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Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Hopes for air ambulance relaunch
Air Ambulance
The air ambulance charity operates three aircraft
A grounded air ambulance service in Cumbria could be flying again before the end of the summer, it is claimed.

Two helicopters in Cumbria and Northumberland were affected when the Great North Air Ambulance Service revealed falling donations in February.

The charity said high-profile flood and Asian tsunami appeals were to blame.

But the service is to get 25,000 from Cumbria County Council and is also seeing support for calls that it gets a share of cash from speed cameras.

The charity's Pride of Cumbria aircraft began flying just nine months ago. The Northumberland aircraft was the organisation's first and began operations in 1994.

Both are suffering a shortfall of about 20,000 a month, according to the charity.

A third aircraft based at Durham Tees Valley Airport is operating normally.

Cumbria County Council's donation follows one of 10,000 by Carlisle City Council earlier this month.

Media campaign

A county council spokeswoman said: "This is a one-off donation, which we hope will help to alleviate the charity's situation."

Another charity-run air ambulance in Cumbria has received a similar cash award from the county council.

A spokeswoman for the Great North Air Ambulance said: "We are extremely grateful for the help from Cumbria County Council."

She said that it was hoped the Cumbria aircraft would be in operation again before the end of the summer.

There is still no relaunch date for the organisation's Northumberland aircraft.

The charity is also launching a media campaign in an effort to encourage people to donate 50p a week to the charity's funds.

Cumbria County Council is also considering lobbying the government after the charity called for cash from speed camera fines to be used to help fund its operations.

A recent meeting of the authority backed the idea in principle and is seeking talks with Cumbria's safety camera partnership, which manages and operates traffic cameras in the county.

Sky-high paramedic touches down
15 Jul 03 |  England
Second air ambulance takes off
24 Mar 03 |  England

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