Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Survivor thanks paramedic for saving her life

A teenager who survived a near-fatal road traffic collision has thanked the Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save her life.

Natasha Griffiths, 19, was reunited with Clinical Manager Gary Wareham at the charity helicopter base on Saturday (January 28th) – the second anniversary of the crash.

She and baby brother Joey were passengers in a car being driven by their mother Kirsty when a deer suddenly ran out in front of them on Marley Road in Battle.

Kirsty swerved to avoid the animal but lost control and collided with a tree. Natasha, from Salehurst, was trapped in the vehicle for an hour and had to be cut free by firefighters.

She bore the brunt of the impact and suffered internal bleeding, a smashed pelvis, 11 broken ribs and a broken wrist, arm, leg, ankle and finger.

The teenager was anaesthetized at the scene – a skill usually performed in hospital – before being flown to the major trauma centre at the Royal London Hospital where she was in a coma for five weeks.

Natasha was eventually allowed home after three months and has since made a good recovery.

She said: “It’s been amazing to meet Gary and I thought I was going to cry but I kept it all together. I don’t remember anything about the crash and I couldn’t believe what had happened and the injuries I suffered.

“The doctors at hospital didn’t think I was going to survive the night then when I did, they didn’t think I was going to survive the week.

“I saw photographs of the crash for the first time last Friday and in the pictures they are still cutting me out of the car and you can see the state of it and the tree we hit.

“The last two years have been upsetting but amazing because on the one hand I realized I couldn’t do all the things I did before but on the other hand I can also do a lot more than I expected as well.”

Natasha had been planning join the Army but the crash happened a week before she was due to undergo her fitness tests.

She is now studying health and social care at college and wants to use her experience to become a trauma counselor and physiotherapist.

Last summer Natasha, her mother and grandmother jumped out of a plane in a sponsored skydive at Headcorn Airfield to help raise a total of £4,000 for Sussex Air Ambulance.

Clinical Manager Gary Wareham said: “Natasha was one of the sickest type of patients we deal with.

“Her experience is quite a familiar one whereby patients who have had an awful experience  then want to give something back.

“They undertake all sorts of fundraising events to raise money which we can then put back into the service and help others.”

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

Walkers needed for sponsored stroll

Surrey Air Ambulance is holding its first-ever sponsored stroll this Spring to raise vital funds for the life-saving charity.

The walk is open to everyone and is being held at Virginia Water Lake on Saturday, May 19th, from 9am.

Walkers will have the chance to “spot the wildlife” along the 4.5-mile route and enjoy stunning scenery including beautiful azaleas and rhododendrons in full bloom.

Children can bring their scooters and tricycles and Surrey Air Ambulance’s cuddly bear mascot Dr Dudley will be hiding along the route.

There will also be refreshments available during the walk sponsored by TWM Solicitors, and a raffle.

Registration costs £5 per family or individual and can be completed online at http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Community/WhatsOnSurrey/event/54

For more information call Fundraising Assistant Karen Milton on 01483 266322 or email karenm@kaat.org.uk.


Loyal supporter wins charity lottery

A Selsey grandfather-of-three has scooped the top prize of £1,000 in Sussex Air Ambulance’s regular lottery.

Building surveyor Peter Treagust, 64, joined the life-saving charity’s lottery in January, 2007 – six months before the helicopter was first launched.

The grandfather-of-three, of Manor Road, won the jackpot in last Wednesday’s draw and is now planning a family holiday to the Outer Hebrides.

His previous biggest wins were £150 on the National Lottery and £500 on the football pools 30 years ago.

He said: “I was rather surprised because I saw it as just a donation. In my job I’m a regular car driver and I see accidents up and down the country.

“The Air Ambulance is often called to road traffic collisions and it’s a fantastic service. It’s life-saving.”

Sussex Air Ambulance’s regular lottery costs just £1 a week with 12 weekly winners of amounts ranging from £25 to £1,000.

The charity also has a Superdraw, which costs an additional £1 a week, and the maximum jackpot is £25,000 – a life-changing amount.

There was no winner in last week’s Superdraw which rolled over to £10,497. To join, call 01622 833808.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mission possible thanks to marathon runner

A Horley estate agent who ran the New York Marathon for Surrey Air Ambulance has raised enough sponsorship to fund a potentially life-saving mission.

White & Sons partner Simon Watkins, 61, was spurred on by his wife Gail and son Oliver as he completed the run in 4hrs, 22mins.

He clocked a further 500 miles in three-and-a-half months in preparation for the marathon last November.

The Sidlow resident has also run the London and Chicago marathons but the New York challenge was his toughest so far.

He said: “The atmosphere was just incredible as there was a million-and-a-half people in the crowd shouting and screaming as we went through Queens, Harlem and Manhattan.

“I went round with a smile on my face the whole time and they carried me through because I was having problems with my legs. There were four bridges to cross which took it out of me.

“I wanted to try and break four hours and was on target until 21 miles but then I was almost on my knees for the last five. When I crossed the finish line people were collapsing all around me.

“Every thirty seconds we had to move out of the way for an ambulance to come and pick up some of the runners. It was like a battlefield.”

In total, Simon raised £2,448 for Surrey Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations.

He presented his cheque to Pilot Pete Driver, Dr Mark Salmon and critical care paramedic Adam Heywood at the helicopter base last week (January 19th).

Each call-out costs the emergency service about £2,500 so the sum raised by Simon will fund a potentially life-saving mission.

Simon added “I was moved to support them after hearing how they save lives and how their quick response and skills give people the best chance of returning to a near normal life.

“I started running in 2003 when I accepted a challenge to do the London Marathon. The person who challenged me said, ‘I will if you will’. I did and she didn’t!”

Simon will now be setting his sights on a sporting clay shoot in aid of Surrey Air Ambulance at Bisley on May 16th, sponsored by White & Sons.

Teams of four are needed to take part in a day’s shooting including breakfast, lunch and tuition. Beginners and experienced shooters are welcome.

For more details call Surrey Air Ambulance Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson on 07843 336720.

Murder at Goodwood

A host of TV and radio actors will be among the star-studded cast for a murder mystery play at Goodwood House to raise funds for Sussex Air Ambulance.

The one-off exclusive gala dinner will feature a collection of unusual suspects and a murder victim in a witty whodunit on March 22nd.

The cast will include Brian Murphy from George and Mildred and Last of the Summer Wine and Charles Collingwood and Judy Bennett, otherwise known as Brian and Shula from The Archers.

Susan Jameson (Coronation Street and New Tricks) will also be appearing along with Linda Regan from Hi-De-Hi!, subject to last-minute work commitments.

Sussex Air Ambulance County Board chairman David Bowden said: “A great English country house such as Goodwood is the ideal setting for our first-ever murder mystery.

“The murder of Vera Bates in Downton Abbey has captured the interest of the British public and Murder at Goodwood will do the same but in a very light-hearted way.

“As a charity we are planning new and innovative ways of raising funds and this is our first foray into the world of acting world after our inaugural comedy night in Brighton.”

Following a drinks reception in the beautiful Hall and State Rooms of Goodwood House, guests will take their seats in the stunning Ballroom.

The cast will then keep them guessing who the murderer is between three courses and even invite them to take part in the fun.

There will also be an auction in aid of Sussex Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations to keep the helicopter flying.

Murder at Goodwood has been written by Arundel-based Simon Brett who has penned more than 80 crime novels as well as the classic TV sitcom After Henry and numerous radio plays

Simon’s writing always incorporates wit and humour, making them a delight and earning him a fanatical fan base.

Tickets cost £150 per person including dinner and the option of joining a golf challenge on the Goodwood Downs Course before the play.

For further information and to book tickets visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Community/WhatsOnSussex or call 01622 833833.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Be a winner with Air Ambulance scratchcards

Lottery scratchcards have been launched by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance to raise much-needed funds for the life-saving charity.

The emergency service receives no statutory government or National Lottery funding and therefore relies on its own in-house lottery and public donations to help raise the £5million it costs each year to keep both helicopters operational.

Scratchcards cost £1 each and are now available to purchase from the charity’s website http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Shop/product/146/Air+Ambulance+Scratchcard but players must be aged over 16.

Head of Lottery and Merchandise Katie Underdown said: “Buying a scratchcard is a fun way of making a donation to the charity with the chance to win something back. There are many cash prizes to be won, ranging from £1, to £1,000.”

Prizes can be claimed by completing the form on the reverse of the scratchcard and sending it to Air Ambulance Promotions Ltd, Unit 14, Wheelbarrow Park Estate, Pattenden Lane, Marden, Kent, TN12 9QJ.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Poker run raises £3,000 for Air Ambulance

A Hastings motorcycle club has raised enough funds from its annual Poker Run to help Sussex Air Ambulance potentially save a life.

Norsemen Motorcycle Club held the 90-mile ride in aid of the life-saving charity for the second year in a row.

Each rider who entered collected a playing card from five different stops in Rye, Bodiam, Burwash, Horam and the rally campsite at Catsfield.

The winner of the 2011 Poker Run with the best five-card poker hand was Neil Johnson from Gravesend with four Aces and a Queen.

The men-only Norsemen Motorcycle Club has raised funds for a number of local charities since it was formed seven years ago.

President Kevin Martin said: “The Poker Run in 2011 was a huge success. The club chose Sussex Air Ambulance for the last couple of years because of their amazing work. 

“It is an extremely worthy cause which relies almost entirely on donations and it was a privilege to help them. 

“We wish the pilots, doctors and paramedics every success for the future and will continue to promote their invaluable work.”

Each call-out costs the emergency service an average of £2,500 so the sum raised by the Norsemen will help fund a potentially life-saving mission.

Sussex Air Ambulance Head of Fundraising Bridget Pepper said: “The helicopter is often called to road traffic collisions, many of them involving motorcyclists.

“We are so indebted to the biking community for their support and would like to thank the Norsemen for their fantastic fundraising efforts.”

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

Monday, 9 January 2012

Sarah gets out of jail fo Kilimanjaro climb

A Shoreham prison worker will be swapping her jail keys for climbing sticks as she scales Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Sussex Air Ambulance next month.

The life-saving helicopter is often called to road traffic collisions involving motorcyclists and as a biker herself Sarah Thompson decided to raise vital funds for the charity.

It will take her and three others a week to reach the summit of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain but just two days to return to the bottom.

Sarah, 26, will set off on the 19,340ft climb on February 6th and has been training by running, cycling and hill-walking on the South Downs with her Husky, Lola.

She said: “For years I’ve wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and I’m looking forward to experiencing different climates including rain forests, deserts, snow and ice.

“I’m also looking forward to the different animals that Africa has to offer and the sunrise at the summit.

“I’m not looking forward to the altitude sickness, the midnight start or going from 30c to -15c and then back to 30c within seven days.

“In the back of my mind I fear I will not reach the summit but the thought of raising money for Sussex Air Ambulance will spur me on to reach the summit.”

The emergency service relies almost entirely on public donations to keep the helicopter flying and each mission costs an average of £2,500.

Sarah added: “As a biker I am very much aware of the things that can go wrong and when they do it is the Air Ambulance which often comes to the rescue.”

To sponsor Sarah online visit www.justgiving.com/sarah-thompson11.

Horse riders join Christmas fun ride

A group of horse riders showed their support for Sussex Air Ambulance by dressing up as Father Christmas, elves and angels to raise funds for the life-saving charity.

Eighteen riders set off from Cottage Stables in Pease Pottage to Tilgate Golf Club where they enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine.

Husband and wife Craig and Melissa Jenkins wore Santa outfits while the best-dressed award went to 13-year-old "elf” Rebecca Faulkner.

The eight-mile ride was organized by Yvonne Hammond whose friend was recently rescued by Sussex Air Ambulance after being crushed by a horse.

She said: "We are well aware that, as horse riders, we’re exposed to an element of risk in enjoying our hobby and we felt we wanted to put a bit back into a charity which has helped local riders during times of need.

"It was a lot of fun and we even collected some donations from members of the public along the route.”

Riders at the stables raised a total of £140 for the charity after donating prizes for a raffle including gift vouchers for Ifield Park equestrian store, champagne and chocolates.

Photo 1: L-R, Yvonne and Zoe Hammond

Photo 2: L-R, Best-dressed elf Rebecca Faulkner

Photo 3: Craig and Melissa Jenkins

Thursday, 5 January 2012

KM Charity Team Events

Kent Air Ambulance has got off to a flying start in 2012 after being selected as a Charity of the Year by the Kent Messenger Group.

The multi-media company has a proud tradition of supporting local causes by encouraging readers and listeners to back them and organising fundraising events in aid of their chosen charities.

Editors in the eight circulations areas of the county have been busy selecting their cause for 2012 and Kent Air Ambulance was successfully nominated as Kent Online's Charity of the Year.

Kent Messenger Group is aiming to stage a number of high-profile fundraising events in aid of the life-saving charity this year.

These include three abseils, two sponsored bike rides and the Kent Messenger Dragon Boat Race at Mote Park in Maidstone on July 1st.

The first three planned events are the KM Abseil at Miller House in Maidstone on Sunday, March 25, the KM Big Bike Ride on Sunday, April 1st and the Kent Water Zorbing Championships on Saturday, April 7th.

Supporters can now visit the KM Charity Team website and book to take part in these events, click here to visit www.kmcharitychallenge.co.uk.

Kent Air Ambulance is a high-profile charity which attracts a great deal of media interest from Kent Messenger group's newspapers, radio station and website and is proud to further build its relationship with them.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Shed those Christmas pounds in Virtual Challenges for Air Ambulance

Here’s a great way to help work off those Christmas puddings and raise vital funds for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance at the same time.

Virtual challenges are a simple way to lose weight, get fit and keep active at your own pace, in your own time and wherever you choose.

The life-saving charity’s gold challenges are cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats and London to Paris, and swimming the coastline from Ramsgate to Chichester.

Silver awards will go to challengers who successful complete the charity’s Double 100 bike ride and swim the English Channel while walking the Inca Trail is worth a bronze.

Initiative Development Fundraiser Corinne Hitching said: “Most of us need a little encouragement to do some exercise, especially after the holiday period.

“So what better way than by taking on an interesting challenge and a target to aim for. 2012 is a great year to get into the Olympic spirit and get fit, all in aid of your Air Ambulance.”

Virtual challenges can be undertaken in groups of family, friends and work colleagues without leaving their home town or village.

For a registration fee of just £25, applicants will receive their own personal course map, unique log-in, interim goals along the route and motivational emails.

They will also receive a certificate of achievement if they raise enough money through sponsorship. Visit: www.kssairambulance.org.uk/fundraising/virtualchallenges