Monday, 31 January 2011

NatWest helps save four lives

Kent Air Ambulance is celebrating a £7,000 cash windfall from Natwest’s Community Fund after being voted by the bank’s customers as their favourite charity.

A panel made up of representatives of the local community reviewed the original applications and short-listed the three charities to benefit from the fund in each area.

When voters were asked to pick their favourite it was the life-saving helicopter that scooped the top prize of £3,000 in Tunbridge Wells and Larkfield, and a runner-up prize of £1,000 in Sittingbourne.

Each flying mission costs between £1,500 and £2,000 so the sum donated is enough to help the highly-skilled crew to potentially save four lives.

Maria Fisher, Regional Director for NatWest in Kent, said: “We’ve had an overwhelming response to the Community Fund and it’s clear that people in Kent are passionate about their Air Ambulance.

“We’re delighted to be able to make this donation and support the work that they do. We have had so many worthy causes nominated which is why it was important to give the opportunity to our local community to decide who should benefit.

“Kent Air Ambulance was slightly different to other charities as they received nominations from three separate funds out of the 11 funds available in Kent, given their regional remit.”

Kent Air Ambulance flies during daylight hours, 365 days a year, and can reach the furthest part of the county in 20 minutes – “saving time, saving life”.

The specialist doctor and paramedic on board can carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene including chest surgery, anaesthetics and intubation.

They can then fly patients to the most appropriate hospital according to their needs which is often the regional trauma centre in London, giving them the best chance of survival.

It took the crew just seven minutes to attend a road traffic collision at Eurolink Way in Sittingbourne following a road traffic collision last month.

And in November the helicopter was called to a man in his 60s who had sustained a head injury from a shutter door in Larkfield.

Kent Air Ambulance costs £1.7m a year to stay airborne and relies almost entirely on voluntary public donations.

Senior fundraiser for Kent, Lynn Hyder said: “We are thrilled to be awarded £7,000 by Natwest and to gain the recognition for all our efforts locally. 

“The money will go towards general running costs to keep the helicopter flying. Our thanks go to the public in Kent for voting for our worthy cause.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Kent Air Ambulance Trust and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ

Double 100 Bike Challenge

A challenge of a lifetime beckons for cyclists who want to take part in Surrey, Sussex and Kent Air Ambulance’s first-ever Double 100 Bike Challenge.

The special cycle ride will start and finish at the Surrey and Sussex helicopter base at Dunsfold Park near Guildford on Sunday, July 3.

Cyclists will then set off on a route which takes in all four counties that the life-saving charity covers – Surrey, West and East Sussex and Kent.

The route will take in towns and villages including Horley, Lingfield, Horsham, Handcross, Rusthall, Groombridge and Hartfield among others.

Surrey County Fundraiser Julie Jenkinson said: “This is an exciting opportunity for cyclists to take on an adventure and challenge of a lifetime.

“The helicopters are often called to cyclists injured on the road or on the North and South Downs so this is a great way of saying thank you to the crew for helping them in their hour of need.”

During the ride, cyclists will be offered the option of cycling either 100kms (62 miles) or 100 miles depending on their fitness.

On their return to Dunsfold there will be a barbecue with family and friends welcome to greet the riders and celebrate their amazing achievement.

All entrants must pay a registration fee of £25 and a minimum sponsorship will be required which will go towards the £3.4m cost of keeping both helicopters flying.

Surrey, Sussex and Kent Air Ambulances carry a specialist doctor and paramedic on board who can carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene of an accident or emergency.

For more information and to register call Veronica Wiseman on 01622 833833 or email veronicaw@kaat.org.uk.

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Surrey Air Ambulance and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9Q 

 

Monday, 24 January 2011

Paramedic airlifted by her own helicopter

A Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic had to be airlifted by her fellow crew members after she was knocked unconscious in a horse riding accident.

Natalie Brodrick was cantering along on five-year-old gelding Bonnet when he tripped over a rabbit hole in a field at Camber near Rye.

The 32-year-old was thrown off her horse and landed on her head, suffering a reduced level of consciousness.

She managed to phone her boyfriend Andy Baker and sister Emily who called 999. The Air Ambulance was then called and airlifted her to hospital.

Natalie said: “I woke up on the floor and could not understand what had happened or where I was. Bonnet hadn’t run off and was stood next to me.

“My phone was in my pocket and I’ve got numbers on speed dial so I automatically hit speed dial and got my boyfriend who was at my house. I said I’d fallen off and had hit my head but didn’t know where I was.

“He told me to stay where I was and that he was coming to get me. I don’t remember making that call. I then rang my sister but didn’t know it was her I was talking to.

“I remember thinking that I had to get to the farm nearby so I was leading my horse and my boyfriend could see me walking from the main road but when he got to me I was sat on the floor again.”

Natalie’s colleague, Critical Care Paramedic Jon Sanders, was on the Air Ambulance dispatch desk when the 999 call came in. He was unaware that the patient was Natalie.

The decision to call the helicopter was made in the call centre because she had suffered a head injury, the remote location and the nearest land ambulance was half an hour away in Tenterden.

It took pilot Blaine Ashurst, Dr Amy Hughes and Critical Care Paramedic Chris Fudge 15 minutes to get to Camber where they landed on the beach.

Natalie was then flown to the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford but was discharged later that day. She was off work for a month following the accident last month.

She has now urged fellow horse riders to always carry a mobile phone, tell family and friends where they are going, wear a body protector and replace helmets after a fall.

She added: “I feel a bit humbled and a bit embarrassed by the situation but at least I was wearing a body protector. I would have been more seriously hurt otherwise.

“I’ve been riding since the age of four and it was a freak accident which could have happened to anyone.”

Last year, Sussex Air Ambulance flew 701 missions of which 74 were sport and leisure accidents including horse riding.

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Sussex Air Ambulance and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ

Minster pub helps save a life

Photo: Chris Sings, Carol Clarke, Kent Air Ambulance paramedic Mick Carter, Natalie Wallis, Sue Sings, Gavin and Freya Wallis, and Becky and Bethany Pope-Bance.

A pub landlord who was airlifted to hospital following an accident while playing football has helped raise £2,000 for the Kent Air Ambulance.

Gavin Wallis, of The Bell Inn in Minster, held two quiz nights and a Christmas raffle in aid of the life-saving charity.

The prizes included a week’s hire of a Jaguar XF courtesy of Barretts Jaguar at Canterbury and a P&O ferry crossing for up to nine people.

Staff and customers at the High Street pub visited the helicopter base at Marden to hand over their cheque which was gratefully received.

Gavin said: “The work they do is fantastic and it’s great that we can support such a local cause which saves people’s lives and provides critical care so quickly.

“About 10 years ago, I suffered a head injury while playing football and was airlifted by an Air Ambulance which is one of the reasons why I like to support what they do.”

Gavin took over at The Bell Inn in June and wanted to continue the pub’s tradition of fundraising for charity.

It costs £1.7m a year to keep the Kent Air Ambulance flying and each mission costs between £1,500 and £2,000 so the sum raised by the pub has helped save a life.

During his visit to the base, Gavin was joined by his wife Natalie, daughter Freya, staff member Becky Pope-Bance, her daughter Bethany and customers Chris and Sue Sings, and Carol Clarke.

Sue works as a nurse at Maidstone Hospital and Carol used to be a paramedic and both were interested to learn about the specialist skills of the doctor and paramedic on board the helicopter who can carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene.

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Kent Air Ambulance Trust and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ

 

Monday, 17 January 2011

New doctor and paramedic join Air Ambulance

Dr John O'Neill and Critical Care Paramedic David Wright at the Surrey Air Ambulance base at Dunsfold Park Near Guildford.


Surrey Air Ambulance has welcomed a new doctor and Critical Care Paramedic on board the life-saving helicopter.

Dr John O’Neill joins the charity on a six-month secondment after becoming a consultant in emergency medicine.

He completed his training at Southampton General Hospital having spent four years in Australia and New Zealand with the Flying Doctors and Queensland Rescue.

The father-of-two qualified as a doctor at Newcastle Medical School in 1995 and has worked at a number of hospitals including the regional major trauma centre, St George’s in London.

He said: “Emergency medicine is the most interesting area of medicine for me because I see people right at the beginning of their illness, make a diagnosis and start their treatment.

“I can now bring the skills I used in the hospital to the patient at the road-side or in their home and start the treatment that much earlier.

“It’s also nice to work and train together with the paramedics who have years of experience in pre-hospital care.”

Dr O’Neill’s first flying mission was to airlift a motorist who had suffered serious head injury in a road traffic collision on the A272 at Petersfield.

It took the crew 12 minutes to get to the scene and a further 25 to get to King’s College Hospital in London – “saving time, saving life”.

Critical Care Paramedic David Wright, from Reigate, has also joined the Surrey Air Ambulance, on a three-year secondment.

The father-of-two was previously Clinical Team Leader at Redhill Ambulance Station and became a paramedic in 2002 after changing career as a chartered surveyor.

He said: “Joining the ambulance service has been a long-held ambition for me and I realised that if I didn’t try to do it I would always regret it.

“Having been given an introduction through the Critical Care Paramedic course to the additional skills and interventions that can be used on the Air Ambulance, I was really keen to put that into practice.

“It’s also an opportunity for me to work alongside specialist doctors and expand on my knowledge and experience.”

Last year David stood outside Sainsbury’s in Redhill with a collection box to help raise money for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) during Air Ambulance Week.

He added: “I’ve seen the efforts people go to to raise funds for the charity and I don’t think others realise it’s almost entirely funded by voluntary donations.

“To see how people give money and then to see how it is used makes me realise how generous people are to keep the helicopter flying.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Surrey Air Ambulance and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ

Monday, 10 January 2011

Runners needed for Brighton Marathon

Sussex Air Ambulance is appealing for runners to raise vital funds for the life-saving charity by taking part in this year’s Brighton Marathon.

Charity places are still available for anyone who would like to take on this amazing challenge, get fit and help the Air Ambulance to save lives.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) has been chosen as an official charity partner for this year’s second 26-mile run which takes place on April 10.

East Sussex County Fundraiser Bridget Pepper appealed to anyone interested in running to express their interest as soon as possible as the deadline for registration is February 4.

She said: “This is traditionally a time of year, following the festive period, when people are looking for ways of keeping fit.

“Brighton Marathon is a fantastic way to do this but it requires a lot of training which is why we need people to sign up now.”

All entrants will receive a fundraising pack including sponsor forms, support and advice from the charity’s fundraising team, a training guide and an Air Ambulance running vest.

Anyone registered by January 20 will also have the opportunity of attending a pre-race meeting with the chance to see the MD902 helicopter and meet the crew.

During the marathon, runners will be spurred along by a special Air Ambulance cheering squad armed with whistles, banners and balloons.

Afterwards they will then be invited to a post-race reception and thank-you coffee morning with family and friends welcome.

More than 50 runners chose to run for the Air Ambulance at last year’s inaugural event, raising more than £20,000.

It costs £1.7m a year to keep the helicopter flying and the service relies almost entirely on voluntary public donations.

Among this year’s runners will be medical student Thomas Fox and Gavin Hall from Brighton.

They will be joined by Alaster Osborne from East Dean, Michael Vevers from Bexhill and Richard Holder from St Leonards.

Richard, an HGV driver, said: “About 15 years ago my mother in law had a brain haemorrhage and had to be airlifted to London.

“The Air Ambulance has stuck in my mind ever since and it is such a worthwhile cause. I also gave up smoking about a year ago and I’m trying to get fit.”

Anyone interested in running the Brighton Marathon should call Bridget Pepper on 07800 649246. For more information visit www.sussexairambulance.com/support/BrightonMarathon.

 

easyJet crews keep Air Ambulance in flight

Cabin crews at easyJet swapped the aisles of an Airbus for a guided tour of the Sussex Air Ambulance as they helped keep the helicopter flying in 2011.

Six members of staff at Gatwick Airport visited the helicopter base at nearby Dunsfold Park to donate almost £2,000 to the life-saving charity.

The money was raised from an internal employee engagement survey and for each questionnaire completed a donation was made to the emergency service.

Assistant Cabin Crew Manager Ryan Bain and his colleagues were shown the mini A&E on board the twin-engine MD902 Explorer which allows the crew to carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene.

They also met former commercial airline pilot Pete Driver, who now flies the Sussex Air Ambulance, Dr Vidar Magnusson and Critical Care Paramedic Neil Painter.

Ryan said: “Sussex Air Ambulance is a charity close to many of our team’s hearts at London Gatwick as the majority of our staff live in the county.

“This is a truly well-deserving charity which delivers critical life-saving treatment to the seriously ill and injured and we are extremely proud to be presenting this cheque to such a worthwhile charity.

Sussex Air Ambulance needs £1.7m a year to keep the helicopter flying and relies almost entirely on voluntary public donations.

Each flying mission alone costs between £1,500 and £2,000 so the sum raised by easyJet has helped the crew to potentially save a life.

West Sussex County Fundraiser Cheryl Johnson said: “We are very grateful to easyJet for supporting us and making this generous donation.

“We rely heavily on the support of companies and individuals to keep this vital service flying. Corporate support such as this is so important to our operation.”

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Sussex Air Ambulance and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ

Air Ambulance delivers early Xmas present

An ex Royal Navy servant in the Second World War was given an early festive present when she won £5,000 in the Kent Air Ambulance Christmas raffle.

Grandmother Gladys Yates, 85, was an Officer’s Steward in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS) at Chatham Royal Naval Barracks for three years.

As a former volunteer at Medway Maritime Hospital at Gillingham, the Kent Air Ambulance is a life-saving charity close to her heart.

The Gillingham resident bought £20 worth of tickets and won the draw which was held two days before Christmas.

She said: “I’ve never won anything like this in my life. I received the raffle tickets when I signed up to the Kent Air Ambulance lottery but forgot about them until about two weeks ago.

“I was going to sell them at my local social club but it was closed so I thought I would buy them all myself.

“When the raffle organisers rang up I thought I must have missed the date of the draw and they were telling me it was too late. When she told me I had won I could not believe it. I thought it was a hoax.

“I just think the Kent Air Ambulance is such a wonderful charity because it helps people when they well and truly need it.”

A grand total of £176,414 was raised from this year’s Air Ambulance Christmas Raffle - £154,180 in ticket sales and £22,234 in donations.

Kent Air Ambulance needs £1.7m-a-year to keep the helicopter flying and relies almost entirely on voluntary public donations.

Profits from the Air Ambulance’s own lottery provide valuable funds to allow the charity to operate a vital life saving service for everyone living, working and travelling through the county, 365 days a year.

The regular lottery costs just £1 a week with a weekly prize of £1,000. For an extra £1 a week, members can join the Superdraw which has a top prize of £25,000. To join the Air Ambulance lottery please call 01622 833821.

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to Kent Air Ambulance Trust and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ