Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Laura’s 10k run in memory of Matthew

A Horsham woman has completed her latest charity challenge by running the London 10K for Sussex Air Ambulance in memory of a family friend.

Laura Fitch, 20, was spurred into raising funds for the charity after the helicopter was called to Matthew Russo who was taken ill at school last September.

Matthew was taken to the nearest paediatric intensive care unit at St George's Hospital in London but sadly passed away two weeks later.

Laura decided to run for the emergency service and bravely battled a rare bleeding disorder to cross the finish line in 51 minutes, cheered on by her proud family.

She said: "I've never run before but I trained for a couple of months before and I didn't find it too hard. I could have done it again, it was so enjoyable.

"I love raising money for charity and this year it was an honour to run for Sussex Air Ambulance."

Laura, of Farhalls Crescent, raised a total of £1,156 from the London 10k, a raffle and a charity night at the LaserHub in Crawley.

Raffle prizes kindly donated by local businesses included a motorbike helmet and back protector from P&H Motorcycles and a simulator racing experience from Pure Tech Racing in Horley.

The former Tanbridge House School pupil is now planning to run next year's London Marathon in aid of Sussex Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations.

Two years ago, she climbed Mount Snowdon in just under two hours and raised £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

In 2013, she aims to scale Mount Kilimanjaro with Matthew Russo's mother Bridgette for Sussex Air Ambulance and the Matthew Russo Foundation.

Funds raised by the foundation will be donated to local charities which support children with special needs and organisations which support bereaved families.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Laurie, 86, completes charity slim

Photo: L-R – Dr Mark Salmon, Fraser Elliot, Lesley Bugby, Laurie Buchanan, Chief Pilot, Captain Steve Wood and Critical Care Paramedic Stu Plumbley.

An 86-year-old grandfather has lost three stone in a sponsored slim for the Surrey Air Ambulance after the doctor and paramedic saved his daughter’s life.

Laurie Buchanan’s daughter Lesley Bugby sustained a fractured pelvis, punctured lung, broken ribs and leg injuries after her motorbike collided with a car in Stanwell.

The 56-year-old was airlifted to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford where she spent the next six weeks, the first in intensive care.

She was also wheelchair-bound for a further four weeks but has made a good recovery since the collision in May, 2009.

Lesley’s father, of Thames Ditton, decided to lose weight and raise money for Surrey Air Ambulance after he was told by his doctor he was grossly overweight.

He tipped the scales at 117 kilos in March but now weighs a healthy 93.7kilos after shedding three stone in five months.

Laurie was joined in his sponsored slim by his friend Fraser Elliot, 44, who lost a stone and now weighs 11.5 stone.

He said: “We have reached the end of our slimming campaign and it has been an interesting experiment for Fraser and myself and one that has benefited us both.

“I did it through cutting out alcohol, fried food and taking the dog out. It was painless and I’m going to carry on and try and lose more weight.”

Laurie, Fraser and Lesley visited the Surrey Air Ambulance base at Dunsfold last week (August 15) to present a cheque for £349 to the charity which relies almost entirely on public donations.

It took the helicopter just 10 minutes to get to Stanwell following Lesley’s collision, a journey that would have taken almost an hour by road, and a further six minutes to get to hospital.

Lesley said: “I’m delighted with my father’s weight loss because I think it will make him live longer. It’s nice to see him walking again and he looks so much better.”

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 


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bike challenge beckons for 12-year-old Jack

A West Chiltington schoolboy is gearing up for 100-mile charity bike ride across the South Downs Way this weekend to raise vital funds for Sussex Air Ambulance.

Jack Algar and his father Stuart will set off from Winchester to Eastbourne this Friday [August 12] and will be aiming to complete the challenge in just two days.

He chose the life-saving service because he lives near the Downs where the helicopter often lands to airlift injured horse riders, mountain bike riders and walkers.

The Rydon Community College pupil is keen to support the life-saving charity which relies almost entirely on public donations and receives no National Lottery funding.

Jack said: “I’ve decided to cycle the whole of the South Downs Way. I want to do it for Sussex Air Ambulance because I know they help a lot of people on the South Downs.

“It’s going to be quite exciting but quite hard to complete the ride in that time. My friends at school think it’s quite a big challenge.”

Jack, of Copse View, will be riding a mountain bike he won in an Easter Egg hunt organised by South Downs Bikes, Storrington, earlier this year.

The keen cyclist has already completed the 37-mile Downs Link and regularly rides 15 to 25 miles.

His father Stuart, 41, is the Project Engineer for Astraeus Airlines based at Gatwick Airport.

He said: “We are immensely proud of Jack and this is a huge challenge for someone so young. Although it will be hard work, we are really looking forward to it.”

Jack has so far raised more than £100 of his target of £300 online where family friends have left messages of support.

Karen Smith wrote: “Good luck Jack. Hope your Dad can keep up with you!”

Helen Drummond added: “Great plan Jack – very proud of your challenge!”

If you would like to sponsor Jack visit www.justgiving.com/Jack-AlgarSussexAirAmbulance.

Jack will also be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support and can be sponsored by visiting www.justgiving.com/Jack-AlgarMacmillancancerssupport 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Cyclist thanks doctor for saving his life

A Ripley teenager was reunited with the Surrey Air Ambulance doctor who helped save his life as he visited the helicopter base.

Joe Wilson, 15, was crossing Newark Lane when he collided with a car on the final day of his GCSE exams in June.

The Year 10 George Abbot School pupil sustained a serious head injury and a fractured collarbone.

Paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) and a passing GP were first at the scene and began treating Joe before the helicopter crew arrived.

Dr John O’Neill and critical care paramedic David Wright then stabilised Joe at the roadside, giving him an emergency anaesthetic.

They took him directly to the nearest major trauma centre, St George’s Hospital in London, where a team of doctors and nurses including a neurosurgeon were waiting for him. 

He was eventually allowed home after four weeks and visited the Surrey Air Ambulance base last week (August 4th) with his mother Nicky and brother Thomas.

Joe said: “The doctor helped save my life but he was quite humble about it. I’m just really lucky that they came to my aid.”

His mother added: “We know it’s a charity and we are very grateful my son managed to get their treatment and early intervention.”

Joe cycles to school every day but was not wearing his helmet at the time of the collision and his family are warning parents to make sure their children always wear head protection.

The youngster is now planning a sponsored ride for the charity which relies almost entirely on public donations and receives no National Lottery funding.

He is also hoping to persuade his friends to wear their most colourful and craziest shoes in return for a £1 donation as a part of fundraising Funky Footwear Friday which happens on September 23rd as part of Air Ambulance Week.

Obituary - John Collins

A popular and well-known Collier Street resident who opened his garden to the village every year to raise vital funds for the Kent Air Ambulance has passed away.

John and Maureen Collins held their annual afternoon tea party in the lovingly-tendered grounds of Starr Cottages.

This year’s event raised £557 for the life-saving charity, which relies almost entirely on public donations, and was attended by the Mayor of Maidstone.

Sadly, on July 2nd, John passed away at the Kent and Sussex Hospital after being taken ill at home. He was 75.

A service of thanksgiving for his life was held at St Margaret’s Church where Maureen read out a poem he wrote simply titled Nature and donations were made to Kent Air Ambulance.

Maureen said: “I was just so privileged to spend the last 28 years of my life with him, and it really was a privilege.

“He was very social and outgoing, just a loveable guy. He would always give people a hug whether they were a man or a woman.

“I always used to say he would give them a hug from the age of two to 90 years old because that was John. He was so affectionate and to me he was the best.

“He loved his garden and for five years he loved sharing it with other people. We decided to raise money for Kent Air Ambulance because we see it so often flying overhead.”

John was born and raised in nearby Rugmer and educated at Collier Street primary school before attending comprehensive school in Paddock Wood.

He worked on his parents’ farm until the early 1960s when he went to work for Whitbread brewery where he was a section manager for 28 years.

He then took redundancy and went to work at a local nursery with Maureen who he married last year after 28 years together.

The avid Manchester United supporter was a keen squash player and a member of Marden Working Mens Club.

His memory lives on in his beloved garden including the Bird Walk which is lined with nesting boxes depicting a church, pub and village hall.

He wrote a column called Country Man’s Notes in the Collier Street Village News which has the last picture of him on the front page of this month’s edition as a fitting tribute.

He gave readers monthly gardening notes, things to do in the vegetable patch, his thoughts on life and the occasional poem.

John also leaves behind son Godfrey, step-son Jez, brothers and sisters Joyce, Tony, Tom, Geoffrey and Jilly, and seven grandchildren – Luke, Shane, Ben, Hannah, Jason, Gemma and Jamie.


Monday, 1 August 2011

Rescued biker’s skydive for 999 charity

Watch Sheila's Skydive video on YouTube:


A husband and wife donated almost £1,500 to life-saving charity, Surrey Air Ambulance, as they were reunited with the paramedic who helped rescue them.

Motorcyclists Sheila and Wayne Smith, from Staines, were involved in a road traffic collision on the A24 at Dorking two years ago.

Mr Smith sustained a fractured tibula and fibula and was knocked unconscious while his wife escaped with minor injuries.

Two years later, the couple were reunited with Clinical Manager, Gary Wareham, as they handed over a cheque following a sponsored skydive by Sheila.

She said: "I wanted to do something that you're not supposed to do when you're 50-year-old woman, so I did a skydive.

"I thought it would be a good opportunity to raise funds for charity and chose Surrey Air Ambulance because of our personal connection.

"It was fun, I really enjoyed it and having the wind buffeting against you is a bit like being on a motorbike.

"If I had booked the skydive and not done it for charity I could have backed out, whereas, because I was raising money I had to go through with it."

The couple are members of Wey Valley Advanced Motorcyclists and had gone out for a ride on separate bikes, when Sheila lost control and fell off in March, 2009.

Mr Smith, 54, was following behind and was struck by his wife's bike. He was treated at the scene by the Surrey Air Ambulance and land paramedic crews.

It took the helicopter 15 minutes to get to Box Hill where they landed in a field, a journey that would have taken twice as long by road.

The couple were both taken to East Surrey Hospital at Redhill, where Mr Smith remained for the next 11 days before he was finally allowed home.

The retired law enforcement officer was off work for a year, but has since made a good recovery.

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

Donal gets on his Boardman Bike

A Sittingbourne father’s charity ride has been given a boost after he won a £1,000 bike designed by former Olympic champion Chris Boardman.

Donal Watkin will be swapping his fold-up mountain bike for the fantastic prize kindly donated by Halfords, as part of the life-saving charity’s Double 100 Bike Challenge.

The father-of-two correctly answered that the helicopter flies with a specialist doctor, as well as a pilot and critical care paramedic.

He will now be using his brand new hybrid Boardman bike for a London to Paris ride in aid of Demelza House in September.

He said: “I was over the moon when I got the call to say I’d won and the timing was absolutely perfect because I’m in the middle of training for the ride.

“I used to run a lot but because of sporting injuries, I’ve now become a keen cyclist and I’ve re-discovered a lot of the coast of Kent.

“I work in London, but I often stop off at Margate and Westgate and cycle back to Sittingbourne. Having this new bike means it’s a lot easier and pleasurable.”

Donal, of Adelaide Drive, visited the helicopter base last week with his wife Michelle and sons Charlie and Tom to collect his bike from Lee Homden, Halfords store manager.

He added: “I was very impressed, I think the Trust does a wonderful job and seeing the helicopter and meeting the crew brought home what a vital service it is.”

More than 80 cyclists took part in this year’s inaugural Double 100 Bike Challenge last month. This 100-mile or 100km ride raised over £12,000 for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.

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