A teacher has shared the heart-breaking reason she signed up to become a volunteer for the air ambulance - as the charity gets ready to mark its 25th anniversary.

Sarah Horne, who teaches at Blackburn College, has volunteered since her husband, Russell, was killed in a car crash in 2006.

The bus driver, 64, was behind the wheel of a Lancashire United X40 service from Manchester to Great Harwood when he crashed with an articulated lorry on the A56 near Edenfield.

Russell was treated and taken to Royal Preston Hospital by North West Air Ambulance following the crash but died around three hours later. 

Sarah Horne volunteering for the North West Air Ambulance charitySarah Horne volunteering for the North West Air Ambulance charity (Image: NWAA)

Five years after the incident, Sarah began volunteering for the charity due to its importance to her and her family.

She said: “For us, the whole family, the fact that the air ambulance was there and picked him up so quickly, he was still conscious when they arrived, he would have known they were there, he would have known that and felt safe.

“The North West Air Ambulance Charity is incredibly important because it’s very comforting to know that he had the best people with him and that he got the best medical attention as soon as possible.”

In her teaching role, Sarah spent a lot of time talking to groups as a volunteer and she has been able to do perform that role which complements and utilises her skills from her working life.

She added: “I volunteer in honour of my husband. He was killed six months before retirement and hasn’t had a retirement.

“I’m glad to spend my retirement usefully, supporting something as a family we feel is important.

“I’ve had so much fun. I would recommend it to anybody else. It’s been a wonderful experience over the years.

Sarah has volunteered for the charity since 2011Sarah has volunteered for the charity since 2011 (Image: NWAA)

“Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking I fancy a ride in a helicopter today. Nobody knows that they might need their service. NWAA provides this lifesaving service every day of the year for everybody, and I think that means everybody has a responsibility to support the charity, to keep it going, because you don’t know when you might need it.”

Helen Doward, head of volunteer engagement at the charity said: “Volunteers like Sarah help save lives every day. Sarah has touched so many people's lives by sharing her story, she has inspired new donors, new volunteers and new supporters over many years, and we are incredibly humbled by her dedication. 

 “At NWAA, more than  500 volunteers, just like Sarah, help us generate essential funds for our charity. By sharing their skills and giving us the gift of their time, they truly make a lifesaving difference.”