Wiltshire Air Ambulance distances itself from rival

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The Wiltshire Air Ambulance has distanced itself from a national charity raising funds for an air ambulance service for children.

The Children's Air Ambulance wants to provide a dedicated service for children who need urgent hospital transfers.

The Wiltshire service has highlighted the charity's past financial problems on its own website.

The Children's Air Ambulance has told the BBC its debt is behind it.

'Not connected'

The Wiltshire Air Ambulance said in an online statement: "Accounts [for the Children's Air Ambulance] were filed for the period ended 31 August 2006.

"These accounts showed income of (about) £47,000 with costs of (about) £49,000. The main cost to the charity was consultant's fees of £42,000.

"It has intimated that the Children's Air Ambulance already operate a helicopter - we are unaware that they have access to, or have ever used funds to operate, a helicopter.

"The Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal accepts that people are free to donate to any charity they wish.

"We do, however, wish to make clear that the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal is in no way connected to the Children's Air Ambulance."

A spokeswoman from the Children's Air Ambulance said: "We have clinical evidence that there is a need for our service and the evidence says there will probably be a need for about 500 children a year to be transferred by the children's air ambulance."

She added that the charity, which does not yet have a helicopter, was half way to reaching its target.

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