The Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal has set up its own lottery to help raise the £500,000 it needs to keep the lifesaving helicopter aloft.

The lottery is being launched this week and aims to attract 20,000 members within the next two to three years - raising between £200,000 to £300,000 a year for the appeal.

Appeal administrator Melanie Gee said she hoped the lottery would form the backbone of the service’s fundraising efforts.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the appeal’s development society, the operators of the scheme, she said: “This is a great way for local people to support their air ambulance service.

“Since the service launched in 1990 we have attended over 10,000 incidents, saving hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

“That is how important the service is to the county of Wiltshire.

“This new lottery gives people the chance to contribute to our fundraising efforts in a simple, cost-effective and fun way, and enables us to give something back every week in cash prizes.”

To sign up for the lottery call 0844 567 0844 or complete the application on the WAA website,