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Two police officers join international aid mission to drive emergency vehicles to the Gambia

In March 2022 two officers from Avon and Somerset Police will join fellow volunteer colleagues from across the UK and Europe to take part in Operation Zephyr, an international aid mission led by the National Police Aid Charity, to help establish functioning emergency services in The Gambia.

The Gambia is lacking an emergency ambulance service which is having a severe impact on its communities, particularly those in rural areas who are unable to access medical care.

Custody Officer Louise Arthur from Bridgewater Police Centre commented: “As volunteers with the International Police Association, we feel really lucky to be able to support the National Police Aid Charity with Op Zephyr. We’ll be part of a convoy of volunteers driving a fleet of ambulances, a fire engine and a hearse to The Gambia. These emergency vehicles will save so many lives and improve access to urgent medical care across the country, making a particular difference in rural areas.”

Taxi Compliance Officer Patrick Quinton, said: “It’s such a privilege to be part of this mission, knowing that we will be making a difference to thousands of lives. The levels of maternal and infant mortality in The Gambia are ranked among the highest in Africa and the number of amputations is also alarmingly high. Travel to aftercare at hospitals is impossible for those with more complicated injuries and the impact this has on families and their ability to find work is huge.”

It is estimated that the journey will take eight days and will depart from the UK travelling south through Europe via Spain. The convoy will travel down the West coast of Africa and travel across the Sahara, ending their journey in The Gambia.

As part of their volunteering, Taxi Compliance Officer Patrick and Custody Officer Louise now have a fundraising target of £5,000 to enable the purchase of these vehicles and any equipment they can be filled with. A JustGiving page has been set up, which you can access here: www.justgiving.com/AmbulancesForAfrica

Notes: 

  • Op Zephyr is being led by the National Police Aid Charity and supported by the International Police Association.
  • The mission are also looking to source additional equipment, such as medical equipment and ward furniture; beds, cabinets, blood pressure kits and more. Additionally, school supplies which could follow on lorries and shipping containers are also required.
  • The QR code below will take you directly to the fundraising page.
  • Please do contact the NPAC on 0844 8701 999 or email enquiries@npac.org.uk marking your email Op Zephyr if you would like to support in any way with supplies.
  • You can find out more about other missions and charitable work at http://www.npac.org.uk/