AN OLYMPIC rower, a Paralympic cyclist and a Rugby World Cup winner are among the latest high profile names to back the life-saving work of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.
Eight sporting stars, including Zac Purchase, David Stone and Neil Back, were unveiled as ambassadors for the charity at its operational airbase near Strensham Services on Tuesday (February 4).
Former hockey player Jane Sixsmith has also take on the role along with Paralympians Mickey Bushell, Ricky Balshaw, Ryan Cockbill and Katrina Hart.
It will see the athletes support the charity with its fund-raising and awareness campaigns as it aims to raise £6.5million this year.
Purchase, who won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said: “I had gone up and down past this base throughout my school life and I never knew it was here, but I have now had the chance to come down here and meet them.
“These guys do a huge amount of work and don’t always get the recognition for it, so it will be nice to help give something back.”
Figures from the charity show that sporting incidents were in its top five call-outs as it responds to about 3,000 emergency incidents a year.
Back, who was a member of England’s Rugby World Cup-winning squad in 2003, added: “Injuries sustained on the rugby pitch can often be life threatening and serious due to the physical nature of rugby being a contact sport.
“The charity often attends to incidents where players have serious head, neck and spinal trauma. It is absolutely vital that these types of injuries receive the fastest possible medical care.”
Hanna Sebright, chief executive at the charity, said: “I am delighted and honoured on behalf of the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity to welcome so many remarkable Olympians, Paralympians and sporting heroes to help support our cause.
“The profile and awareness that they can individually and collectively bring to the charity is invaluable and one for which we are truly grateful.”