A MAN has credited the North West Air Ambulance Charity for saving his life after a collision near Woolston left him with horrific injuries.

The charity, which turned 21 on Monday, has completed more than 22,000 missions, making a difference to thousands of lives across the region.

On call 365 days a year, the NWAA crew work tirelessly to bring the hospital to the patient, relying entirely on donors, fundraisers and volunteers.

In April last year, Karl Halton was heading along the A57 Manchester Road towards Woolston when he was involved in a serious motorcycle collision.

Paramedics from NWAA were quickly on the scene, administering urgent pre-hospital care before transporting him to Aintree Hospital.

The 52-year-old from Great Sankey, said: “The North West Air Ambulance Charity were there for me at one of the worst moments of my life, and I’ll never forget their care.

"My arm and leg were shattered, my other thigh was broken and ruptured an artery, and my pelvis was shattered and detached from my spine.

"I was in a serious condition, although during the flight to Aintree I apparently told my wife to put my tea in the oven when she called, as I thought I’d only been in a slight accident!

“I’m still recovering more than a year later, but I’m so grateful I have that opportunity and it’s thanks to the brilliant work of the crew.

"This charity deserves all the support it can get, it does a truly amazing job and I urge anyone to get involved to help.”

One young supporter who wished the charity a happy birthday is nine-year-old Elizabeth who raised more than £400 by taking part in a 21-hour sponsored silence.

The Warrington youngster was inspired to fundraise after seeing the air ambulance’s paramedics on BBC One’s Ambulance.

She said: “It was hard not to talk for so long, but it was worth it to raise money for the air ambulance charity. I wanted to say thank you for its work, because its paramedics are my heroes.

"I want to be a paramedic when I grow up now, and help people just like they do.”

Heather Arrowsmith, North West Air Ambulance Charity CEO, said: “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported our charity over the years. In this time our charity has made a truly lifesaving difference to our community, thanks to the hard work of our crew, our team at HQ and volunteers, and the incredible generosity of our fundraisers and donors.

"Supporters like little Elizabeth make all the difference to our work. It takes over £9.5 million a year to remain operational, and we simply wouldn’t be here without this support.

“Our charity’s mission is to improve outcomes for patients, whether someone needs a blood transfusion by the side of the M6, has gotten into difficulties up in the Lakes or has suffered a heart attack at home. By swiftly bringing the hospital directly to the patient, our crew can make the difference between life and death.

"Patients like Karl really drive this home – and we’re so grateful to all those who have allowed us to carry out this work since 1999.”

You can take part in the charity's Go21! challenge, where you can choose any activity to help raise funds and awareness – whether that’s completing 21 laps of the garden or running 21 miles over 21 days.

Get your Go21! fundraising pack at www.nwaa.net/21bday or contact fundraising@nwaa.net.