Belfast Telegraph

NW200 Air Ambulance tribute to Racing Doctor John

By Paul Lindsay

In a fitting tribute to MCUI Race Doctor John Hinds who tragically lost his life earlier this year, and in light of incidents at this year's event involving spectator Violet McAfee and local racer Stephen Thompson - the official charity for the 2016 event will be the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland fund.

The need for a local airborne ambulance service was highlighted at last year's race when Violet, who was standing close to the circuit, was airlifted to hospital in Belfast following a freak crash during Saturday's Superstock race.

Violet's experience led to Province-wide support for the introduction of an air ambulance service for Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK that doesn't enjoy such a facility.

MCUI Race Doctor, John Hinds, who treated Violet at the scene was to tragically lose his own life following a crash at Skerries in July, had been instrumental in boosting the campaign for the airborne service with his eloquent endorsements.

A magnificent 84,000 people have signed a petition calling for a HEMS4NI service following John's death in a campaign supported by John's partner, Janet Atcheson and the Hinds family.

As a result the Air Ambulance NI and HEMSNI campaigns have now been integrated and are set to come to fruition in 2016.

NW200 Event Director Mervyn Whyte said: "Every race fan will be aware of the great work that the MCUI Medical team currently provide.

"So to have an airborne ambulance service in support of the team will increase the speed and quality of the medical care they provide and we hope that everyone will support this fantastic cause during NW200 race week."

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