LIFE-SAVING paramedics have been scrambled to more than 300 incidents across Cumbria in the last year.

Members of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) were called out 345 times between August 30, 2018 and August 29 this year, with 129 of those call-outs for road traffic collisions and 65 for falls.

They were also sent out to 47 cardiac arrests, 35 medical incidents, 21 sport and leisure incidents, eight burns and seven cases of drowning.

The charity, which operates from two bases - one in Teesside and another Langwathby near Penrith - has launched an appreciation week to say thanks to the hundreds of supporters who make their vital work possible.

National Air Ambulance Week, which starts today, will see members of the service taking to the phones, writing postcards and sending emails to supporters for enabling its life-saving work in Cumbria.

The week also aims to raise the profile of the country’s air ambulances.

GNAAS paramedic, Lee Salmon, who is based at the charity’s Langwathby facility, said: “We’ve responded 345 times in the past 12 months to people within the county. Every single one of those missions was paid for by our supporters.

“We just want to take this opportunity to thank them for allowing us to get our teams out across the region to respond in often desperate circumstances.”

This week, staff at GNAAS will be given time away from their regular roles as they aim to contact thousands of supporters who have contributed over the past 12 months.

Grahame Pickering MBE, the chief executive of GNAAS, said that as well as paying for the day to day expenses of running the air ambulance service, supporters in the county had also enabled the recent upgrade of the Langwathby base.

He added: “We are the only air ambulance based in Cumbria and we now have a base in which we can put down roots and develop our service.

“It’s important that we acknowledge the efforts of those who made this happen.

“Instead of just asking for more this National Air Ambulance Week, we wanted to take a little time to thank as many of those people as possible.

“Our fundraising battle continues as ever, but we know that with this kind of support behind us, we can continue to improve our service, both in terms of the numbers of people we help, and the quality of care we offer.”

The week-long campaign comes off the back of a busy year for the team.

TV crews from More4 were allowed access for the second series of Emergency Helicopter Medics, which highlighted what members of the air ambulance, along with other services around the country, deal with on a day-to-day basis.

The nine-part series aired on the channel throughout the spring.