Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Olympic challenge for Air Ambulance

Photo: The Olympics to Olympia cyclists pictured on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Tim Stubbings Photography

A dozen cyclists will set off this weekend on a bike ride from the birthplace of the Olympics in Greece to the London 2012 stadium to raise £50,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Canon Edward Condry, Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral, and his Olympic torch-bearing son Jerome will be among the riders taking part in the challenge.

They will fly out from Gatwick on Thursday (June 28th) before setting off on their 1,500-mile journey from Mount Olympus, where the torch began its journey, on Saturday (June 30th)

Their epic ride will take them through Italy, Switzerland and France before they arrive at Stratford on July 15th - just days before the games get underway. Jerome will then carry the torch through Chatham on July 20th.

Canon Condry said: “The temperature in Greece is going to be in the 30s or even the lower 40s but we’re going to start at about 6am each day to get as much done as possible before it gets too hot.

“At the start of week two at Lucerne in Switzerland, we will be joined by another 15 cyclists who will be cycling back from there with us.

“The day before we will face a 7,000ft climb at Gotthard Pass over the Alps which has 37 hairpin bends, then we swoop down into Lucerne. It’s going to be a wonderful ride.”

Among the 27 riders are Canon Condry, sons Felix and Jerome, Paul Barrett, Kevin May, Cliff Saffrey, Velia Coffey, Ebrina Vogelaar-Kelly, Mark Nugent, Michael Robinson and John and Tina Downie.

They will cycle for up to 10 hours and 100 miles each day and burn off about 6,000 calories, fuelled by the equivalent of 10kg of potatoes, 600 bananas or 15 Christmas cakes. They will also drink up to 10 litres of water a day.

The group of experienced cyclists, aged from 21 to 62, have previously completed charity bike rides to Istanbul and Santiago, from Land’s End to John O’Groats, Canterbury to Rome and London to Paris.

This year they are raising funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations and have so far raised a fantastic £35,000.

To sponsor their 2012 challenge visit www.kent.fundraiseairambulance.co.uk/o2o_2012 or to visit their website for daily updates go to http://www.o2o2012.org/ . To donate, text AIR OLYMPICS to 70300.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Chocs away, Lions roar into the sky

Photo: Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Director of Income Generation Lynne Mitchell, Head of Fundraising (Surrey) Julie Jenkinson, Keith Harris and Surrey Lions club members

Lion-hearted fundraisers have helped the county’s Air Ambulance potentially save 40 lives by raising more than £100,000 in just six years.

Surrey Lions have supported the charity through their annual Easter Egg Eggstravaganza since the appeal was launched to get the helicopter off the ground.

This year they raised a record £22,207 by distributing 280 giant Easter eggs each adorned with a lion.

Customers picked a name for the lion from a choice of 100 for a donation of just £1 which is the equivalent cost of one sheet of bubblewrap which is used to keep each patient warm.

Easter Eggstravganza committee chairman Keith Harris, said: “It started off as a little project at our own club at Farnham six years ago and has now grown across our zone of eight clubs.

“We started raising funds before there was actually an Air Ambulance and that’s one of the reasons we wanted to help, to help get it off the ground.

“The public have been incredibly supportive this year and they are becoming increasingly receptive.

“More and more people are saying that the doctor and paramedic have saved the lives of their friends and family and that’s just fantastic to hear.”

The Easter Eggstravaganza was organized by Lions clubs in Cranleigh, Farnham, Frimley and Camberley, Godalming, Guildford, Leatherheard, Surrey and Borders and Woking.

Representative from all eight clubs presented their cheque to Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance during a flying visit to the helicopter base at Dunsfold last week (June 21st).

The helicopter carries a specialist doctor and critical care paramedic on board can carry out advanced medical procedures, giving patients the best chance and quality of life.

Each emergency call-out costs about £2,500 so the sum raised by Surrey Lions has effectively helped to potentially save 40 lives.

Pilot picks lucky winners in Air Ambulance Draw

A Horley mother is planning a trip to Australia to see her son after winning the top prize of £5,000 in Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance’s Mid-Summer Draw.

Retired accounts clerk Patricia Mackrell was planning to dip into her savings to fund the trip later this year but now has some extra spending money.

She was already a member of the life-saving charity’s fundraising lottery when she bought £30 worth of tickets for last Thursday’s draw.

Mrs Mackrell, who used to work for Virgin Airlines at Gatwick, was delighted when her winning ticket was picked by Pilot Captain Kevin Goddard at the helicopter base.

She said: “When the lady from the Air Ambulance called to say she had some good news I thought I’d won £50.

“When she said I’d won the first prize I didn’t know what to think, I was expecting her to ring back and say it was a mistake. I’ve never won as much as that before.”

Mrs Mackrell has previously won two runner-up prizes of £25 in the charity’s regular lottery which she joined two years ago.

In the mid-summer draw, Mr J. Senneck, from Horsham, won the second prize of £1,000 while Miss E. Morrish, (Polegate) won the third prize of £250.

Five further runner-up prizes of £50 went to Miss Irene Stanford (Chatham), Mrs R. Loughlin  (Gillingham) and Rochester residents Mr L.Crisp, Ms J.Crisp and Mrs O. Dodd.

This year’s Mid-Summer Draw raised more than £143,000 in ticket sales and donations for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Survivor's cake sale for charity

A cake sale is to be held at The Mall Maidstone this Sunday (June 24th) in aid of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance after a father-of-three was rescued by the helicopter.

Estate agent Robert Fletcher was cleaning his car when a passing vehicle collided with him on the A20 at Bearsted in a freak accident.

The 35-year-old suffered leg and pelvis injuries and was flown a major trauma centre where he underwent an emergency blood transfusion.

He spent two weeks at King’s College Hospital in London following the accident in June, 2010, but has since made a good recovery.

On Sunday, he will be helping his wife Josie and three children to sell cakes, cookies and biscuits in aid of the service which relies almost entirely on public donations.

Josie said: “Robert is still under the care of King’s but his injuries are not as horrific as they were. If he had not gone there, things could have been every different. We are really grateful to the Air Ambulance.”

The family has so far been flooded with donations of more than 400 cakes to sell and a friend’s employer, Scotia Gas Networks, has kindly offered to match the total sum raised up to £500.

The cake sale is to be held at outside Boots at the former Chequers Centre, from 10am. For more details email josiefletcher@talktalk.net.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Triple joy for charity lottery winner

A Walmer grandfather was given a special present on his 73rd birthday when he won the top prize of £1,000 in Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance’s lottery.

Retired butcher Anthony Morris joined the fundraising regular lottery in 2004 when it was first launched and previously won two runner-up prizes of £25.

His lucky numbers came up again in last Wednesday’s midweek draw when the grandfather-of-two also found out he is to be a great, great uncle.

He said: “Both my sons came over and we had a swift half and a takeaway to celebrate. When you get to my age you don’t need to paint the town red.

“I’ve never won anything in my life apart from £25 a couple of times, it’s always the man next door. I didn’t join the lottery to win, just to support the charity, but to win the jackpot is a bonus.”

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.

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 more than £20,000. To join the lottery, call 01622 833808.

Win a car at charity golf day

A brand new £13,000 SEAT Ibiza car will be among the prizes at a charity golf day in aid of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.

Canterbury Lions Club is holding its annual fundraiser at St Augustine’s Golf Club at Cliffsend, Ramsgate, on June 29th. Tee off is at 1pm.

Teams of four and individuals are needed to take part in the event sponsored by Cardy Construction Ltd.

The maximum handicap is 24 for men and 26 for ladies.

Barretts SEAT is offering a 1.4 Ibiza SE sport coupe (three-door) to any player who scores a hole-in-one on the 16th green of the 18-hole course.

Other fantastic prizes for par three hole-in-ones include a golf holiday in Portugal, golf at the Belfry and a set of Callaway Irons.

Tickets cost £42 per player including coffee on arrival and an evening meal. For entry forms email mollytof@btinternet.com.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

From 24 hours in A&E to 4-4-2

A charity football match is to be held in aid of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance this weekend (June 17th) after a father was saved by the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E charted Kevin Patching’s amazing recovery from severe brain damage, 10 broken ribs and a broken collarbone after falling from scaffolding in Meopham.

Dr Dan Roberts and critical care paramedic Chris Fudge anaesthetised Kevin and carried out chest surgery at the scene – skills usually performed in hospital – before flying him to a major trauma centre in London.

The father-of-four, from Wigmore, has made a good recovery following his accident in January and will kick off the match at 442 Sports and Social Club in Gillingham.

A team of amateurs will take on a Gillingham Legends team including Alan Poulton, Barry Ashby, Nick Southall, Adrian Pennock and Ron Hillyard.

The match has been organised by Kevin’s son Martin Brunker and kicks off at 1pm. There will also be a football memorabilia auction including Wales, Arsenal, Norwich and Gillingham shirts.

Kevin’s real-life survivor story was featured in the first episode of award-winning 24 hours in A&E based at King’s College Hospital where 91 cameras filmed round the clock, offering unprecedented access to one of Britain’s busiest A&E departments.

He said: “To still be here now makes me feel a bit like a Superman character because 99 out of 100 people wouldn’t be sitting here now. It’s just unbelievable really.

“They had to do major surgery to relieve the pressure on my brain so I’m incredibly lucky.”

Monday, 11 June 2012

Barge crush survivor on 24 hours in A&E

An award-winning TV documentary is to feature the survivor story of a Surrey Air Ambulance patient seriously injured in a canal barge accident, this Wednesday (June 13th).

Fitness fanatic Josh, 19, was working on a canal at Shalford when he was crushed between a barge and a gantry and suffered a potentially life-changing trauma injury.

Chief Pilot, Captain Steve Wood, Dr Geoff Healy and critical care paramedic Jon Sanders were on their way back to base following a cardiac arrest in Staines when they received their next 999 call.

Critical care paramedic David Wright was manning the dispatch desk for the charity helicopter and diverted the crew to Shalford where they arrived within just eight minutes.

During the challenging rescue they gave Josh emergency treatment at the scene for pelvis and leg injuries. They then flew him to the major trauma centre at King’s College Hospital in London in 28 minutes.

More than 90 cameras filmed round the clock as part of Channel 4’s 24 hours in A&E, offering unprecedented access to one of Britain’s busiest accident and emergency departments.

The programme shows Josh arriving at King’s where he is treated by A&E consultant Firas and his team.

24 hours in A&E is on Channel 4 every Wednesday at 9pm and recently won a Royal Television Society Award.




Friday, 1 June 2012

Royal awards for pilots and paramedics

Photo: L-R: Chief Pilot, Captain Blaine Ashurst and Clinical Managers Gary Wareham, Richard de Coverly and Rob Wilkinson

Five members of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance’s life-saving crew have been awarded Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals in recognition of their contribution to pre-hospital care.

Director of Operations Leigh Curtis presented the medals to pilots Blaine Ashurst and Kevin Goddard and Clinical Managers Gary Wareham, Rob Wilkinson and Richard de Coverly.

Captain Ashurst, from Herne Bay, joined the charity in 1999 after serving 23 years in the Army and became Chief Pilot the following year.

He has been flying for more than a quarter of a century and has also worked as a helicopter instructor.

Kevin retired from the Armed Forces after a career spanning more than 23 years and joined the Air Ambulance in December, 2007.

Gary, from Chatham, is the longest-serving crew member, having joined in 1996 when the helicopter was based at Rochester Airport.

He was involved in the introduction of the current MD902 Explorer aircraft and the charity’s move to its headquarters at Marden in 2000.

Rob was a former electrician at Chatham Dockyard before training as a registered nurse in 1982 at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.

He first worked on the Air Ambulance in 1999 and became a registered paramedic in 2005 – the same year doctors were introduced on to the helicopter. He has lived in Maidstone for 12 years with his wife and three children.

Richard qualified as a paramedic in 1999 and before being selected to join the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) program he was a Paramedic Team Leader at Tunbridge Wells. He lives in Cranbrook with his wife Sarah and sons Harry and Thomas.