LOCHGELLY Golf Club members witnessed the value of the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance at first hand on club championship finals day in August.

On average, a charity-funded air ambulance takes to the skies somewhere in the UK every 10 minutes - flying potentially life-saving care to the scene of serious illness or injury.

This week the spotlight shines on the UK's 39 helicopter air ambulances, operated by 21 separate charities, as they mark the nationwide Air Ambulance Week (September 7-13).

It was on the Cartmore Road club's finals day, at the start of August, when the air ambulance had to land on the 13th fairway.

Gordon Fyfe was playing Alex Sharp jr in the seniors final when he collapsed on the 10th tee. However, within a matter of minutes the helicopter from the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance arrived on the 13th fairway and Gordon was taken to it and flown to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he had stents fitted and club members were relieved to hear of Gordon's successful operation by late afternoon.

Here in Scotland, the country's only charity-funded air ambulance service - Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) - has been providing vital emergency pre-hospital care since 2013. Its helicopters based at Perth and Aberdeen have responded to thousands of life-threatening emergencies in every corner of Scotland and its many islands, treating patients at scene and rapidly airlifting them to definitive hospital care.

During August alone, that speed was brought to the fore as SCAA responded to 65 emergencies throughout the whole of Scotland, with crews reaching patients in some of the country's most remote and rural communities including Wester Ross, Orkney and the Hebrides and of course Lochgelly.

The SCAA is asking patients who have the 'inside story' of how the SCAA works to tell their stories as the charity wants to use Air Ambulance Week to boost its fundraising activities.

In the past year, the service has flown to more serious incidents than ever before and flown more hours to reach those most in need.

"The demands on SCAA's service never go away," stressed Chief Executive David Craig, "and the charity's need of funds - particularly in these difficult times - never lessens.

"SCAA relies entirely on public donations to support our service and that amazing generosity sustains our £4 million annual costs.

"But in addition to those who so willingly and generously donate to our cause, our patients - both young and old - can play a vital role in spreading the word regarding how important our service is to Scotland.

"There are thousands of people that SCAA has helped over the years and during Air Ambulance Week we're asking them to consider helping us by sharing their stories. Our crews always like to know how patients are doing and would love to hear from them."

David added: "No one tells of the work we do as powerfully and emotively as our patients.

"Their often harrowing yet uplifting personal experiences are a testament to the daily life-saving efforts, professionalism and commitment of our crews as they battle to overcome distance, time constraints, challenging weather, difficult terrain and life-threatening injury and illness.

The theme of this year's UK-wide Air Ambulance Week is "because every second counts ...", highlighting the critical impact that the speed of an air ambulance can have on a patient's chances of survival.