Crawley Lions Club has pledged to raise money for the air ambulance to help save more lives at night.
The Lions will join forces with Lions clubs across the South East to try and raise £250,000 over the next ten years for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
The Air Ambulance currently operates two helicopters with two crews working from 7am – 7pm.
But early next year the charity will replace one of its aircraft with a newer helicopter with night flying capabilities which will allow the charity to operate after dark from the charity’s Redhill base and potentially save 700 more lives a year.
The funds raised by the lions will contribute towards the £1million a year needed to help the air ambulance expand its operation into night time flying.
Vice President of Crawley Lions Club Gary Davies said: “We are delighted to be involved with this project and will be meeting early January to discuss what financial contribution we will be making.
“Crawley people are very generous and will be delighted to see this project going ahead.”
Adrian Bell, chief executive of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance said: “Lions clubs have been long term supporters of the air ambulance for many years.
“This is a major step forward in forging a path to operating by night and potentially saving many more lives each year’.
A specialist doctor and paramedic crew fly in the air ambulance. They take to the scene of serious medical emergencies, and have the life-saving skills normally only found in a hospitals A & E departments.
Howard Lee, chairman of the South East Lions Night Flying Appeal Steering Committee said he was proud to be part of the life-saving project.
He said: “For quite some time, Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust has done a wonderful job during daylight hours reaching out to those in distress and bringing life-saving medical help as quickly as possible.
“Lions Clubs across the four counties have been more than pleased to assist over many years . We are proud to be able to act as one of the main catalysts to expanding the Air Ambulance service to cover the hours of darkness as well, bringing help to around 700 more people each year.
“Through this initiative, we feel we are making a difference.”