THREE Team GB equestrian champions have been appointed as ambassadors for the Midlands Air Ambulance.

Lee Pearson, Carl Hester and Nick Skelton, who all struck gold at London 2012, will support the charity with its national fundraising and spread awareness to the equestrian and equine worlds.

Carl and Lee visited the charity’s operational headquarters at Strensham air base near the M50 to meet staff, tour the facilities and discover how it provides a vital emergency service to the equine community.

Also in attendance were Claire Dyson of Claire Dyson Racing, based in Cleeve Prior, Evesham, and Jo Challens of the Ledbury Hunt.

Claire was representing Charlotte Cole, of Elgar Crescent, Droitwich, who died, aged 23, after a fall while training at a Worcestershire racing yard two years ago.Jo was airlifted after her horse rolled on her after falling at a cross country jump about a year ago.

The charity is close to the riders’ hearts, with international show jumper Nick Skelton requiring their help after breaking his neck in two places after a fall at a show in 2000.

Mr Skelton, who believes he owes his life and Olympic success to the air ambulance service, said: “Without that air ambulance, I doubt whether I would have come through the accident without a paralysis.”

Lee Pearson, also airlifted after a fall added: “The riding community in particular greatly values the air ambulance service, they are doing a wonderful job.”

Last year the charity attended 158 equestrian related emergencies from riders who suffered serious injuries as a result of falls from their horses.

Equestrian incidents account for eight per cent of all call-outs since the charity’s launch in 1991, making the sport the fourth highest cause.