Abbie Hawkins is Events Coordinator with Midlands Air Ambulance and a huge racing fan. Her work highlights the vital role of the charity and, as she explains, why people at the sharp end of the sport are pleased to have them on hand.
I felt privileged when asked to write a piece for the Racing Together blog. I am particularly impressed with the work of the charity Racing to School, as I think what they do is brilliant and it is so important to get young people involved in racing. I have been very lucky to have grown up within the industry. I have seen it from both sides: I have worked in yards since the age of 13 and had my fair share of falls… haven’t we all? However, I have also been lucky enough to see it from an owner’s side, as my family have always owned horses in training. Whichever side you come from it comes down to one simple thing… I love it!
Active in one of racing’s heartlands
Everyone in racing plays a vital role in keeping the sport evolving, running and safe. My love of racing is what drew me to my current job, in fact. I now work for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC) and have done for the past four years. I thought, what’s better than a charity that is vitally important to equestrian racing and sport?
The charity covers Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, the West Midlands and Worcestershire, however the service does cross borders when required to support fellow Air Ambulance charities. Our team predominantly serves Cheltenham, Hereford, Ludlow, Uttoxeter, Wolverhampton, and Worcester racecourses, as well as supporting others out of area. We also have several trainers in our area, including Henry Daly, Henry Oliver, Alistair Ralph, Ian Williams and Venetia Williams, to name a few.
They do amazing work
Zac Baker, amateur jockey for Nigel Twiston-Davies, once commented: “It is always a sad sight when I see the air ambulance flying over Gloucestershire, but also a comfort that we have the service in operation.”
On average, the charity attends an equestrian incident every four days and in 2019, equestrian incidents were the fifth most attended mission type by our air crew.
Trainer Olly Murphy said: “We will always support the air ambulance here at Warren Chase, because who knows what could happen? Horses are amazing animals but living animals at the end of the day. I just can’t believe the air ambulance is 100 per cent charity-funded, they truly do some amazing work.”
Reassurance and peace of mind
Midlands Air Ambulance Charity treats a wide range of injuries and illnesses, including cardiac arrests, strokes, road traffic collisions (RTCs), falls and sporting injuries. Our air crew attend and treat some of the Midlands most critically ill and injured patients, 365 days a year. The team operates from strategically located regional airbases, to allow our air ambulances to reach 90 per cent. of the region within eight minutes.
Jockey Patrick Mullins, son of trainer, Willie, added: “It always brings peace of mind that when we come over to England for some of the biggest events in the racing calendar that we have a service like the air ambulance. Racing is a funny game, full of highs and lows. I feel lucky that this service is in operation. I have personal experience with the amazing work they do, and because of this, my family and I hold them in very high regard.”
Danny Mullins is another rider who feels so reassured with the charity’s support of racing. “I remember riding out on the morning before the Gold Cup and seeing the air ambulance land. I was later informed that they were there as a precaution in case of any serious incidents throughout the Cheltenham Festival week. I was so impressed by this I have decided to support the charity, I will be coming over to do a behind the scenes race day with them.”
I would finally like to finish off by inviting you to contact me if you would like any more information, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.