The Devon Air Ambulance has been saving lives for 25 years

25th anniversary for alumna-founded Devon Air Ambulance

Devon Air Ambulance, a charity set-up by an Exeter alumna, is set to mark 25 years of service at celebration event in September.

Exeter Alumna, Dr Ann Ralli (then Ann Thomas), set up the Trust following the death of her son Ceri in 1986. Ceri was aged just 18 when he was involved in an accident with a car whilst out on his bicycle miles from Exeter. He sadly died of his injuries soon after arriving at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. When Ann asked the surgeon if anything could have saved him, she was told only an air ambulance. This was because paramedics would have arrived at the accident to administer emergency care sooner, and he would have arrived at hospital more quickly.

Twenty five years later and the Devon Air Ambulance Trust has helped to save thousands of lives, and up until August 2017 has flown a staggering 24,715 missions.

Noel Edmunds, TV presenter and friend of Dr Ann Ralli, has been a supporter of the charity from the beginning. Noel Edmunds commented on the Trust's 25 years: “My love affair with helicopters began in the late 1970s when I qualified as a PPL(H). Since then I have flown thousands of hours as pilot in command. The helicopter is still 'the only method of transport devised by man which has saved more lives than it has taken.

"Ann turned the tragedy of personal loss into the Devon Air Ambulance service that we see today. Hers is an incredible story and her achievement totally remarkable. Of course she couldn’t do it alone but believe me she had to overcome several barriers. After 25 years of service, it's important to reflect upon the massive achievement of the aircrew, the medics and the fundraisers who provide a professional service of the very highest calibre." Noel also recounts how the Devon Air Ambulance had helped him personally: "When I lived in Devon I had a very unpleasant fall, within minutes I was on my way to the RD&E in a helicopter and later that day I was allowed home. As we celebrate a quarter-century of the Devon Air Ambulance we must remember it was made possible by one woman’s vision and her determination to ensure that everyone, wherever they are in the county of Devon can, at the worst of times, rely upon the very finest medical assistance."

The Devon Air Ambulance Trust will celebrate 25 years at an event in Exeter on 9th September 2017. Not only will helicopters be stationed at the event for the day there will also be a live emergency services demonstration as well as live music, pop-up shops, refreshments and children's activities.


Date: 17 August 2017

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