Outgoing air ambulance chairman looks back on 15 years of memories with the charity

Andrew Egerton-Smith is retiring as chairman of East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Andrew Egerton-Smith is retiring as chairman of East Anglian Air Ambulance. - Credit: Archant

From flying across Norfolk just one day a week in daylight to providing a 24/7 service to four counties it's no wonder Andrew Egerton-Smith is proud of his time at the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).

Current EAAA chairman Mr Egerton-Smith, 72, has played a key role in the rise of one of the region's most valued charities, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

But as Mr Egerton-Smith himself admitted, every organisation needs refreshing every now and then, which is the reason why he will stand down as chairman at the charity's AGM later this month.

However after 15 years Mr Egerton-Smith can not quite bring himself to leave for good.

'It's been part of my life for so long and I hope I can continue to contribute in a different way, as a volunteer for example,' he said.

'It will be a sad moment when I go and I'm not looking forward to it, but I know it's the right thing to do for the charity.'

Today the air ambulance operates between 7am-1.30am every day in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and Bedfordshire, and Essex and Hertfordshire during hours of darkness, a far cry from when Mr Egerton-Smith founded the charity in 2000.

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Back then the EAAA flew once per week in Norfolk in daylight, and Mr Egerton-Smith said no one knew if the charity would be a success.

'One of the hardest challenges was managing the relationship with the NHS, but the relationship remains extremely good.

'We had to establish an understanding of the level of activity which we were able to contribute.

'I'd like to say thanks to the public for their amazing fundraising and to the charity for having me so long.'

Have you been helped by the air ambulance? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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