How tragedy in Sidbury led to formation of Devon Air Ambulance Trust

Ann and Ceri Thomas

Ann and Ceri Thomas - Credit: Archant

The sister of Sidbury teenager Ceri Thomas has reflected on how his tragic death 30 years ago led to the formation of a charity that has saved countless lives.

Ann Thomas with the Devon Air Ambulance crew at its launch in 1992

Ann Thomas with the Devon Air Ambulance crew at its launch in 1992 - Credit: Archant

Writing online last Thursday, Antonia Latour said: “Thirty years ago today, a teenager rode out of his driveway on his bicycle, into the path of a car. He was hit and in the 80 minutes or so it took to get him to hospital, his injuries became irreparable and he died.

“He was my brother. The lives of everyone in my family broke into a thousand pieces that day. This was, however, the tragic, unfathomably terrible event that led to the creation of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

“Although we do not have our Ceri, thousands of families have their special people because of the nearly 25 years the air ambulance has been operational.”

The charity was formed thanks to the ‘tireless’ work of Ceri and Antonia’s mum, Ann Ralli.


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The air ambulance flew its first operation in 1992, bought its second helicopter in 2013, and has now extended its operating hours until midnight.

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