Helicopter crews at a life-saving North-East charity have been kitted out with new safety equipment after a £1,000 grant obtained through a local building society.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service was awarded a grant of £1,058 grant via Newcastle Building Society’s Ponteland branch for three new flight suits which will allow crews to be better protected against the elements and to increase their visibility, even in low light.

The funding was provided by the building society’s Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which was set up to offer grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities it served.

Each flight suit, which costs over £350, comprises a flight top, flight trousers and knee and elbow pads and is designed so it can easily be adapted to different weather conditions.

Andy Mawson, director of operations at the air ambulance, said: “These specialist flight suits are absolutely essential equipment for our crew members. They are made of the same material that a Formula One driver would wear, making them not only very safe but also hard wearing.

“Their adaptable design is essential as our air ambulance doctors can go from treating a patient in a cosy living room to being on a cold mountain edge during an average shift, and they need to be comfortable working in both environments.

“We’re very grateful to the Society for helping us continue our work through this donation.”