TODAY the Evening Telegraph is calling on its readers to help save five people's lives in 2008 by backing our Saving Lives appeal.
We are asking readers to help raise 20,000 to save lives this year by supporting our charity of the year, the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.
It costs the air ambulance 3,000 a day to run before the helicopter even leaves the launch pad.
The service estimates it saves one life a day through its missions, yet it receives no Government funding and relies entirely on donations.
Last year, it flew 61 missions in Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and Rushden.
Tracy Grunwell, Northamptonshire fundraising manager for the air ambulance, said: "We have no Government or lottery funding whatsoever.
Every penny we get – sometimes we get a 20 donation, sometimes we get 10,000 – has an impact.
"It's absolutely brilliant to be working more closely with the Evening Telegraph. I think people just don't think that they will ever need us until someone they know does. Our slogan is 'help us today because you might need us tomorrow' and it's so true.
"You see the air ambulance flying over the area and take no notice of it until you or someone you know needs it.
"The air ambulance is very important because it saves lives, it gives people who probably otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to live."
Air ambulance chief executive Andy Williamson said: "Our service is probably one of the most valuable life-saving services in the country.
Without the air ambulance a lot of people would die.
"The service is fantastic and, as I hope everybody knows, is totally voluntarily funded so we need everyone's help."
Everyone who donates to the local air ambulance through the Evening Telegraph's campaign will be listed on a roll of honour, which will be updated and published weekly throughout 2008.
Evening Telegraph editor Jeremy Clifford said: "It is very rare we ask our readers to raise money for charity, but we felt compelled to back the air ambulance because of the value of its work.
"Without the service many more people would have died last year. By committing ourselves to raise 20,000, we know our readers will help to save at least five people's lives. It is a small price to ask and we are confident our readers will help us hit the target."
The ambulance service has about 10 volunteers from the Evening Telegraph area who do everything from collecting cash to working as voluntary paramedics on board the air ambulance.
The air ambulance usually flies five or six missions a day, but sometimes attends up to 13 calls.
To visit the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance website click here.