Petition handed over in memory of Tandragee doctor

8th September  2015''Petition for an Air Ambulance in Northern Ireland is handed in to Parliament Buildings at Stormont.  The petition was follows on from the work done by Dr John Hinds who died while working at a road race meeting.  Left to right.  Racing legend Brian Reid, William Dunlop, Liam Beckett, petition organiser Lisa Hemphill, TUV leader Jim Allister and petition organiser Stephen Henderson. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
8th September 2015''Petition for an Air Ambulance in Northern Ireland is handed in to Parliament Buildings at Stormont. The petition was follows on from the work done by Dr John Hinds who died while working at a road race meeting. Left to right. Racing legend Brian Reid, William Dunlop, Liam Beckett, petition organiser Lisa Hemphill, TUV leader Jim Allister and petition organiser Stephen Henderson. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
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A petition calling for the establishment of a Northern Ireland air ambulance has been presented to Stormont.

More than 70,000 people signed the petition organised by the HEMS4NI campaign after the death of Tandragee man, Dr John Hinds in July.

Handing it over to the Assembly, North Antrim MLA Jim Allister called for the Department of Health to fund and equip a new emergency helicopter.

He said, “I trust the department will rise to the challenge and this petition will encourage them to do that in a timely and expeditious manner.”

Dr Hinds, who was killed providing medical cover during a practice session for the Skerries 100 road race in Dublin, was nicknamed one of the “flying doctors” of Irish motorcycle racing.

He was a strong advocate using helicopters to speed the injured to hospital and met with Health Minister Simon Hamilton to discuss the possibility of setting up a regional air ambulance.

Online, more than 65,000 people supported the Change.org petition while a further 7,000 signatures were obtained on paper.

Dr Hinds’ family and partner Dr Janet Acheson said an air ambulance would be a fitting tribute.

A statement said, “We are humbled by the number of people who have signed the petition organised by HEMS4NI.

“It was John’s great wish to see a properly structured HEMS set up in Northern Ireland and we sincerely thank all those people who are working so hard to make his dream a reality.

“There could be no greater legacy to John than saving lives.”