New airbase is taking shape as fundraising appeal continues

Wiltshire Air Ambulance held a topping out ceremony on Oct. 12, 2017, to mark the progress of the building work on its new airbase at Semington, near Melksham, U.K.

Representatives of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, its primary contractor Rigg Construction (Southern) Limited, and its architects and project managers gather inside the new airbase construction site for the topping out ceremony. Wiltshire Air Ambulance Photo
Representatives of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, its primary contractor Rigg Construction (Southern) Limited, and its architects and project managers gather inside the new airbase construction site for the topping out ceremony. Wiltshire Air Ambulance Photo
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The project is over half way through, and the roof of the airbase is on; most of the exterior walls are complete, and the floors are down.

Representatives of Wiltshire Air Ambulance — its primary contractor Rigg Construction (Southern) Limited of Bowerhill, Melksham — and its architects and project managers — CMS, based in Corsham — were at the site for the topping out ceremony.

David Philpott, chief executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “It is so exciting for everyone at Wiltshire Air Ambulance to see the progress of the work on the new airbase. It was just under six months ago that we were standing here in an empty field for our groundbreaking ceremony and now the airbase is taking shape, literally, before our eyes.

“I’d like to thank our primary contractor, Rigg Construction (Southern) Limited, and our architects and project managers, CMS, for their work in creating and building an airbase that will benefit the entire county for many years to come.

“The custom-built airbase will bring together the helicopter, aircrew and charity team onto one site for the first time and secure the future of the charity,” Philpott added.

The central location of the new airbase means that the helicopter will be able to reach all parts of Wiltshire within 11 minutes, just as it does now from the current base in Devizes.

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The new two-story airbase is approximately 16,146 square feet. Its facilities include a flight and operations center for its aircrew, a hangar for the helicopter and medical equipment, offices for the charity team, a training suite and a visitors’ viewpoint.

The charity has received just over £2.7 million from a benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, and £1 million from the LIBOR fund for the new airbase. Together with other funding and pledges, the charity has raised 90 percent of its overall £5.1 million project costs.

The charity is asking people to help raise the remaining funds now that it is on its final push to complete the building and equipping of the new airbase, before it becomes operational by next summer.

Anna Cole, a trustee of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We’ve had a tremendous response from the public to our Airbase Appeal so far and as we enter the next phase of construction work we still need to raise the remaining funds to make our new airbase a reality. Wiltshire Air Ambulance has been saving lives for over 27 years, and our new airbase will enable us to save many more lives in the future.

To donate to the Airbase Appeal and find out how to get involved, visit the Wiltshire Air Ambulance website.

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