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In action: the current-day air ambulance

In action: the current-day air ambulance

Five weeks after the crash a new helicopter lifted off carrying the initials GMT for Graham, Mark and Tony.

The helicopter was launched from Rochester airport, watched by the families of the tragic crew.

At the time Mark’s widow Sue, said: “It’s a wonderful fitting tribute to the three of them - we know they would all have wanted it to fly again.”

All three cared passionately about the air ambulance and their goal was to have the helicopter flying every day of the year.

Just hours before the crash the trio had attended a fund-raising event for the 365 Campaign.

Following the disaster KAA chief executive Kate Chivers renewed her calls for the service to run seven days a week.

Speaking at the time, she said: “Graham, Mark and Tony all believed that it should be a seven-day service - we would be doing them an injustice if we did not make it our continuing aim.”

Following the crash a huge wave of sympathy swept across Kent as people made it clear how much they valued the air ambulance service and the courage of the crew. Donations, sympathy cards and letters of support flooded the Trust’s headquarters.

In the two months that followed the tragedy, donations topped £75,000. The money raised helped the Trust to secure the helicopter which is still used by the service today.

The Kent Air Ambulance became a seven-day service in January 2000 and shortly afterwards moved from its Rochester base to Marden near Maidstone.

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