An air ambulance charity has reached a landmark 25,000 completed missions since its was founded 21 years ago.

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) reached the figure on January 1 when the team attended a road traffic collision in Hertfordshire.

EHAAT, which receives no regular government funding and is reliant on donations, attended 1,526 patients in 2019, making it the busiest year ever for the charity’s critical care teams.

Stuart Elms, clinical director at EHAAT, said: “The last 12 months have been a hugely significant time for EHAAT.

“We are proud of two key developments over the last year. In March, we began carrying blood products on board 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.

During 2019 EHAAT’s helicopters and rapid response vehicles were dispatched a total of 2,238 times.

Medical incidents accounted for 39 per cent of the total call outs, followed by road traffic collisions (21 per cent) and accidental injuries (16 per cent).

The remaining 24 per cent included a mix of cases such as assaults and sports/leisure accidents.

Mr Elms added: “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.”