Cambs: Crash Victim Says Thanks To Air Ambulance

7 December 2012, 14:52 | Updated: 7 December 2012, 16:35

More than a dozen people joined the Magpas Air Ambulance today to celebrate the charity's 40th birthday - and say a big thankyou.

Francis Gilbey from Ely, along with twelve other people from around East Anglia all have one thing in common - they have each suffered near-death experiences whilst at home, on the roads, in adverse weather conditions, or whilst taking part in leisure activities - and they gathered earlier today to mark the Magpas Air Ambulance service's 40 years.

Speaking to Heart, Francis told us he was: "I was driving home from work when I had a head-on collision at a particularly nasty bend - the airbag went off, there was lots of glass everywhere, lots of smoke. The next thing I remember, there was a Magpas Doctor who was attending me. He was very busy but you just can't thank people enough who help you like that.

Magpas were brilliant, I like to thank them very much; if it wasn't for them, I may not be here. How can you thank anyone enough for helping save your life?"



  • Magpas was the brainchild of Dr Neville Silverston MBE. He started an out of hours radio paging service for local GPs in 1971
  • That evolved into an immediate care scheme where GPs were called to the scenes of road traffic accidents in their area - the service became a registered charity in 1972
  • The Mid Anglia General Practitioner Accident Service - MAGPAS - was voluntary and the doctors responded in their own cars
  • Over the next 30 years the Ambulance service developed with staff and their fields of expertise - becoming better equipped to deal with all manner of emergencies
  • From 1997, the medics were taken to serious incidents by the police helicopter
  • By 2003 the team had become specialised with on-going training based on staffing by doctor-paramedics - with centralised shift patterns and more easily able to deal with rare incidents
  • In 2007, the police chopper was joined by Anglia Two, an Air Ambulance helicopter operated by the East Anglia Air Ambulance Charity (withdrawn in 2010)
  • The Magpas helicopter is today based alongside the Police helicopter - and has, to date, attended 60,000 people