Northern Ireland’s new Air Ambulance will be based on the site of the former Maze/Long Kesh prison.
The appeal fund was set up following the death of Tandragee medic Dr John Hinds, who died at the Skerries 100 races.
Family and friends of Milford teenager Lesley-Ann McCarragher have also been among those actively fundraising to help make the Air Ambulance a reality.
Now Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have announced the former prison site will be made available to ‘host’ the Air Ambulance.
They said: “We are delighted to make land at Maze Long Kesh available to bring this goal a step closer to reality.
“This is another example of the Executive working together to deliver results that make a real difference.
“We look forward to an accessible air ambulance service becoming operational as soon as possible to help save lives when time is critical.
“Executive Ministers stand ready to do all they can to help to make that happen.
“The service will play an important role as we re-shape our health service in the years ahead and will help ensure that we provide the best possible emergency care for people when speed is of the essence.”
The First Minister and deputy First Minister also paid tribute to all those who have campaigned, worked, raised funds and donated money for the air ambulance.
“We think particularly today of the late Dr John Hinds, who was a strong advocate of establishing this service. It will be a fitting tribute to him.
“Great credit must go to the trustees of the charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland who have worked so hard to deliver the project.”
Dr John Hinds was fatally injured working as a race medic at the Skerries 100 Road Race in Dublin last year. His family and friends have been to the fore in the campaign for the air ambulance.
Speaking on behalf of the MLKDC Board, Chairman Terence Brannigan said: “I welcome the announcement by the First Minister and deputy First Minister in respect of potentially locating the air ambulance at the Maze Long Kesh Site. The Development Corporation looks forward to working with and supporting Air Ambulance NI in the future.”
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