THAMES Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) is celebrating its 21st anniversary and has dedicated the milestone to its former patients and families.

We have taken a look back at the charity’s history to mark the occasion.

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In April 1999, the Automobile Association (AA) helped to set out the country’s first national air ambulance association, following a £14million donation to fund seven helicopters across the UK.

In December, the first helicopter, the A109 Augusta, arrived, which was painted yellow with AA livery.

In 2002, the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust became fully funded by the communities of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire.

In 2007, TVAA relocated from its original home at White Waltham Airfield, moving to RAF Benson as its new operating base.

2008 was a big year for TVAA, as it reached 10,000 missions in the summer.

2013 took TVAA to new heights in terms of medical practice and delivery, as its HEMS Crew Course was introduced, the first course of its kind delivered to HEMS crews in the region.

In September, TVAA used a modern ultrasound machine on board the helicopter for the first time for real-time imaging and diagnosis of injuries.

In 2014, TVAA became the first ambulance to carry a portable blood analysis (I-Stat) machine on board, and the second air ambulance to carry blood.

2015 was the year the charity purchased its current helicopter, the G-TVAL, optimised for operating at night.

TVAA also launched its first road emergency response vehicle in the autumn, allowing it to dispatch two crews per shift and reach locations unsuitable for the helicopter.

In October 2018, TVAA began operation as an independent healthcare provider.

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In 2020 TVAA became the first air ambulance to receive an overall ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission.

In September, TVAA kicked off its 21st anniversary celebrations with Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, the charity’s crew and former patients at an event at White Waltham Airfield.

If you would like to donate to the TVAA then go online to