March 12 2014 Latest news:
A DOCTOR has come up with an unusual way to assist the emergency services — by offering up his back garden for use by helicopters. Dr Chris Hertzog, from Ramsey, has recently upgraded the helipad at the rear of his Manor House home in the High Street and
A DOCTOR has come up with an unusual way to assist the emergency services - by offering up his back garden for use by helicopters.
Dr Chris Hertzog, from Ramsey, has recently upgraded the helipad at the rear of his Manor House home in the High Street and has offered its use free of charge.
Dr Hertzog told The Hunts Post: "Initially I began using a grass area as a helipad for my own use but now it has been tarmacked and turned into an all-weather pad it seemed only sensible to offer its use to the emergency services.
"It is a fair old size and would take a Chinook easily enough. We even have lighting, a windsock and refuelling facilities, on request."
Not content with offering his helipad up for general use free of charge, Dr Hertzog said he was investigating the possibility of setting up an airstrip near Ramsey Heights.
The landing pad is at the rear of the house - named The Gables - which Dr Hertzog says is one of the oldest buildings in Ramsey and dates back to 1280AD.
A family home, Dr Hertzog's South African father Willem moved into the property in the 1930s and worked as a doctor in Ramsey throughout his life.
Dr Hertzog said: "It is a place with a lot of history for my family and when my mother died a few years ago the house passed to me."
A qualified pilot, Dr Hertzog uses the helipad to travel from his home, which is valued at almost £1million, to meetings across the country and to take aerial photographs of the surrounding landscape.
He said: "Getting to people quickly can save lives, so having the pad available for use by the air helicopter can only be a good thing.
"Equally, having a place where any helicopter can land if it gets into trouble could help out a pilot struggling for somewhere to land."
Dr Hertzog, who has a PhD in anti-aging medicine, insisted that despite the potential increase in traffic to the helipad, he maintains a good relationship with his neighbours.
He said: "Helicopters are actually a lot quieter than you might imagine and they are only allowed to approach over the golf course, not over the town.
"They certainly make a lot less noise than the mini-motorbikes you hear roaring up and down the street."
The helipad is thought to be one of only a handful in Huntingdonshire. Its exact co-ordinates are available in the British Helicopter Advisory Board handbook.