Our History

Magpas Air Ambulance has evolved greatly over the last 47 years. These images illustrate what the charity looked like when it first began and how much it has developed over time.

Magpas founders Dr Derek Cracknell MBE and Dr Neville Silverston MBE

Magpas founders Dr Derek Cracknell MBE and Dr Neville Silverston MBE

Answering emergency calls for Magpas in the 70's

GP's wives answering emergency calls for Magpas in the 70's

Dr Neville Silverston in the early 70's with his car and kit

Dr Neville Silverston in the early 70's with his car and kit at the time

Magpas doctors providing vital care at the scene of an incident

Magpas doctors providing vital care at the scene of an incident

One of the first official Magpas rapid response vehicles

One of the first official Magpas rapid response vehicles

Magpas at the scene of an incident in the 70's

Magpas at the scene of an incident in the 70's

Before we owned an aircraft, Magpas Air Ambulance had use of a Police Helicopter

Before we owned an aircraft, Magpas Air Ambulance had use of a Police Helicopter

Dr Rod MacKenzie with more advanced medical kit to cope with the variety of incidents Magpas attended

Dr Rod MacKenzie with more advanced medical kit to cope with the variety of incidents Magpas attended

Magpas Air Ambulance - Police helicopter, old rapid response vehicle and medical team in green

Magpas Air Ambulance - Police helicopter, old rapid response vehicle and the medical team in green uniform

Magpas Air Ambulance is one of the UK’s oldest emergency medical charities, established in 1971. The charity was founded by two GPs from Cambridgeshire, Dr Neville Silverston MBE and Dr Derek Cracknell MBE.

Following a visit to see a similar service in North Yorkshire, Dr Silverston had been inspired to create a voluntary service of family GPs in Cambridgeshire who could support the ambulance service in helping the victims of road accidents.

With the help of Dr Cracknell, together they founded the Mid Anglia General Practitioner Accident Service (MAGPAS), named after the geographical area covered by the Mid Anglia Constabulary (now Cambridgeshire Constabulary).

Dr Silverston and Dr Cracknell recruited a network of over 100 GPs around Cambridgeshire who could be called upon, day or night, to treat patients at the scene of road accidents. At the time, the ambulance service offered little medical treatment and sought to get the patient to hospital as quickly as possible. By Magpas bringing medical care to the scene of an accident, the patient had a much better chance of survival and impact of their injuries was reduced – an idea which remains at the heart of our service today.

Over the following four decades Magpas was instrumental in developing medical training and immediate care schemes across the country.

From 1997 the charity was also able to attend incidents by air, using the Cambridgeshire Police helicopter from RAF Wyton, near Huntingdon. In 2013 we acquired our own orange helicopter and are now known as Magpas Air Ambulance. We are proud to have treated over 60,000 patients since our founding in 1971.

Today our medical team combines the skills of a doctor and paramedic together on every shift. Our doctors are no longer GPs but are instead specialists in emergency medicine and our critical care paramedics are highly trained experts with significant experience in immediate care.

By bringing specialist emergency care to the scene of an incident using our rapid response vehicles or air ambulance, our mission is to save lives and reduce disability.

Our service is not state-funded and we rely on generous public donations to deliver our 24/7 lifesaving care.
Find out how you can help by making a donation or fundraising for us.

Cookies Policy

Cookies Policy

Last updated: October 24, 2017

Magpas Air Ambulance ("us", "we", or "our") uses cookies on the https://www.magpas.org.uk/ website (the "Service"). By using the Service, you consent to the use of cookies.

Our Cookies Policy explains what cookies are, how we use cookies, how third-parties we may partner with may use cookies on the Service, your choices regarding cookies and further information about cookies.

What are cookies

Cookies are small pieces of text sent to your web browser by a website you visit. A cookie file is stored in your web browser and allows the Service or a third-party to recognize you and make your next visit easier and the Service more useful to you.

Cookies can be "persistent" or "session" cookies. Persistent cookies remain on your personal computer or mobile device when you go offline, while session cookies are deleted as soon as you close your web browser.

How Magpas Air Ambulance uses cookies

When you use and access the Service, we may place a number of cookies files in your web browser.

We use cookies for the following purposes:

  • To enable certain functions of the Service
  • To provide analytics

We use both session and persistent cookies on the Service and we use different types of cookies to run the Service:

  • Essential cookies. We may use essential cookies to authenticate users and prevent fraudulent use of user accounts.
  • Analytics cookies. We may use analytics cookies to track information how the Service is used so that we can make improvements. We may also use analytics cookies to test new advertisements, pages, features or new functionality of the Service to see how our users react to them.

Third-party cookies

In addition to our own cookies, we may also use various third-parties cookies to report usage statistics of the Service, deliver advertisements on and through the Service, and so on.

What are your choices regarding cookies

If you'd like to delete cookies or instruct your web browser to delete or refuse cookies, please visit the help pages of your web browser.

Please note, however, that if you delete cookies or refuse to accept them, you might not be able to use all of the features we offer, you may not be able to store your preferences, and some of our pages might not display properly.

  • For the Chrome web browser, please visit this page from Google: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/32050
  • For the Internet Explorer web browser, please visit this page from Microsoft: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/278835
  • For the Firefox web browser, please visit this page from Mozilla: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored
  • For the Safari web browser, please visit this page from Apple: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21411?locale=en_US
  • For any other web browser, please visit your web browser's official web pages.

Where can you find more information about cookies

You can learn more about cookies and the following third-party websites:

  • AllAboutCookies: http://www.allaboutcookies.org/
  • Network Advertising Initiative: http://www.networkadvertising.org/

Cookies Policy

Last updated: October 24, 2017

Magpas Air Ambulance ("us", "we", or "our") uses cookies on the https://www.magpas.org.uk/ website (the "Service"). By using the Service, you consent to the use of cookies.

Our Cookies Policy explains what cookies are, how we use cookies, how third-parties we may partner with may use cookies on the Service, your choices regarding cookies and further information about cookies.

What are cookies

Cookies are small pieces of text sent to your web browser by a website you visit. A cookie file is stored in your web browser and allows the Service or a third-party to recognize you and make your next visit easier and the Service more useful to you.

Cookies can be "persistent" or "session" cookies. Persistent cookies remain on your personal computer or mobile device when you go offline, while session cookies are deleted as soon as you close your web browser.

How Magpas Air Ambulance uses cookies

When you use and access the Service, we may place a number of cookies files in your web browser.

We use cookies for the following purposes:
  • To enable certain functions of the Service
  • To provide analytics
We use both session and persistent cookies on the Service and we use different types of cookies to run the Service:
  • Essential cookies. We may use essential cookies to authenticate users and prevent fraudulent use of user accounts.
  • Analytics cookies. We may use analytics cookies to track information how the Service is used so that we can make improvements. We may also use analytics cookies to test new advertisements, pages, features or new functionality of the Service to see how our users react to them.

Third-party cookies

In addition to our own cookies, we may also use various third-parties cookies to report usage statistics of the Service, deliver advertisements on and through the Service, and so on.

What are your choices regarding cookies

If you'd like to delete cookies or instruct your web browser to delete or refuse cookies, please visit the help pages of your web browser.

Please note, however, that if you delete cookies or refuse to accept them, you might not be able to use all of the features we offer, you may not be able to store your preferences, and some of our pages might not display properly.
  • For the Chrome web browser, please visit this page from Google: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/32050
  • For the Internet Explorer web browser, please visit this page from Microsoft: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/278835
  • For the Firefox web browser, please visit this page from Mozilla: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored
  • For the Safari web browser, please visit this page from Apple: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21411?locale=en_US
  • For any other web browser, please visit your web browser's official web pages.

Where can you find more information about cookies

You can learn more about cookies and the following third-party websites:
  • AllAboutCookies: http://www.allaboutcookies.org/
  • Network Advertising Initiative: http://www.networkadvertising.org/

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Magpas Air Ambulance is a Registered Charity Number 1119279. Registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 6062176. Registered office at Centenary House, St Mary’s Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3PE.
Registered Charity No. 1119279

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