MP and long-term supporter Tracey Crouch found out more about the Kent Air Ambulance’s life-saving work during a visit to its new Rochester Airport headquarters.
The service relies on income from the public to fund its operations across Kent, Surrey and Sussex and needs to raise more than £11m a year to keep flying.
Each emergency callout costs an average of £3,700.
Scroll down to hear from the chair of trustees
During the visit, she presented chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr Helen Bowcock with a donation collected from people who attended her recent pensioners' fair.
The Chatham and Aylesford MP also had the opportunity to inspect one of the charity’s three specially-equipped helicopters and to meet members of the medical and flight crew.
Miss Crouch said: “The highly-skilled crews of Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex service put the people of their community at the heart of everything they do. It is essential we continue to support an organisation striving to save lives every minute of every day.
“The air ambulance plays a vital role in supporting the publicly-funded emergency services and I was privileged to get an update on its life-saving work and to make a contribution, on behalf of my constituents, to its running costs.”
Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex is an independent charity, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with crews able to fly to any part of the region within 25 minutes.
Last year its services were required for more than 2,000 people in life-threatening situations.
The vast majority of the income it receives comes from the public, including lottery subscriptions.
Dr Bowcock said: “We were delighted to welcome Tracey to our new headquarters at Rochester and are particularly grateful to her for her support and to all of those people who contributed to the donation that she has presented to us today.
“It seems most appropriate that, as someone who has had ministerial responsibility for the charity sector, she is the first MP to visit us here and to acknowledge the pioneering and life-saving service that our charity delivers.”
The charity celebrates its 30th anniversary this year having started as the Kent Air Ambulance in November 1989.
Initially based at Rochester Airport, which is now part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, it moved to Marden in 2000 before returning to its original home last year.