Monday, 30 April 2012

Ruth returns from arctic adventure

A Walton cub leader has completed a challenge of a lifetime by dog sledding through Sweden in a charity adventure for Surrey Air Ambulance.

Ruth Warden, from Shepperton, guided her own team of huskies in a week-long expedition through 200kms of snow-covered forests and mountains last month.

At night she used her scouting skills to set up camp near traditional Sami villages, chopped wood to make fires and cooked her own food including reindeer stew.

The 40-year-old kept a diary of her epic journey as she witnessed the magnificent Northern Lights and braved temperatures of minus 19 degrees.

On day two she wrote: “We feed the dogs. This involves making a fire to heat up water, using an axe to break up the mince, pouring the hot water over the meat to thaw it out, adding some pellets and then blocks of snow to cool it down.

“After every dog is fed there is a grand howl of satisfaction and it was a sound I grew to love during the week.”

On day three she wrote: “It’s very easy to lose yourself in your thoughts when sledding as all you hear is the sound of snow being pressed by the sled and the dogs panting.

“On the straights, you can get too relaxed and lose concentration. This means you either crash into the person in front of you, don’t realise a bend is coming up or that a hill has appeared.”

Ruth is a cub leader for 9th Walton Air Scouts and was inspired to raise funds for Surrey Air Ambulance after a local postman was rescued by the helicopter.

She is aiming to raise £4,150 for the life-saving charity and is just £970 short of her fundraising target.

If you would like to sponsor Ruth text Sled71, followed by the amount to 70070 or go to http://www.justgiving.com/Ruth-Warden.

Be a winner in Air Ambulance lottery

A West Ewell woman has scooped the top prize of £1,000 in Surrey Air Ambulance’s regular lottery.

Sue Osborne, of Gatley Avenue, joined the life-saving charity’s lottery in September 2010 and won the jackpot in last Wednesday’s draw.

She said: “I had a small disaster that morning with rain coming through the roof so this win really made my day.

“I’ve never won anything substantial before apart from raffle prizes but this must be my lucky month because I won £25 in Premium Bonds for the first time ever in 30 years.”

Surrey 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 £11,809. To join, call 01622 833808.

Mayor's charity golf match

Reigate and Banstead’s mayor is calling on golfers to join him at a charity match in aid of Surrey Air Ambulance next week.

The fundraising tournament will take place at Reigate Hill Golf Club on Thursday, May 10th, teeing off at 1.30pm, and will be followed by a three-course dinner, raffle and auction.

Fifteen teams of four have entered but places are available for another 20 players to fill the 18-hole course.

Funds raised on the day will go to Surrey Air Ambulance which receives no statutory government funding and relies almost entirely on public donations.

Mayor, Cllr Brian Stead, said: “If you were to ask any one of the countless people they have had a hand in saving, or indeed their families, they too would say how vital it is that we support them.

“Please join me at the event. Tickets are on sale now and even if you don’t play golf, you could always come for the dinner.”

The match is open to men and women and there will be prizes for teams and individuals.

Team entry costs £200 and supporters can buy tickets for just the dinner at £25 each. For more information call the Mayor’s office on 01737 243051

 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Laura runs marathon in memory of Matthew

A Horsham woman has completed her latest charity challenge by running the London Marathon 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 in September, 2010.

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, which relies almost entirely on donations, and bravely battled a rare bleeding disorder to cross the finish line in 5hrs, 54mins.

She said: “It was my first marathon and I found it very hard. I had a pre-existing knee injury which started to hurt after about seven miles.

“The support from the crowd was really good and I couldn’t have asked for more. I want to thank my family and friends for cheering me on and everyone who donated.”

Laura, of Farhalls Crescent, has so far raised £700 and can still be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/laurafitch.

The former Tanbridge House School pupil is also holding fundraising events at local pubs including the Dog and Duck in Warnham on June 16th, to boost her fundraising.

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

In 2014, she aims to scale Mount Kilimanjaro with Matthew Russo’s mother Bridgette for Sussex Air Ambulance and the Matthew Russo Foundation.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Vinnie Jones helps save a life

Photo: L-R B&CE customer services executive Vicky Allen, Bob Taylor and Sussex Air Ambulance critical care paramedic David Wright  

TV hardman Vinnie Jones helped save the life of a Crawley businessman after a first aider followed the star’s Stayin’ Alive advert for resuscitation.

The ex-Wimbledon footballer, 47, plays a gangster performing chest compressions in time to the Bee Gees hit in an advert for the British Heart Foundation.

Just three weeks after it was first shown, Bob Taylor, 54, was at work at B&CE Benefit Schemes in Manor Royal when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Colleague and trained first aider Vicky Alllen carried out chest compressions based on the TV ad before paramedics and clinicians from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) arrived.

They battled for half an hour to successfully resuscitate Bob before the Sussex Air Ambulance arrived.

Dr Magnus Nelson and critical care paramedic David Wright then anaesthetized Bob in his office – a skill usually performed in A&E – before taking him to the Royal Sussex County Hospital at Brighton.

Bob spent four days at the hospital’s intensive care unit before he was allowed home and is now back at work.

Vicky said: “The Vinnie Jones advert was very good at re-affirming what you are doing for someone in that situation.

“It certainly stuck in my head, the rhythm and speed of the compressions, and I was quite pleased that I had something from recent memory to fall back on. I just went into auto mode.

“I have never done anything like this before and it was quite a traumatic experience. The worst I’ve had to deal with before is cut fingers and nosebleeds.

“I’m just so happy that it was a really good outcome and I’m proud that I was able to make a difference to someone’s life. It’s so important to think that I have given someone a chance.”

Bob added: “I don’t remember anything about what happened at all that day. I don’t even remember being in the office that morning.

“I had been staying in a local hotel the night before and wasn’t feeling particularly well. I was still feeling a bit ill the next morning and my colleague suggested that I didn’t go to work.

“I still went into the office and it’s fortunate that I did because there were other people around me including the trained first aider.

“I sat in my chair and the next minute I collapsed. I owe my life to Vicky; there is no other way of putting it.”

Bob was reunited with Vicky and David for the first time last week as staff at B&CE presented a cheque for £1,000 to Sussex Air Ambulance - a life-saving charity which relies almost entirely on donations.

David told them: “The money you have raised will potentially help save another life and we are really grateful for that. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, it is all about the ‘chain of survival’.

“Vicky did a fantastic job and was probably the most important link in the chain, followed by the ambulance service and then ourselves. We were a small part of that chain and the whole team ethos is very important.”

The British Heart Foundation said it had 15 confirmed reports of successful heart attack treatment based on the TV advert since it was first shown on January 6th. Only 10 per cent of British cardiac arrest victims survive to leave hospital.

Have a blast at charity clay shoot

Photo L-R: Surrey Air Ambulance Assistant Fundraiser, Karen Milton and Chief Pilot, Captain Steve Wood

Surrey Air Ambulance’s Chief Pilot will be among the teams calling the shots at a sporting clay shoot in aid of the life-saving charity next month.

Captain Steve Wood will be swapping his cyclic stick for a shotgun as he takes aim at Europe’s leading shooting school at Bisley on Wednesday, May 16th.

Novices and experienced shots are welcome as the course offers something for everyone from the bolting rabbit to the highest clay tower in Europe, presenting targets from 50 to more than 200ft.

The day-long event is ideal for corporate groups with teams of four and individuals needed to take part. There will also be an auction and prizes for Top Gun, Best Team and Top Lady.

Steve said: “Clay shooting is a great team-building exercise and a unique way to entertain clients.

“Come with your guest or guests to make up a team or come on your own and we will allocate you a team. It promises to be a barrel of laughs.”

Trained instructors will be on hand to guide each shooter with up to 100 clays including 50 for competition and 25 for practice.

Surrey Air Ambulance Assistant Fundraiser Karen Milton will also be among the keen shots at the event sponsored by White & Sons estate agents.

Tickets cost £740 per team or £185 per individual and include breakfast in the Victorian colonial clubhouse, a two-course lunch, gun hire and clays.

For more information, call Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson on 07843 336720 or email juliej@kssairambulance.org.uk.

A class act from school circus walkers

Photo: L-R Back Row - Pilot Nick Bramley, paramedic David Wright, Dr Ed Dennison-Davies and paramedic Jez Harwood.

Front Row – Merete Strange, Caitlan Jackson, Anna Soppitt and Lauren Howard

Pupils at a Canterbury school were given a tour of the Kent Air Ambulance and met its life-saving crew as they handed over a cheque for more than £5,000 to the charity.

Youngsters at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School dressed up in circus-themed costumes for a 10km sponsored walk around the city countryside.

It was a parade of acrobatics, clowns and lions with the best-dressed award going to ringmaster Merete Strange.

Students asked their family and friends for donations and some raised an amazing £200 each. The award for the most money raised went to Caitlan Jackson.

Charity representative Lauren Howard said: “We very much enjoyed raising money for what we believe to be an excellent cause.

“As well as one-off events we have a weekly collection around the school. This shows the generosity within the school and that students and staff want to help such a worthy cause.

“We hope this money will help Kent Air Ambulance to continue its hard work saving lives across the county.”

Kent Air Ambulance carries a doctor and critical care paramedic who can carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene of an accident or emergency, giving patients the best chance and quality of survival.

Each emergency call-out by the helicopter costs an average of £2,500 so the total sum of £5,256 raised by girls at Simon Langton will help the crew to potentially save two lives.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Alf's Motorcycles rides high with life-saving support

Photo: Sussex Air Ambulance Facilities Manager Larry Culver receives a cheque for £6,500 from Alf’s Motorcycles

A Worthing motorbike dealer and their customers have raised enough funds for Sussex Air Ambulance to help the pilot, doctor and paramedic save three lives.

Staff at Alf’s Motorcycles in Dominion Road have raised a grand total of £6,500 for the charity in just four years.

Each call-out by the helicopter costs an average of £2,500 so the sum raised by Alf’s will help fund three potentially life-saving missions.

The money was raised from their annual Christmas parties, collection tins and raffles with prizes including bike tyres and jackets.

Clothing manager Hazel Wicks said: “Knowing we have been able to help save someone’s life doing something they enjoy is truly heartwarming.

“Most of our team are bikers themselves and any one of them might one day have to rely on the Air Ambulance but we hope not.”

Sussex Air Ambulance was first launched in June, 2007, and is often called to road traffic collisions, many of them involving motorcyclists.

The amounts raised by Alf’s have increased from £893 in 2008, £1,694 in 2009, £1,913 in 2010 to £2,000 last year.

The Kawasaki dealer is now extending its support by having a stall at the charity’s first-ever Motorbike Run on Sunday, September 30th.

Air Ambulance advanced motorcyclist Larry Culver, a former Sussex Police traffic sergeant, is helping to organize the ride-out.

He said: “The biking community are always very supportive of what we do and Alf’s Motorcycles’ support has been invaluable over the years.”

Alf’s Motorcycles will be holding their 2012 Christmas party on December 8th with further information and tickets available in November.

To register for the Motorbike Run visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk/FundRaising/KSSEvents

 

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride, says rescued cyclist

Photo: Surrey Air Ambulance paramedic Natalie Brodrick and John Hewitson

A Puttenham man rescued by Surrey Air Ambulance has appealed for fellow cyclists to join a fundraising bike ride in aid of the life-saving charity this summer.

Retired lawyer John Hewitson, 73, was cycling to his local GP surgery to collect a prescription when he was caught in the tailwind of passing lorry. He was blown off his bike and hit his head on the road, suffering a fractured skull and broken ribs.

He was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic before being flown to King’s College Hospital in London and has since made a full recovery.

Although not fit enough to take part himself, John has now urged other cyclists to take part in the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Bike Challenge on June 10th.

He said: “The helicopters are often called to cyclists injured on the road and 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.

“A team of the helicopters’ crew members will be taking part so I would encourage the public to join them and help raise essential funds.”

More than 80 riders joined last year’s inaugural Double 100 and organisers are aiming to at least double the number of entries in 2012.

The ride will start and finish at the Surrey and Sussex helicopter base at Dunsfold Park near Guildford – home of BBC’s Top Gear.

Cyclists will set off on either a 100-mile or 100km route which takes in all four counties covered by the Air Ambulance. All entrants must pay a registration fee of £25 and a minimum sponsorship will be required.

To register go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/FundRaising/Double100Registration or for more information call Corinne Hitching on 07784 229717.

Survivor supports charity concert

Photo L-R: Dr Dean Kerslake, Hilary, Richard and John Bradford, and pilot Captain Kevin Goddard

An Allington grandfather saved by the Kent Air Ambulance will be among the VIP guests at a fundraising concert in aid of the charity next month.

Retired shopkeeper John Bradford, 75, had just returned home after dropping off his grandson at school when he suffered a cardiac arrest.

His wife Hilary dialled 999 and carried out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before paramedics arrived.

He was then given emergency treatment at the scene by Kent Air Ambulance’s doctor and critical care paramedic before being flown to King’s College Hospital in just 25 minutes.

John spent three weeks in intensive care and on a high dependency unit before he was eventually allowed back home and has made a full recovery following his cardiac arrest in March, 2010.

Now, two years on, he and his wife will be among the special guests at Riverside Rotary Club’s Charity Concert at All Saints Church in Maidstone.

The concert on Saturday, May 19th, at 7pm, will feature the internationally renowned London Welsh Male Voice Choir including musical director Edward-Rhys Harry, accompanist Annabel Thwaite and soloist Imogen Dyer.

To order tickets, which cost £15, or for more information go to www.rotaryconcert.co.uk or call 01622 833833.

Funds raised on the night will go to Kent Air Ambulance, The Heart of Kent Hospice and other local charities.

 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Rescued cyclist joins Air Ambulance bike ride

A teenager saved by Surrey Air Ambulance’s doctor and paramedic after a cycling accident is to join a fundraising bike ride in aid of the life-saving charity this summer.

Joe Wilson, 16, from Ripley, was crossing Newark Lane when he collided with a car on the final day of his GCSE exams last June.

The George Abbot School pupil suffered a serious head injury and fractured collarbone and was given first aid by a passing GP before the helicopter crew arrived.

Dr John O’Neill and critical care paramedic David Wright stabilised Joe at the roadside and gave him an emergency anaesthetic - a skill usually performed in hospital.

Joe spent five weeks at the specialist major trauma centre at St George’s Hospital in London before he was eventually allowed home and has since made a good recovery.

Now he and his father Chris are gearing up for the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Bike Challenge on June 10th, and Joe has already cycled 25kms in preparation for the ride.

Joe said: “This bike ride means a lot to me as it will raise awareness and funds for the Air Ambulance. 

Without the helicopter’s rapid help and response, I may not be here today.”

Chris added: “The prompt arrival of the Air Ambulance team and the rapid treatment they gave Joe at the roadside saved his life. The hospital told us that without the treatment they provided, he probably wouldn't have pulled through.  

“I owe the air ambulance a great debt of gratitude and if Joe and me can complete some of the bike ride to raise awareness and raise some money, then it's the least we can do.”

More than 80 riders joined last year’s inaugural Double 100 and organizers are aiming to at least double the number of entries in 2012.

The ride will start and finish at the Surrey and Sussex helicopter base at Dunsfold Park near Guildford – home of BBC’s Top Gear.

Cyclists will set off on either a 100-mile or 100km route which takes in all four counties covered by the Air Ambulance. All entrants must pay a registration fee of £25 and a minimum sponsorship will be required.

To register go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/FundRaising/Double100Registration or for more information call Corinne Hitching on 07784 229717. 

 

England stars support Air Ambulance

Two pairs of football boots signed by John Terry and Frank Lampard will be among the silent auction prizes at a Worthing charity night in aid of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.

The Chelsea and England stars have personally signed a pair of Umbro Speciali Revolution and Adidas Adipure lace-ups to go under the hammer at The Thomas Beecham Club on April 21st.

Stamford Bridge skipper Terry’s boots bear his squad number 26 and the names of his daughters Georgie and Summer.

Lampard’s size nine boots are the type worn during the FA Cup-winning 2008/2009 season and have been personally inscribed with “Luna 8”, “Isla 8” and “Mum”.

A Chelsea Football Club spokesman said: “John Terry and Frank Lampard are both honoured to be able to help Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance by donating their boots to raise funds for this vital cause.”

The charity dance evening, from 7pm, will also feature live music from Big Yellow Taxi, a licensed bar and raffle at the Dominion Way club.

Other auction prizes include a personal day in a spa for six people and a drive in a Ferrari around Goodwood.

For tickets, which cost £5 each, call Jane on 07825 330420, Sue on 01903 522909 or the social club on 01903 822750.

Question time for Air Ambulance on Sussex Day

Life-saving charity Sussex Air Ambulance is celebrating the county day with a series of quiz nights at pubs throughout the region.

Sussex Day (June 16th) has become a popular way for residents to celebrate the county’s rich heritage and was launched in 2007, the same month the helicopter first took flight.

To mark the joint anniversary, Sussex Air Ambulance is kicking off with a bumper quiz night on the eve of the big day (June 15th) at the Anchor Inn at Barcombe.

 Other pubs will be holding quizzes on Sussex Day to raise much-needed funds to help the pilot, doctor and critical care paramedic continue to save lives in the county.

Head of Fundraising Bridget Pepper said: “Every year traders, schoolchildren, employers, businesses, in fact everyone in the county, have the opportunity to use the day to display everything that is good about Sussex.

“So why not dedicate the evening to raise funds for your local Air Ambulance by hosting a quiz night? We will send you the questions and answers and posters to advertise the evening, all you need to supply is a prize for the winning team.

“We are trying to get as many public houses as possible across the county to join in so it will be a great fundraising and awareness campaign for your life-saving helicopter.”

Quiz nights will be held on Sussex Day at The Dun Horse (Mannings Heath), Inn on the Green (Haywards Heath), The Sportsman (East Grinstead and Goddards Green), Red Lion (Ashington), The Elsted Inn (Midhurst), The Kings Head (Rye), The George Hotel (Hailsham), Chambers Bar (Eastbourne), The Tudor Tavern (East Preston), The Labouring Man (Codwaltham), Rising Sun (Upper Beeding) and The Hope Inn (Newhaven).

Teams of six to eight members are needed for the first quiz night at the Anchor Inn on June 15th at 8pm.

To order tickets, which cost £5 per person, or to register your pub for a quiz, call Amy Salter on 01622 833833 or email amys@kssairambulance.org.uk. 

 

Get quizzical for Air Ambulance

A quiz night in aid of life-saving charity Kent Air Ambulance is to be held in Ashford this summer.

Teams of six to eight people are needed to test their general knowledge at Conningbrook Hotel in Kennington on June 24th at 6pm.

Tickets cost £10 per person and include a food platter for each table. Booking is essential so please contact Cheryl Johnson on 01622 833833 or email cherylj@kssairambulance.org.uk.

Kent Air Ambulance is a life-saving charity which provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The helicopter flies with a highly-skilled doctor and critical care paramedic who take the skill and expertise of an A&E department to the patient at the scene of an accident or medial emergency.

All proceeds from the quiz night will go directly to the service which is funded almost entirely by public donations.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Race the Dragon for Kent Air Ambulance

http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Community/WhatsOnKent/event/53

Kent Messenger Online has chosen Kent Air Ambulance as their Charity of the Year, and we are looking for people who would like to join our Dragon Boat Team in the KM’s annual Charity Dragon Boat Race on Sunday 1st July at Mote Park, Maidstone.

We are looking for 15 people in total to crew the boat. It will be a great day out for all involved. Our team will compete in a minimum of three races over a 200 metre course. The fastest teams go through to the grand final where Chinese dragon trophies are presented to the first three teams.

The minimum age for participants 14 years and over and we are looking for sponsorship of just £50 per person.  No previous experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided.

For further details/and or a sponsor form, please contact Cheryl Johnson, Fundraising  Manager, Kent Air Ambulance,  at cherylj@kssairambulance.org.uk or on 07738 486633.

Rescued cyclist joins Air Ambulance bike ride

A business journalist saved by Kent Air Ambulance after a cycling accident in Ashford is to join a fundraising bike ride for the life-saving charity this summer.

Julian Bray, 48, who lives in Greenwich, was airlifted to the major trauma centre at King’s College Hospital in London after he fell from his push bike in Brook last September.

Julian, whose mother, eldest sister and her family live in Wye, suffered life-threatening head injuries which meant he was kept in an induced coma in intensive care for nearly a week.

But thanks to the speed of his rescue and quality of his care during two weeks in hospital and follow-up, Julian has made a complete recovery.

He quickly resumed normal life and is already riding his bike again in preparation for the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Bike Challenge on June 10th.

He said: “The Air Ambulance team undoubtedly helped saved my life, both with the skill of the immediate care on the scene in giving me a general anaesthetic – a skill usually performed in hospital – and the efficiency with which they took me to King’s, an internationally renowned neurological centre.”

“I’m committed to help raise money for the Air Ambulance because they are there to help save the lives of everyone – residents, visitors, drivers, rail passengers as well as cyclists.

They deserve all our support for the priceless service they provide just when our loved ones need it most. Everyone should get on their bikes to participate or donate to someone who is."

The exact cause of Julian’s accident in remains a mystery as he was alone and there were no witnesses, and no other vehicle was involved.

More than 80 riders joined last year’s inaugural Double 100 and organizers are aiming to at least double the number of entries in 2012.

The ride will start and finish at the Surrey and Sussex helicopter base at Dunsfold Park near Guildford – home of BBC’s Top Gear.

Cyclists will set off on either a 100-mile or 100km route which takes in all four counties covered by the Air Ambulance. All entrants must pay a registration fee of £25 and a minimum sponsorship will be required.

Danes Hill School helps save two lives

Surrey Air Ambulance’s heartfelt thanks go to the children, parents and staff of Danes Hill School for their fantastic donation of more than £5,000 in aid of the life-saving charity.

Chief Pilot Captain Steve Wood, critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley and Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson attended morning assembly last Wednesday (March 21st) to collect the cheque which was presented to Stu on behalf of the school by Charlie Winefield (pictured).

They also gave a presentation highlighting the importance of the charity, how they operate and how they are funded.

Stu said: “I really enjoy having the opportunity to come out and thank our supporters without whom we would not be able to keep flying and saving lives. 

“Each call-out by the helicopter costs approximately £2,500 so to have raised £5,900 means that we can potentially save two lives which is fantastic, so thank you.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust needs to raise £5million a year to operate both helicopters from their bases in Marden, Kent, and Dunsfold in Surrey.  

If you would like to join some of the parents and staff who are taking part in a Sponsored Stroll around the lake at Virginia Water on Saturday 19th May or the Double 100 bike ride on Sunday 10th June please register online at www.kssairambulance.org.uk

If you would like to show your support to staff member Val Larkin who is taking part in this year’s London Marathon on behalf of the charity visit www.justgiving.com/Val-Larkin

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride, says rescued cyclist

A Sidcup man saved by the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance has appealed for fellow cyclists to join a fundraising bike ride in aid of the life-saving charity this summer.

University student Christopher Woodhams, 22, was training for another charity bike ride when he was struck by a passing car in Dartford in June, 2010.

He sustained significant pelvis and head injuries and was given an emergency anaesthetic at the road-side - a skill usually performed in hospital.

Christopher was then taken to the Royal London Hospital where he remained in intensive care for three weeks but has since made a full recovery.

Although not fit enough to take part himself, Christopher has now urged other cyclists to take part in the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Bike Challenge on June 10th.

He said: “The helicopters are often called to cyclists injured on the road and 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.

A team of the helicopters’ crew members will be taking part so I would encourage the public to join them and help raise essential funds.”

More than 80 riders joined last year’s inaugural Double 100 and organisers are aiming to at least double the number of entries in 2012.

The ride will start and finish at the Surrey and Sussex helicopter base at Dunsfold Park near Guildford – home of BBC’s Top Gear.

Cyclists will set off on either a 100-mile or 100km route which takes in all four counties covered by the Air Ambulance. All entrants must pay a registration fee of £25 and a minimum sponsorship will be required.

For more information and to register call Project Manager Corinne Hitching on 07784 229717 or email corinneh@kssairambulance.org.uk  

 

Charity bike ride must go on, say rescued cyclist's family

A cyclist has vowed to go ahead with a bike ride in aid of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance after his brother-in-law was saved by the helicopter he was raising funds for.

Ian Sheppard, 48, planned to join Peter Fletcher in the last 100 miles of a 450-mile ride from Land’s End to Dover this summer.

Peter, an account manager for Invensys Operations Management in Crawley, was training for the ride earlier this month when he was involved in a collision with a car near Canterbury and remains in a critical condition at the Royal London Hospital.

The original ride has now been cancelled but Ian, from Aylesham, and Peter’s family and friends will now honour his pledge to raise funds for the Air Ambulance by cycling from the helicopter base at Marden to Fowlmead Country Park.

Ian said: “ Peter will not be able to do the ride now but I am still planning to do a 65-mile ride. It was one of the things we talked about, me joining him to do that on the last day of his ride.

“He had already set up a Just Giving website page to raise funds for the Air Ambulance and we still want to raise as much as we can.”

Peter, from River, sustained life-threatening head, chest and back injuries and was given emergency treatment at the scene by doctors Mark Salmon, Ed Dennison-Davies and critical care paramedic Jez Loseby.

He has since regained consciousness and is still on the critical care ward where his wife Suzanne and family have been keeping a bedside vigil.

His daughter Danielle said: “This accident has come as a massive shock to me and my family.

“We are now determined to carry on his campaign to raise as much money as we can for the wonderful crew of the Air Ambulance without whom my father would not still be alive.”

Before the collision, Peter, 51, said: “Many of you know of the exceptional work carried out by this entirely charity-supported service and its personnel. Hopefully very few will ever need the service.

“The Air Ambulance provides a vital service which saves lives that would otherwise be lost.”

Peter raced at Crystal Palace as a schoolboy member of Crawley Wheelers Cycling Club and is a former president of Brighton Mitre Cycling Club and Preston Park Cycling Club where he coached juniors.

The ride will take place on Sunday, June 17th, and if you would like to make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/LE2Dover

Old car to breathe new life

Top Gear fans Richard Grant and James Firth are to embark on a madcap charity drive from Lands End to John O’Groats in a fifteen-year-old banger.

The pair will be swapping their more modern Ford Mondeo and Toyota Avensis vehicles for a 1.4 Vauxhall Tigra to complete their epic journey.

The motor has already clocked 114,000 miles and is expected to fail its next MOT so they plan to scrap it when they arrive in Scotland and travel back by train.

Richard and James will be raising money for the Air Ambulance, to help them continue saving lives, and Kent SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers) who transport blood by motorbike.

James, of Pound Hill, Crawley, said: “The original plan was to buy an old banger off eBay but my sister was planning to get rid of hers in September so we decided to use hers instead.

“She absolutely loves her car and if she wasn’t getting rid of it she wouldn’t have let me use it. It’s her pride and joy and I’ve never driven it in the eight years she’s had it.

“Part of the fun is that it’s quite an old car so it’s less reliable and we don’t know if it’s even going to get us there – but we hope so!”

Richard, 34, and James, 31, will set off on their 834-mile journey from Land’s End on May 18th and aim to arrive at John O’Groats three days later without breaking down.

Richard, of Belvedere Walk, Haywards Heath, is also planning to organize a classic car rally and take part in the Great South Run later in the year, in aid of both charities.

This will be their third charity drive after they completed a 50-mile run through the Sussex countryside last August and a whistlestop tour of Air Ambulance bases in 2010.

They are appealing for corporate sponsors to have their company logos emblazoned on their car in return for donations. To sponsor them visit http://www.justgiving.com/richard-grant3.

Fundraiser to carry Olympic torch

A Cranbrook entrepreneur has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch through Hastings this summer in recognition of his fundraising efforts for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.

Film director Tom Smith, 24, embarked on two initiatives to raise more than £4,000 for the life-saving helicopter which airlifted his father following a near-fatal fire accident.

He launched a Blue Book of discount vouchers at the height of the recession after persuading 57 local businesses to sign up to the scheme, with proceeds from the sale of every book going to the charity.

He also made a documentary about Cranbrook Football Club’s battle to attract a record number of fans for the biggest match in the town’s sporting history.

As a result he landed a job with broadcast hire company Video Europe and has now been successfully nominated by his brother Sam to carry the Olympic torch through Lloyds TSB’s nationwide search for inspirational people.

Tom will be one of 8,000 people to carry the London 2012 torch but insists he owes it to the pilot, doctor and paramedic who helped keep his father alive.

He said: “If people didn’t raise money for the Air Ambulance, then they wouldn’t be able to save lives.

Making the documentary was the best thing I’ve ever done but also the hardest.

“We were taking a team that had never won anything in 100 years to a cup final and we got 1,000 people paying to watch the game. I’ve always wanted to be a film director and now I’m living my dream.

“It was a real shock to find out I’d been selected to carry the torch and I didn’t have a clue about it at all but it’s going to be a great occasion and I can’t wait to do it.

“It’s quite ironic that my dad was involved in a fire and now I will be carrying the Olympic Flame through the town whose team we played in the final.”

The Mighty Cranbrook Town charted the team’s battle to win promotion from the East Sussex League in their match against Hastings side Travaux FC.

It was produced by ex-professional footballer Tom in aid of the Air Ambulance after his film producer father was involved in a bonfire accident in June, 2009.

Stephen Smith had been lighting a fire with petrol at the family home in Cranbrook when he suffered 20 per cent burns to his back and legs. He was airlifted to the specialist Broomfield Burns Unit in Essex and has since made a full recovery.

As well as carrying the Olympic torch on July 18th, Tom will be filming a poignant piece called Lemonade about a fictional music festival in Kent with state-of-the-art Red Epic cameras.
Film director Peter Jackson used similar equipment, costing about £2million to hire, to film The Hobbit but Video Europe agreed to lend Tom the cameras as a reward for his fundraising efforts.

Tom added: “Off the back of the documentary they have seen my talent and allowed me to go and use their best cameras.

“Without the documentary there is no way Video Europe would let me do this. Now there is no reason why this film shouldn’t make millions.”

Cleaner wins charity lottery

A Gravesend cleaner can look forward to a richer retirement after winning almost £11,000 in Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance’s Superdraw just five months after joining the charity lottery.

Ray Crotty, 60, scooped the jackpot in last Wednesday’s draw and toasted his win with a glass of champagne at his Barr Road home.

The grandfather-of three, who runs Ladybird Cleaning Services, plans to use his winnings as a retirement fund when he hangs up his mop in four years.

Ray’s biggest win until now was £80 on the National Lottery and a £100 patio set which he won in a raffle.

He said: “When the lady from the Air Ambulance called to say I’d won I thought it would be about £200. It’s just amazing, absolutely brilliant.

“I’ve been a member of a hospice lottery for 14 years and never won a penny. I stopped playing it and at about that time a lottery canvasser for the Air Ambulance called at the door so I decided to sign up.”

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

For an extra £1 a week, players can join the Superdraw which has a maximum jackpot of £25,000 – a life-changing amount. To join the lottery call 01622 833833.

The charity has also launched scratchcards which cost £1 each and are available to purchase from the charity’s website www.kssairambulance.org.uk. Prizes range from £1 to £1,000 but players must be aged over 16.

"Runner bean" gets set for London Marathon

A Richmond woman is to fulfill a life-time ambition by running her first-ever London Marathon in aid of Surrey Air Ambulance next month.

IT director Gillian Poor, 47, planned to take part in the 2006 event but was forced to pull out after spraining her ankle and has since suffered from torn cartilage in her knee.

But on April 22nd she will finally pound the streets of the capital in a bid to raise £2,600 for the charity which relies almost entirely on donations.

The Clevedon Road resident, affectionately known as Gillibean and more recently “Runner bean”, wants to raise £100 for every mile she runs.

If successful she will raise enough money to fund the cost of one potentially life-saving call-out by the helicopter.

She said: “After six years of injuries and not being able to get a place, I’Il finally be joining the 35,000 other runners in the marathon.

“I don’t know why but I started running in my 40s and just got hooked. At first I couldn’t even run for five minutes on a treadmill.

“Everything I am doing, my work, social life and eating is arranged around training but I’m really enjoying it. The training discipline is also helping me to be more effective at work too.

“At the moment the longest run I’ve done is 17 miles so I have an extra nine to do on the day but I think the crowds on the streets in London will make all the difference.”

The former Woking Grammar School pupil used to play hockey for the town’s hockey club and was also a member of Windle Valley Running Club.

Other challenges she has completed include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking to Machu Picchu and the Edinburgh Moonwalk in 2008.

She added: “My father used to be a very keen cyclist and part of me wants to keep active because he and my mother had poor health and I want to make the most of what I’ve got.”

Gillian recently visited the Surrey Air Ambulance base at Dunsfold to meet the pilot, doctor and paramedic ahead of her run.

She has so far raised £1,901 of her target of £2,600 and can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/Gillibean-marathon.

No charity places for the London Marathon are available but if you would like to run the London 10K for Surrey Air Ambulance please call Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson on 07843 336720.