Chance for local schools to win helicopter visit

Nottingham Hospitals Charity has launched a fundraising competition for local schools, with a visit from an air ambulance as the prize for the three schools that raise the most money. The initiative aims to engage primary and secondary schools in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire with our Saving Lives Helipad Appeal, which is raising £3 million to build an onsite helipad at the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre at Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC).

We’re targeting schools in Nottinghamshire as that’s where the QMC is located, and schools in Lincolnshire because that’s where many of the air ambulance patients come from,’ explains Daniel Craggs, Senior Community Fundraiser at Nottingham Hospitals Charity. ‘We want to get the message out there that the new helipad at QMC will serve patients from across the East Midlands, and particularly rural areas such as parts of Lincolnshire.

We’re equally keen to promote the educational benefits of the competition to participating schools. Daniel and a senior member of the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre team will visit each school to give a special talk in assembly about the work that the Major Trauma Centre does, the role of the air ambulance service and the difference an onsite helipad at QMC will make to severely injured patients.

Says Daniel: ‘The first 60 minutes following a severe injury is known as the “golden hour” and is critical to favourable clinical outcomes. Fast access to treatment is vital to give patients a fighting chance. At the moment, air ambulance patients have to complete their journey to QMC by road, which can take up to 20 minutes. An onsite helipad will reduce this transfer time to less than five minutes – helping save time, to save lives.’

Like most hospital helipads, building the new helipad at QMC relies entirely on charitable donations, so we’re asking each school that takes part in the competition to raise as much as they can for the Saving Lives Helipad Appeal. The three top fundraising schools will be rewarded with a visit from the Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, giving children the chance to look inside the helicopter and ask the pilots and paramedics questions about their work.

We’re looking for 20 schools to sign up for the competition and help us raise a significant amount towards the Saving Lives Helipad Appeal.’ says Daniel. ‘And we really want to make it fun for the children, so I’ll be providing lots of fundraising tips and ideas during the assembly visits. We’ll also be encouraging a bit of healthy rivalry between schools by recording their efforts on a league table that everyone taking part will be able to see.

The project has got off to a good start, with four schools already signed up to take part: Birkbeck College in Louth, Lincolnshire, and South Nottinghamshire Academy, West Bridgford Infant School and Mellers’ House at Nottingham High School in Nottinghamshire.

Mr Martin Smith, Head of Mellers’ House, comments: ‘We’re delighted to be supporting the Saving Lives Helipad Appeal by taking part in the Schools’ Helicopter project. It’s a unique opportunity to get involved in raising awareness and funds for a vital cause which will benefit patients being flown to the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre from across the region.

Everyone in Mellers’ House is very much looking forward to finding out more about the Major Trauma Centre at our assembly talk, and getting stuck into the fundraising side of things too. It would be brilliant if Nottingham High won one of the visits from an air ambulance, so we’ll all be getting our thinking caps on and coming with some novel fundraising ideas.’

If your school would like to take part in the competition, please contact Daniel Craggs on 0115 924 9924 extension 70246 or email To find out more about the Saving Lives Helipad Appeal or make a donation, please call 0115 962 7905 or download the appeal leaflet here.