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Paralympic champion supports new airbase

PARALYMPIC swimming champion Stephanie Millward MBE is encouraging people to help build a better future for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and complete the fundraising for its new airbase.

Stephanie, from Box, has become a Charity Ambassador with Wiltshire Air Ambulance and last week she visited the site of the new airbase at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, near Melksham, to see the progress of the construction.

Stephanie said, “The new airbase will be an incredible facility benefitting the whole county. It will enable the charity to continue its lifesaving work and help more people in the future. Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a charity that is close to my heart and I’m so proud to be an Ambassador for it.

“The charity needs the public’s help to complete the fundraising for the new airbase. Every single penny counts and if people put their hearts into it and raise the money needed by the end of this year, what a Christmas present it would be for the county.”

Stephanie was close to a place in the British international able-bodied swimming team and hoped to qualify for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney before she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 17.

She qualified for the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, followed by the 2012 London Paralympics and Rio 2016 Paralympics and has won 10 Paralympic medals, including two golds. She is also a multiple World and European Para Swimming champion. She will be competing in the World Championships next month and hopes to compete at her fourth Paralympics in 2020 in Tokyo.

Work on building Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s new airbase began in April this year and is due to be completed in Spring 2018. The charity has received a donation of £2.5 million from a benefactor and £1 million from the LIBOR fund towards the airbase.

The charity’s Airbase Appeal to raise the remaining £1.25 million to complete the building and equipping of the airbase has raised £403,981, leaving £846,018 still to be raised.

Kevin Reed, Head of Operations at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said, “We’re so grateful to Stephanie Millward for supporting us and becoming a Charity Ambassador.  What she has achieved is inspirational and as a resident of Wiltshire she understands the importance of Wiltshire Air Ambulance providing an essential helicopter emergency medical service.

“We’ve had a really good response to our Airbase Appeal from individuals, community groups, schools and businesses, but we still need to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the building and equipping of the new airbase. If you would like to donate you can find out more by going to our special website www.wiltshireairbaseappeal.co.uk or call the charity team on 01380 739453.”

Above: Charity Amba-ssador Stephanie Millward at Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s new airbase under construction at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, with (l-r) Paramedics Steve Riddle, Jo Munday, Richard Miller and Kevin Reed, Head of Operations at WAA.