A LIFESAVING charity has now completed more than 25,000 missions since it was launched.

The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, which has a base in Earls Colne, reached the landmark figure when it sent a team to a crash in Hertfordshire on New Year’s day.

The 25,000th mission comes on the back of a record-breaking 2019 for the charity’s critical care team, which helped 1,526 patients in their busiest ever year.

That was up slightly on a total of 1,491 patients treated by the air ambulance in 2018.

Critical care teams were called out to incidents 2,238 times last year, with the most frequent reasons being for health emergencies, crashes and accidental injuries.

Other incidents included responding to assaults and sport injuries.

Clinical director Stuart Elms said: “The last 12 months have been a hugely significant time for us.

“We are proud of two key developments over the last year.

“In March, we began carrying blood products on board our helicopters and rapid response vehicles thanks to our partnership with the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow and the Essex Voluntary Blood Service.

“We have been able to provide potentially life-saving transfusions to 35 patients suffering significant blood loss.

“Since October 2019 our critical care team has been delivering a 24/7 pre-hospital care service to the people of Essex, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas using helicopters by day and rapid response vehicles by night.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helps us. None of this would be possible without the amazing backing we receive from our supporters and volunteers across both counties and our partners in the NHS and emergency services.”