WILTSHIRE St John Ambulance has a new state-of-the-art Crusader ambulance, thanks to the Andover-based HSA Charitable Trust.

The £45,000 vehicle has been given a special number plate V999 HSA and it was formally handed over by trust chairman Carolyn Lemon, to Wiltshire's Lord Lieutenant, Sir Maurice Johnston, the president of the Wiltshire St John Council, outside St John's Church in Devizes last week.

Also present were Brigadier Robert Hall, the president of St John Ambulance Wiltshire, and Lt Col John Jago, the Commander St John Ambulance Wiltshire.

The Crusader model has only been in operation for four years and was specifically designed by St John Ambulance in conjunction with Renault and APV Papworth, the ambulance builder.

The multi-purpose vehicle is capable of operating in a variety of modes which used to need several different types of vehicle from accident and emergency to mobile first aid.

Anna Farquhar, the chief executive of St John Ambulance Wiltshire, said: "This is an incredibly generous donation from the HSA Charitable Trust and has enabled us to buy and completely kit out a Crusader ambulance."

The HSA Charitable Trust administers and distributes the charitable donations of the HSA, the UK's leading private health insurance provider.

Mrs Lemon said: "We are delighted to be able to provide the funding for a complete ambulance, particularly when we understand they require a further three vehicles within the next two years."