THE funeral of the Swansea founder of the Wales Air Ambulance will take place next week.
Businessman Bob Palmer was the driving force behind the life-saving flying medic service, which is celebrating its 12th birthday today.
Mr Palmer died on February 15 after a short illness — he was 64.
His funeral service will take place in All Saints Church in Oystermouth on Tuesday, at 11am.
Mr Palmer was the founder and chairman of the charity, which first took to the skies from Swansea Airport on St David's Day 2001.
Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) now boasts three state-of- the-art helicopters flying from bases in Swansea, Welshpool and Caernarfon, and a provides 365 days-a-year service — all paid for by donations from the Welsh public.
Speaking after his death WAA Chief executive Angela Hughes said: "Bob's passion and drive for the Wales Air Ambulance never faltered — he always knew what this lifesaving charity could become and it is his vision that has helped us to carry out over 17,000 missions to date, and transform the lives of many living in Wales."
She said the service would take a moment to remember its founder when it opens its new charity shop on Newton Road in Mumbles today.
Mr Palmer worked with voluntarily groups and Swansea businesses to introduce Wales's first air ambulance, which was initially sponsored by the AA.
When that sponsorship deal ended, he set about building a Wales-wide charity that would support the service.
In 2008, Wales Air Ambulance launched its popular £1 Appeal, a mass fundraising drive which won the support of big names including Max Boyce, Bonnie Tyler, JJ Williams and the charity's patron, Bryn Terfel.
In 2009, it was named Britain's Air Ambulance of the Year at the Health Business Awards.
Speaking on the WAA's 10th birthday, Mr Palmer said: "Wales Air Ambulance is a unique charity in the UK, providing air cover for an entire country.
"It is also unique in the level of passion and patriotism felt by those that support the cause, from communities to businesses. We look forward to another ten years of helping the people of Wales."