A LIFE-SAVING charity will be showing up across the county to raise money as part of an annual week of appreciation.

National Air Ambulance Week will be running from September 9-15 and volunteers and staff from Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) will be at venues across Essex and Hertfordshire to raise awareness.

The collection crew speaking to members of the public, collecting donations and selling pin badges.

This annual initiative sees air ambulance charities from Scotland to Cornwall working together to publicise their work and raise funds.

Of course, raising money for their incredible work takes sustained support.

The UK’s air ambulance charities are funded by the generosity of the public and treat over 25,000 patients a year.

EHAAT’s head of fundraising Jon Rodriguez said: “We bring the hospital to the patient, but we couldn’t do it without our amazing supporters.

“National Air Ambulance Week is a fantastic opportunity for us to talk to people in the community about how their donation really does make a difference to our work.”

“It costs over £750,000 a month to cover all our costs and with no direct funding from central Government we depend on the people of Essex and Hertfordshire to remain operational and saving lives.”

Operating out of their base in Earls Colne, the funds go towards vital equipment, vehicles and their maintenance, and brilliant doctors like Alex.

Alex Alexiou, 36, has been working with the team since February as pre-hospital care doctor.

He spoke to us about how much he’s learnt by joining the team.

Dr Alexiou said: “I’ve done ten years of my training in London and a couple of years in Australia.

“Our doctors are on rotation here so normally we join the service and do a year stint.

“I’m just past the halfway mark, ten months, and it’s been brilliant, a great job.

“I’m used to working in a hospital, I’ve done some out-of-hospital work before.

“The geography is completely different since everything is a lot further away than you think it is.

“In London, you’re never further than ten minutes from a hospital wherever you are.

“Here, you have trips of 45 minutes to an hour so you’re conscious you’re a little bit more exposed to the element.

“I grew up in Hertfordshire so it’s kind of like my home patch. The geography is different, but the medicine is the same.”

“Generally, the summer tends to be busier for the air ambulance because the weather’s better, people are our on their bikes, motorbikes, quad bikes or horses and doing more outdoor stuff.

“This tends to bring with it a higher risk of injury and accident.

“In the winter, hospitals are busier, but this relates more to illness rather than trauma.

“The skills you learn and the exposure you get from patients in a major event and what you learn from that are unique.

“You sometimes don’t see that in hospital because the pathology is different at several stages.

“If I wasn’t on a year rotation, oh yeah, I would come back.

“I think if you take any doctor who works in a hospital and asked them if they wanted to do this long-term, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t put their hand up and say ‘yes please’.”

EHAAT staff and volunteers will be collecting money at the Co-op in Halstead from September 11-14.

For details, visit ehaat.org/naaw.