THE Essex and Herts Air Ambulance has added a new helicopter to its life-saving fleet.

The new AW169 helicopter has started service from the charity's Earls Colne airbase.

The fleet now boasts two AW169 choppers and four rapid response vehicles at its bases at Earls Colne and North Weald.

The charity is not part of the NHS and does not have access to National Lottery funding, meaning it relies on the generosity of the local community.

The £8.5million needed to buy the helicopter was fuelled by funds raised by supporters and donors.

The charity will showcase the new helicopter at its free 'Heli-bration' event on Sunday, July 14, in the grounds of Hertfordshire’s Hatfield House.

Echo: New - the helicopter at the air ambulance base in Earls ColneNew - the helicopter at the air ambulance base in Earls Colne (Image: Maria Slocombe / EHAAT)

Chief exec Jane Gurney said: “We couldn’t have reached this incredible achievement without the generosity of our amazing supporters.

“We are your local life-saving service, it is your air ambulance, so please join us at the Heli-bration event to see it up close, to meet our team, and to enjoy a fun afternoon celebrating this special milestone, together.”

EHAAT crews made up of highly skilled pilots and co-pilots, and expert pre-hospital care doctors and critical care paramedics are called out seven times a day on average.

In the first five months of this year, they have treated more than 900 patients in a range of road traffic collisions, medical emergencies, accidental injuries, and other serious incidents.

Echo: Goodbye - staff wave off the new helicopter during a take offGoodbye - staff wave off the new helicopter during a take off (Image: Maria Slocombe / EHAAT)

Jane said: “Owning two state-of-the-art helicopters benefits the local communities we serve by allowing us to fly faster and further.

“But most importantly, the AW169 maximises patient outcomes by providing the space required to carry all the medical equipment needed, including blood, for life-saving interventions at the scene, as well as allowing the clinicians to comfortably care for the patient while on route to major trauma centres and specialist hospitals.”

The Heli-bration, at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, will be on Sunday, July 14, between 12noon and 4pm.

Entry to the event is free with free onsite parking. To register for tickets visit: