THE Children’s Air Ambulance has flown its first mission from its new Oxford base.

The charity successfully transferred a young patient from London to Cardiff on Wednesday.

That was one week after the new helicopter base was officially unveiled at London Oxford Airport near Kidlington.

Commenting on the mission, director of operations Richard Clayton said it was a 'very special moment' for the charity.

He went on: "This is the culmination of a seven-year project and the fact we have carried out our first patient transfer in the new aircraft is a monumental event for the charity and for everyone involved in bringing this to fruition.”

Banbury Cake:

Ready to fly: Pilot Wayne Thomas. Picture: Ed Nix

The Children’s Air Ambulance is the first and only dedicated paediatric and neonatal transfer helicopter service in the country operating four times faster than road transfer.

The charity is funded entirely by donations and works closely with nine NHS clinical partner teams across Great Britain.

Shelley Riphagen, consultant in paediatric intensive care at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, said: “The team involved in the transfer reported it was a pleasure and privilege to transfer our patient in the only purpose built children’s intensive care helicopter in England.

"The journey time was reduced by over two-and-a-half hours and ensured the child arrived safely.”

Since 2013 the charity has completed more than 300 missions with its NHS clinical partners operating out of the Midlands with one aircraft but the decision to provide two helicopters at bases in the north and south of Great Britain will enable the charity to meet more needs with a target of 600 missions a year.