AN air ambulance charity stalwart has retired from the role after 16 years of service.

Cliff Gale spent more than a decade with the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance as operations director.

Cliff joined the charity back in 2007, having spent 30 years with Sussex Police, where he gained hands-on experience managing the police air operation.

He has been commended by his colleagues as helping to create clinical governance in pre-hospital care in the early days of air ambulance services.

Cliff won't be saying goodbye ultimately, as he will continue to work with the charity on a part-time basis to oversee the implementation of its carbon reduction strategy alongside other projects.

However, he is handing over the operational reins to Paul Curtis, who will become the trust's new aviation and operations director.

Jane Gurney, CEO of EHAAT, said: "We are thankful for Cliff's instrumental impact on the charity's growth.

"His passion, energy, relentless drive and dedication have been evident, and his impact has been felt throughout the whole sector.

"However, I am hugely excited that someone, as experienced as Paul has joined our team, and I know he will do a fantastic job guiding the charity through our next exciting chapter."