LIFESAVERS need the support from the people of Dorset.

The air ambulance charity, which covers the county, is urging the public to help raise funds and awareness during National Air Ambulance Week (NAAW) which takes place between September 24 to 30.

It comes as it is revealed the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance was scrambled to almost 300 emergencies in the first half of this year.

Since its launch 12 years ago, the distinctive yellow helicopter has attended more than 8,850 incidents, saving many lives and aiding recovery with the speed at which casualties have been taken to hospital.

The charity running the aircraft receives no funding from the government or National Lottery and relies almost entirely on the generosity of the public to keep it flying.

The operational costs of the Eurocopter 135 are £1.4 million a year.

NAAW is an initiative put together by the Air Ambulance Association, the organisation that unites charities with operators and gives a national voice to a local service.

Fundraisers say by supporting your local air ambulance you will be making a big difference.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance chief executive Bill Sivewright said: “We have been delighted by the response of the public in showing their support for NAAW. Many people have already got in touch to tell us their plans.

“Schools are getting involved by holding dress down days. Others are organising sponsored runs or bike rides with their friends and family and some people are even doing parachute jumps in aid of the charity.

“It’s not too late to get involved. “There are initiatives already in place which are simple to implement and need very little pre-planning.

“We can provide support and all the encouragement you need. “Whatever you decide to do, rest assured that all monies raised will stay locally and help us raise the £1.5 million a year it costs to keep us flying.”

To register your event or find out more call 01823 669604 or visit dsairambulance.