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Queen’s College Lodge, Taunton, donate £4,400 to Air Ambulance.

In Somerset & Dorset, it’s yellow, in Devon it’s red and in Cornwall it’s a combination of both those colours?  What could it be? Their air ambulances of course!               

Thanks to significant charitable donations, their presence in the sky is now a familiar and reassuring feature in our lives, operating 365 days a year – weather permitting.

At the end of August, W. Bro Ray Conneely, the 2022 WM of Queen’s College Lodge, Taunton, presented £4,400 to Debbie Birtwistle, Fundraiser for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA), on the front lawn at Queen’s College. Ray chose to support the air ambulance during his year in office, and this remarkable sum was raised by Lodge members and their guests through raffles and auctions during the four meetings over which he presided.

Before Musgrove Park Hospital gained its own heli-pad, the playing fields of Queen’s College, just a short hop ‘as the crow flies’ from the hospital, were often used by the Air Ambulance to rendezvous a patient with a road-going ambulance for the short transfer to the hospital.

It seemed particularly fitting therefore that this presentation should take place at the College, as the photo shows. 

Julian Noad, Head of College (Headmaster) was delighted to approve our presence, finding time for the photo-shoot and a brief chat afterwards. 

Debbie Birtwistle, who lives on Exmoor, was due to have been our guest at our 2022 Christmas meeting but was unable to attend due to being snowed-in at home, having been caught in the freak storm that wrought havoc across Devon and Somerset at that time.  On the day of this photo-shoot, her car broke down – another temporary hiccup!

Photo, courtesy of W.Bro Jim Wiltshire shows (L-R) Julian Noad; Ray Conneely; Debbie Birtwistle; Richard Baker.

Debbie explained that the air ambulance is 95% funded by charitable giving and, in 2022, they responded to 2,424 incidents with each mission costing approximately £3,500. 

Apart from the incredible skill of their pilots, the accompanying airborne medical teams ensure that patients arrive at the hospital with the best possible chance of positive clinical outcomes.


Richard Baker, LCO, Queen’s College Lodge.

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