Monday, 19 December 2011

It's a lift-off for charity helicopter

Photo 1: L-R, Mr Bunn, pupils Gary Cameron, George Christou, Jowe Condick and Mr Longfield.

Photo 2: Year 9 pupils with Miss Helen Rose, Kent Air Ambulance volunteer Chris Longfield and Castle Community College Principal Phillip Bunn.

Pupils at a Deal school lifted the equivalent of 227 Kent Air Ambulances in a weightlifting challenge which raised more than £400 for the life-saving charity.

A group of 22 Year 9 pupils at Castle Community College set themselves a target of trying to lift the 6,000lb weight of the helicopter each.

One of them, Hayden Shervill, lifted the equivalent of 35 twin-engine MD902 Explorers alone using a weight stack of 190lb.

Staff joined in the challenge by trying to lift the weight of the helicopter in the fastest time or in the fewest representations of one weight.

Head of Technology and Art Helen Rose said: “I am so proud of the pupils’ efforts, I never thought they could be so determined. The level of effort was amazing.”

By the end of the first tandem weight-lifting session, 34 helicopters had been lifted so the pupils set themselves a new target of 150 by the end of the day.

They again beat their target and amassed a grand total of 227 helicopters, watched by Kent Air Ambulance volunteer Chris Longfield.

He thanked them for their hard work and explained how their fundraising efforts helped the charity.

Two of the five classes in the Tiger Woods House raised a further £100 by selling home-made cakes while another collected £40 in 1p coins.

Year 7 pupils George Christou, Gary Cameron and Joe Condick also ran and cycled a total of 105 miles.

In total the youngsters are aiming to raise £600 from the events held on December 9th and can still be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/Helen-Rose9TW

Dagenham Motors in for long haul flight

Dagenham Motors has renewed its long-standing support for Surrey Air Ambulance five years after becoming the life-saving charity’s first business sponsor.

The dealership, which has branches in Leatherhead, Cobham, West Byfleet, Epsom and Banstead, joined the fundraising appeal in 2006.

The helicopter was launched the following year and Dagenham Motors has now provided Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson with a sixth sponsored vehicle.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta Zetec, complete with Dagenham Motors branding and logo, will allow her to travel thousands of miles around the county raising vital funds to keep the service airborne.

Dagenham Motors General Manager Paul Hayes said: “As a local business we are keen to play our part in supporting the community and are pleased that we can help such a vital service for the benefit of the county.”

Surrey Air Ambulance responds to serious trauma and other medical emergencies with a specialist doctor and critical care paramedic who take A&E to the scene.

The care and treatment the medics provide is often crucial to the level of recovery a patient will make later on in hospital but the emergency service relies almost entirely on public donations.

Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson said: “The support of Dagenham Motors is crucial in helping me to get around Surrey and enabling me to attend fundraising activities to keep the helicopter flying. I cannot thank Paul and the team enough for their continued support.

“This is a reciprocal partnership which also provides a great form of mobile advertising for Dagenham Motors as the car is often seen on the roads of Surrey and at air shows, village fetes, open days and supermarket collections.”

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, 12 December 2011

Can four Santas on bikes beat the train?

Pictured: Darren Clark

Four friends will be dressed as Father Christmas as they aim to beat the last train back to Ashford by push bike this Saturday (December 17th)

Work colleagues Jamie Chater, 22, and Daniel Clark, 23, will be joined by Daniel’s brother Jamie and family friend Chris Boyce, both 24.

The bike ride is in memory of Daniel and Jamie’s brother Darren, 23, who lost his life following a motorbike accident in Faversham three years ago.

In 2007, Kent Air Ambulance also attended a motorbike accident involving Darren’s father Graham which he survived.

Jamie Chater said: “Without the resources and commitment of Kent Air Ambulance our family and many others wouldn’t be sharing this Christmas with some of our loved ones.

“I ask for as much or as little as you can donate to help this fantastic organization operate through Christmas and 2012.”

The quartet will set off to St Pancras railway station on the first train and aim to complete the 58-mile ride back by the time the last train pulls into Ashford at 11pm.

Jamie Chater, of Barn Platt, will be sponsored an extra £50 if he dons a girl’s Santa suit complete with stockings.

The group have so far raised £540 online at www.justgivng.com/Patron-Security where family and friends have left messages of support.

Denise Bennett-Chater wrote: “Can’t think of a better cause….so proud of you!!”

Caroline Burns added: “Great choice of charity, good luck boys! Make sure we see before you leave and as you arrive pictures.”

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

Railway Arms keep Air Ambulance on track

Photo: L-R (Back row Paul, Nigel, Mal, Colin, Surrey Air Ambulance volunteer Graeme Horne and Paul. (Front row) Railway Arms landlady Chris Gosden, June, Gilly and Vie.

A Frimley pub held a 24-hour darts marathon to raise more than £1,000 for Surrey Air Ambulance.

Players at The Railway Arms scored a total of 356,660 points during the marathon in September, beating last year’s total by 29,199.

The charity darts day started in 2005 and has since raised funds for Frimley Park Children’s Ward, Parity, Blood Runners, Age Concern and RNLI.

This year the High Street pub decided to raise funds for the life-saving helicopter which relies almost entirely on public donations and receives no National Lottery funding.

Landlady Chris Gosden said: “We chose Surrey Air Ambulance this year as to us it is a local charity and does a wonderful job helping people and saving lives.

“Without the support of all our customers and businesses in Frimley who kindly donated raffle prizes we would not have managed to raise the £1,100 we did. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone concerned.”

Surrey Air Ambulance volunteer Graeme Horne gratefully received the cheque on behalf of the pilot, doctor and critical care paramedic who saved his son’s life.

Rob Horne, from Fleet, suffered multiple injuries in a road traffic collision four years ago but has since made a full 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

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

County Boards for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance

At the recent Kent, Surrey & Sussex AGM the charity’s chairman Tony Monteuuis, announced that a new County Board structure has been set up to support the work of the charity.

Kent, Surrey and Sussex will each have its own local Board to support the main Trustee Board and improve links within each county. Tony Monteuuis, who remains as Chairman of the main Trustee Board of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust said ‘We look to these Boards to be the face of the charity within the county and represent the charity at a more local level as well as being the voice of the charity on the Trustee Board through the Board Chairmen. I’m sure that they will all be good ambassadors for the Air Ambulance and we look forward to working with them.

The five strong Kent Board will be chaired by Wendy Simkins who has been a trustee with the Air Ambulance for five years and will continue to sit on the charity’s main board.

Wendy said “I am very honoured to have been chosen as the Chairperson for the newly established Kent County Board. As a Board, we hope to be able to help and give more guidance with fresh approaches and support to the well established and managed Kent Air Ambulance service. It has become such a vital part of the people of Kent’s every day lives and it is essential that we strive to improve and continue this life-saving service”.

The five strong Surrey Board will be chaired by local business woman Nikki Ferguson, who will also sit on the charity’s main board.

Nikki said 'It is an honour to be asked to chair the new Surrey County board for the Air Ambulance. Having seen for myself, the vital difference that the Air Ambulance makes I am looking forward to using my experience in business and particularly in Human Resources to enhance what is a vital life-saving service to the people of Surrey.'

The four strong local Sussex Board, will be chaired by retired business man David Bowden who will also sit on the charity’s main board.

David said ‘I am very excited to be asked to chair the county board for the Sussex Air Ambulance. It is a charity which makes a real difference to the lives of people in the county and I am very pleased to be involved’.

All the local board members are local to their counties and represent different areas of the community.

Further information about the work of the Air Ambulance can be found at www.kssairambulance.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 Kent Air Ambulance and posted to Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ

Thanks for saving my life, says champion Craig

Photo: Chief Pilot, Captain Blaine Ashurst, British grasstrack 250cc champion Craig Drury and Dr Steve Rashford at the Kent Air Ambulance base at Marden

A British grasstrack champion was reunited with the Kent Air Ambulance pilot and doctor who saved his life as he donated £5,500 to the charity.

Craig Drury, 18, sustained multiple injuries after he was involved in a racing incident, colliding with a barrier at a race meeting in Collier Street.

Chief Pilot, Captain Blaine Ashurst landed at the track within just two minutes of the 999 call and Dr Steve Rashford and critical care paramedic Chris Fudge gave Craig an emergency anaesthetic at the scene.

The teenager was airlifted to the major trauma centre at the Royal London Hospital where he spent 36 days, 12 of them in intensive care, before he was finally allowed back home.

He said: “I don’t remember anything about the crash but I remember talking to people on the day. My sponsor was telling me how well I was doing, that I’d got it in the bag.

“The doctors at the hospital sat mum and dad down that night and said I had a slim chance of making it through the night. Kent Air Ambulance saved me, they told me that in hospital.

“I was thanking them in hospital and they were saying don’t thank us, you’ve got to thank the air ambulance.”

Craig sustained three fractured vertebrae, a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken leg and collarbone.

Following the crash in September, Craig’s grateful family and friends raised £5,000 for the life-saving charity from a number of fundraising events including a golf day, sponsored swim and mini triathlon.

Craig visited the helicopter base last week (November 28th) to meet Blaine and Steve for the first time since his accident and presented them with a signed photo saying: “Thanks for saving my life.”

He was seven points clear of his rivals going into the final race when he crashed and was unaware he had won the 250cc British Championship.

Although he is expected to make a full recovery within two years, Craig has now decided to quit the sport.

He added: “It’s a shame I’ve been cut short in my path because I’ve ridden in Europe since I was 12, representing England. I’m glad I’m out of it now because if I go back something bad will happen.”

Dr Rashford said: “Obviously we’re just so happy that Craig has done so well. To be as sick as he was at the scene, it’s amazing that he has made this type of recovery.

“The fact that he has come back and thanked us is wonderful. It’s not something we expect but we really appreciate it.”

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

All in a day's work for nurse Rob

A Kent Air Ambulance nurse taking part in a mock rescue operation sprung into action when a child suffered a head injury in a real-life medical emergency.

Off-duty Clinical Manager Rob Wilkinson had been treating a “casualty” in a re-enacted car crash in Gravesend town centre on Saturday (November 26th) as part of Road Safety Week.

Officers from Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service also carried out their roles in Windmill Street as they would at the scene of a real accident.

Just minutes after the Carmageddon demonstration finished, Rob was summoned by a member of the public to a boy who had accidentally run into a chair.

He said: “Having completed our part in the demonstration I responded to a nearby building with one of my St John Ambulance colleagues.

“We were alerted by a member of the public that a child had sustained a head injury and a land ambulance had been called.

“As part of the Carmageddon team, we were able to assess, treat and convey the child and his mother to the local hospital and stand the land ambulance down.

“Fortunately the child’s injury was not serious although he required suturing and a period of observation.”

Rob worked as an electrician in Chatham dockyard before training as a registered nurse in 1982 at Medway Hospital in Gillingham.

He joined Kent Air Ambulance in 1999 and became a registered paramedic and Clinical Manager in 2005. 

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

Charity starts at home with loose change boxes

Supporters of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance can now raise vital funds for the life-saving charity from home.

Family and friends can deposit their spare coins into branded home collection boxes to help keep both helicopters flying. The boxes are easy to use and give instructions on what to do when they are full.

Collection Box Co-ordinator Shirley Brown said: “Every penny raised will help keep this vital Air Ambulance service flying for your community.

“Loose change boxes are a simple yet effective way to raise not only money but awareness of our charity and an easy way to collect those odd coins at home.”

Last year, more than £100,000 was raised from collection tins in shops, pubs, cafes and other public venues. Just £1 will pay for a sheet of life-saving bubblewrap which is used to keep each patient warm.

To order a home collection box call 01622 833833 or email shirleyb@kaat.org.uk. Cheques should be made payable to Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ.