18 missions from its base at Leeds Bradford International Airport, but still needed to call in air ambulances from other regions which highlighted yet again the need for the second helicopter.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance operates throughout Yorkshire and also supports air ambulance services in the North West, North East and Midlands.
Yorkshire Air Ambulance chairman Peter Sunderland said: "We would like to thank everyone who has helped us to achieve our goal of acquiring a second helicopter. The people of Yorkshire and visitors passing through will be more secure in the knowledge that we have doubled our active service capability."
Bob Perry, partner in the Yorkshire Bank Leeds Financial Solutions Centre, added: "We are delighted to again be able to support the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, and the Yorkshire Bank's commitment has allowed us to get this helicopter into the air for the benefit of the region and all those who visit it."
Alan Cunningham, asset finance partner at DWF which specialises in advising on aviation and shipping finance, added: "Air ambulances help save lives by providing rapid paramedic care for patients in the critical minutes after an accident, particularly in locations which road ambulances may be unable to reach.
"Advising on these types of transactions requires specialist knowledge and we're pleased to have advised on such an important acquisition."