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Charity begins fundraiser for air ambulance that has carried out over 100 missions in two months

The country's first charity-led Air Ambulance has launched a major public fundraising appeal.

The Cork-based HEMS or Helicopter Emergency Medical Service needs to raise €2m each year to keep it airborne.

It has flown more than 100 missions in its first two months of service and pilot and Operations Officer, John Murray, said it is clearly worth it.

Mr Murray said: "With approximately 100 missions in two months, we've attended all sorts of incidences - road traffic collisions, farm accidents, boating, equestrian, medical, such as cardiac events and strokes - so it is a service that is available to and applicable to everyone in the country.

"The service utilises special ambulance service paramedics who are tasked by the National Ambulance Service as well.

"Given the speed of the helicopter combined with the medical expertise of the on-board crew we can actually, with just this one base, put the population of a 10,000 square mile area within 20 minutes of critical care, which is phenomenal."