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Air ambulance £73m payout?

PUBLISHED: 15:08 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:14 23 August 2010

CHARITIES hope to win a share of a £73million airline cash payout resulting from a legal case in America. Kent Air Ambulance chief executive David Philpott said a court ruling allows the repayment of the massive sum to thousands of British victims of an

CHARITIES hope to win a share of a £73million airline cash payout resulting from a legal case in America.

Kent Air Ambulance chief executive David Philpott said a court ruling allows the repayment of the massive sum to thousands of British victims of an alleged unlawful price fixing arrangement.

The ruling, in the Northern California District Court, was made last month after the court heard British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were involved.

A website has now been set up by the boss of the countywide charity to advise potential beneficiaries to claim and donate any sums recovered to charity.

He said: "There is £73million up for grabs, which if gift-aided to charity would amount to almost £100million.

"As the credit crunch bites, charities will need to be ever more resourceful in their fundraising, and it seems to me this is a pain-free way to ask supporters to help."

Anybody who flew long-haul with either airline between August 11, 2004, and March 23, 2006 is entitled to claim up to £20. In the USA, if individuals do not make a claim the remaining pot of money goes to charity, but despite Mr Philpott's efforts to persuade the American courts to afford British citizens the same rights, no arrangement is in place in the UK. It is estimated that almost one in 10 of the British population may be entitled to claim.

Mr Philpott added: "By registering a claim and then passing that money onto the charity of their choice, thousands of good causes can benefit, whether they be a small playgroup or a national charity."

The emergency helicopter, with a highly skilled doctor and paramedic, responds to an average of three serious medical emergency calls every day.

Its costs about £3million a year to support the vital life-saving service, covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex. To find out more about the service, visit www.givethatmoneytocharity.co.uk

l KAA is hoping to recruit volunteers in north Kent. Bosses are particularly keen to find bilingual people to give talks to ethnic community groups.

Jill Playle, director of communications for Kent Air Ambulance, said: "We are often invited to talk about our work in communities whose first language isn't English.

"It would be much easier for these audiences to understand and enjoy the talks, if the speaker were fluent in those languages."

Volunteers will receive full training and expenses. To find out more, call 01622 833833.

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