General manager Jack Parkinson said:
“Devon’s Air Ambulances are very much an essential part of the community we live in and we are delighted to support their vital work. We have supported the charity for a number of years, but this is the first time we have named our raceday after the charity. We hope that this raceday will help towards raising much needed funds, as well as being a great day out for all the family.”
Every year the two air ambulances, which are based in Exeter and North Devon, attend hundreds of missions. They are on call every single day of the year, and can reach any part of Devon within 15 minutes. In 2018 they attended 62 equestrian related incidents.
The service has been called to Exeter several times. Devon-born former jockey Hadden Frost was air lifted off the course in February 2015 having suffered a nasty fall. He said:
“I can’t thank the Devon Air Ambulance enough. It would scare me if I totted up how much I owe them. You don’t have to go very far to find someone who has needed them, and even if you are a happy hacker you never know when you might need them. When they arrive you feel you are in safe hands. They’re just brilliant.”
But to keep the helicopters operational cost £7.5 million in 2018, which was only possible thanks to the support received from Devon people, businesses and communities who can enjoy a day at the races in the Devon Air Ambulance’s own hospitality suite, with tickets available direct from the charity. Tracy Owen, Fundraising Manager, said:
“We are extremely grateful to Exeter Racecourse for their continued support and for naming their raceday after us. The raceday is a great day out and we hope our supporters take up the opportunity to enjoy our hospitality suite. Hadden Frost’s airlift demonstrates the necessity for our service and we’re so pleased that he has gone on to make a full recovery. Support from local businesses is vital for the future of our service and we look forward to continuing to build our relationship with Exeter Racecourse and supporting them with this excellent annual event.”
Entry is always free to under 18s at Exeter, making it the perfect family day out, with a range of free activities to enjoy including a helicopter simulator.
The Dartmoor Hillies will race at 12.20 and then seven more races will take place, with thoroughbred horses taking centre stage.
Find out more about Devon Air Ambulance Raceday here.