RICHARD Youens, who was instrumental in a campaign to establish Wiltshire Air Ambulance as an independent charity, has retired as a trustee.
However, the charity is delighted to announce that Mr Youens will retain links with Wiltshire Air Ambulance as he has accepted the honorary title of Lifetime President. The Board of Trustees of Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust unanimously agreed to award this role to Mr Youens in recognition of the immense contribution that he has made to Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Mr Youens’ links with Wiltshire Air Ambulance began in 2008 when he led a group of like-minded Wiltshire residents who were concerned with the long-term future of it.
Back then the charity was called the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal and was governed by the Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS).
As a result of a petition by the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald newspaper signed by almost 20,000 people and the determination and persistence of Mr Youens and his colleagues, GWAS renewed the partnership with Wiltshire Police for a further five years to share the force’s helicopter.
Significantly, GWAS agreed to relinquish control of Wiltshire Air Ambulance in order that it could become an independent charity, leading to the formation of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust in October 2011.
Mr Youens, who lives in Rushall, near Pewsey, was the Chairman of the Trust from the beginning for three years, after which he became the President.
In the last seven years a significant amount has been achieved by the charity, including the challenge of increasing its fundraising four-fold and the building of the new airbase at Semington, near Melksham, bringing together the operational, fundraising and administrative teams.
Mr Youens said: “I am very proud to have been around to witness a period of quite remarkable developments at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, none of which would have been possible without the dedicated efforts of our brilliantly led charity staff, backed by so many hard-working volunteers from all over the county, not to mention our brave paramedics and pilots.
“Needless to say I am much flattered to become Lifetime President, prestige without responsibility does have its attractions and I welcome the excuse to keep in touch with all the lovely people involved in the charity.”
Chris Lear, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Wiltshire Air Ambulance Charitable Trust, said: “Richard Youens’ contribution to Wiltshire Air Ambulance over the past ten years has been immense and we thank him for his sterling work in helping to establish our charity and putting it on a secure footing.
“We are sorry to see Richard retiring as a Trustee but are delighted that he has accepted the role of Lifetime President so we can have the benefit of his experience and wisdom.”
Charity Chief Executive David Philpott said: “I feel proud to be able to call Richard my friend. A man of great integrity and old-fashioned values, he has always put the wellbeing of staff and the needs of the people of Wiltshire at the centre of every decision he has ever made as a member of the Board. I am delighted that he has been recognised with this honorary title and look forward to our ongoing partnership.”