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Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has donated a second sum of £25,000 to Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA).

For part of last year, the charity had to lease a helicopter after its Bell 429 aircraft was grounded for technical reasons. The cost of the lease exceeded £100,000, which was not budgeted and therefore made a major impact on its finances.

Nevertheless, it still undertook its most missions since the Melksham-based WAA became a stand-alone air ambulance, with no direct government funding, in 2015.

According to the latest figures, last year it undertook 1,233 missions, with 920 via its rapid response cars and 313 by helicopter. More than one third, 479, were carried out at night. 23 took place in the Malmesbury area.

One of these, Rick Dalgleish, 73, a former airline pilot, who lives with his wife Jean in nearby Charlton, suffered a major cardiac arrest in August and was airlifted to the BRI in Bristol where his life was saved.

MLOF chairman David Hide said: “This is the second sum of £25,000 we have donated to WAA, which carries out such important work in Wiltshire and surrounding areas, and continues to be supported entirely by voluntary donations. We are delighted to have contributed towards the additional and unexpected cost of leasing another helicopter and so enable the WAA to continue with its vital work.”

Barbara Gray, Director of Income Generation and Communications for the charity, said “ We are so grateful for the continued support of the Malmesbury League of Friends and their generous donation of £25,000 towards the additional costs we incurred by leasing a replacement helicopter last year.

“ In our rural county, our helicopter can reach locations which are inaccessible  for land ambulances, enabling our critical care team to treat seriously injured or unwell people in a timely manner.

“ On average, we are called to three incidents a day in our helicopter and Rapid Response Vehicles (cars). These have the same specialist medical equipment that is on board the helicopter, so when one is unable to fly, we can still provide gold standard medical care to patients.”

MLOF trustees with WAA paramedics at the WAA headquarters

Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has donated £500 to the town’s alternative community magazine, The Malmesbury Jackdaw.

Raphe Langdon (L) and Andy Griffin (R) receive the £500 cheque
from MLOF chairman David Hide

The Jackdaw has been a popular feature of the town for several years under founding editors Dave Witt and the late James York Moore, who have been succeeded by the editorial team of Andy Griffin, Richard Harris and Raphe Langdon.

The new team is particularly keen to increase its circulation to young readers and, in this connection, are offering support to the Malmesbury Boxing Club.

Editor Andy Griffin commented: “ Through increased circulation, we hope in particular to encourage young Malmesbury residents to become involved in healthy, character-building activities. We are massively impressed with the work that the Boxing Club coaches Mike Rees and Gareth Thomas are undertaking.

“ We are very grateful to MLOF for this generous donation, which will assist in our quest to continue providing the town with a community magazine that’s both informative and entertaining. In so doing, the Jackdaw will continue to highlight opportunities and activities that will be of interest to everyone in the town and especially young readers”.

MLOF Chairman David Hide said: “ We were impressed with the plan by the Jackdaw’s team to increase its circulation, especially to young readers. They  are being encouraged to take up membership of the Boxing Club or other similar groups and so keep them occupied in healthy and constructive activities. We are happy to support this worthy objective.”


Alderton is the latest local parish council to have a life-saving defibrillator, situated outside the Alderton Village Hall, and which has been largely funded by Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF).

Eight local parish councils have already received funding from MLOF to install  defibrillators in their villages. Many local parishes already have them, and others are still considering the offer from MLOF of £1,500 each towards their installation.

Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) have been described as the single most important development in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest. Designed for use by untrained lay persons, they have improved the outcomes of literally thousands of people who have suffered from cardiac arrests.

MLOF chairman David Hide said: “ We are delighted to have helped towards the installation of a defibrillator in Alderton. We’d like to hear from any other local parish councils who do not currently have one.”

Richard McCraith,  Chair of Luckington & Alderton Parish Council, said: “ We are very grateful to have received this help from MLOF in placing this life-saving facility in the village.”

(l-r) – George Lynham, David Hide, Chairman MLOF, Richard McCraith, Chairman Alderton & Luckington PC with the defibrillator outside the Alderton Village Hall.

MLOF trustees photo

Pictured above are the MLOF trustees. From left to right, Paul Hewson, Lucy Hay, chairman David Hide, Sonia La Fontaine and Alison Lewis. In the back row are Harry Walmsley, Dr James Hanslip, Keith Maslin, Hayley Webb, Jane Jones and David Rutherford. One of our new trustees Dawn Halsey was unable to attend.

MLOF donates £10,000 towards Fibroscan appeal

Malmesbury League of Friends (MLOF) has donated £10,000 towards the Brighter Futures appeal to purchase a new Fibroscan machine for the benefit of Great Western Hospital (GWH) patients who have liver disease or are in danger of developing it.

The Fibroscan can assess the degree of liver damage with a non-invasive test which is painless, quick and easy to administer. It replaces the need for an invasive liver biopsy and allows the hepatology unit at GWH to instigate a treatment plan promptly.

In the next few years, liver disease is expected to overtake heart disease as the biggest cause of premature death and is already the largest cause of premature death among 35-49 year olds in the UK. More than  90% of liver disease is due to three main factors: obesity, alcohol and viral hepatitis.

MLOF chairman David Hide said: “ We know that liver disease is increasing, so we are delighted to support this appeal to acquire a Fibroscan which will make diagnosis so much quicker and easier.”

Dr Moby Joseph, the consultant who heads the specialist liver unit at GWH, said:” This Fibroscan will make a huge difference to the diagnosis of liver disease. We have over 500 patients currently receiving treatment at GWH.”

More information from:

Jane Leighton – Brighter Futures – Tel: 01793 646029 or 07974 927919

David Hide – MLOF – Tel: 01666 824148 or 07887 932253

MLOF has donated £10,000 to equip a new Life Education Classroom (LEC), which visits primary schools throughout Wiltshire.

Pictured above are Rotarian Ray Sanderson (left) with MLOF chairman David Hide and children from Hullavington School in front of the Life Education Classroom

The new LEC replaces the one that has been operating in the county since the late eighties. It provides children from 3-11 years with the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy life decisions. It includes education on drug misuse, health, relationships and well-being.

The new vehicle was purchased by eleven Rotary Clubs from across Wiltshire, who raised £12,000, and a grant of £30,000 from the worldwide Rotary Foundation.

MLOF Chairman David Hide said: “ We are delighted to support this very important project. It is vital that young children, faced with all the challenges of modern life, are given the essential life skills, particularly the dangers of drug misuse.”

Royal Wotton Bassett & District Rotarian Ray Sanderson said: “ We are extremely grateful to MLOF for this generous donation. I would like to thank all those Rotary Clubs who enabled the purchase of the LEC, which will benefit children in Wiltshire for many years to come.”