Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Air Ambulance Week car and bike rally

A motoring enthusiast is spearheading a fourth charity car drive this Sunday to celebrate national Air Ambulance Week (September 24th – 30th).

The 40-mile trip will start at The Cock Inn at Isfield, East Sussex, and finish at Spa Valley Railway in Eridge, Kent - taking in all four counties covered by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The procession will include a Triumph Spitfire, a Jaguar MK II, a 1965 VW Campervan, an Alfa Romeo Spider, classic minis and what is believed to be the oldest surviving Austin Maxi 1750.

Organiser Richard Grant said: “I run a Twitter page that provides traffic information called @travelnewsouth and it is a sad fact that we regularly provide updates of nasty accidents attended by Air Ambulances.”

In 2010, Richard and his friend James Firth embarked on a whistlestop tour of Air Ambulance helicopter bases in the UK.

Last year, they held a rally through the Sussex countryside from Shoreham Airport to the Lavender Line and in March they drove from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a 15-year-old banger, all in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Drivers and bikers on two, three and four wheels are invited to turn up this Sunday and pay a registration fee of just £5 per car or bike.

Coffee and bacon rolls will be served at The Cock Inn pub at 10.30am before the convoy sets off at 11am. For more information call Richard on 07540 785042 or email

Monday, 24 September 2012

Colin's lasting legacy helps keep Air Ambulance flying

A snooker tournament in memory of a Cheriton man has raised more than £1,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The Worsley Cup was named after Colin Worsley, 35, who died in a road accident at Ringwold in 1996.

Following his death, family and friends held the annual round-robin tournament at the Hilton Snooker Club where Colin was a keen player.

His pairs partner Mark Glover, friend Nigel Franklin and sisters Dawn and Sandra were among the players who took park.

The competition ended when the club closed following the 2007 earthquake.

Last week (August 18th), his parents Maurice and Lena presented the £1,140 proceeds to the Air Ambulance at their home.

Changing lives through music

A charity concert held by Maidstone Riverside Rotary Club in its 21st anniversary year has raised £8,000 for Kent Air Ambulance and The Heart of Kent Hospice.

Maidstone Riverside has raised a grand total of more than £300,000 for local charities since it was founded in 1991.

In May, the club organised a charity concert featuring the London Welsh Male Voice Choir at All Saints Church.

Following the event, members visited the Air Ambulance base at Marden to present a cheque to the pilot, doctor and critical care paramedic.

President Colin Norgate said: "Maidstone Riverside Rotary Club is proud to be associated with Kent Air Ambulance and the generosity of the public in supporting our concert was evident in the amount of money we were able to donate to this service.”

When we visited their headquarters to present the cheque for £4,000 we were highly impressed by the professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of the whole team and the amazing job they do in caring for accident victims and helping to save lives".

Funds raised from the charity concert, which starred soloist and former Maidstone Girls Grammar School pupil Imogen Dyer, will be shared by the Air Ambulance and The Heart of Kent Hospice.

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500 so the sum raised will help fund two potentially life-saving mission.

The Heart of Kent Hospice specializes in providing expert palliative care and support to patients suffering from terminal illness.

FA kicks on with Air Ambulance fundraiser

Kent Football Association has once again chosen to support the Kent Air Ambulance for the 2012/2013 season by naming a shield in the charity’s honour.

Clubs playing in the historic Intermediate Challenge Shield raised £1,000 for the Marden-based helicopter last year.

The competition comprised 38 teams from Kent County Football League and the Kent Invicta Football League.

Kent FA will be holding the competition in the charity’s honour for the second successive season with each club taking part collecting funds from players and supporters.

Chief Executive Paul Dolan said: “Kent Air Ambulance is a fantastic organisation that helps save so many lives and we are delighted to support it through the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield this season.

“We will be clearly demonstrating our corporate social responsibility as the custodians of football in Kent by using the prestige of one of our largest County Cups to highlight the outstanding work carried out by the Air Ambulance.

Kent Air Ambulance has been called to a spate of football-related incidents in the last year.

In December, the doctor and critical care paramedic were called to a 15-year-old boy who broke his arm in Gravesend.

Last September, they were called to a 46-year-old male who suffered a cut to his head while playing football at home in Gillingham.

And in August, 2012, a male in his 20s suffered a leg injury in Sittingbourne and was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Joe's fun day keeps Air Ambulance flying

A schoolboy was reunited with the Surrey Air Ambulance pilot who flew to his rescue after a cycling accident as his family donated more than £5,000 to the life-saving charity.

Joe Goodchild, 15, from Walton, suffered a fractured skull and was in cardiac arrest after he collided with a car around the corner from where he lives.

He was given vital first aid by passer-by Carly Hall before paramedics Jim Laidlaw and Helen Ellison gave him emergency treatment and called in the helicopter.

Air Ambulance doctor Anthony Hudson and paramedic Natalie Brodrick anaesthetised Joe and carried out chest surgery at the road-side – skills usually performed in hospital.

They successfully resuscitated him before Chief Pilot, Captain Steve Wood, airlifted him to the Royal London Hospital in just 10 minutes – a journey that would have taken almost an hour by road.

The teenager spent three-and-a-half weeks in hospital following the accident in August last year but has since made an almost full recovery.

Last week, (September 13th), he was reunited with Steve, Carly and her husband Neil as his family presented a cheque for £5,544 to the charity which relies almost entirely on donations.

The funds were raised from a Family Fun Day at Reeds Rugby Club in Whiteley Village and included live music, a hog roast, balloon race, funfair, face painting and many other stalls.

Joe’s mum Suzi said: “We just want to say a big thank you to all the people who have supported us by giving their time and funds and coming along on the day.”

Members of Walton Rotary Club were so touched by Joe’s story that they kindly pledged a further £1,000, making the grand total almost £7,000.

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500 so the sum raised will fund three potentially life-saving missions.

Joe’s sister Bex is now planning to raise more money for the Air Ambulance from a Rag Week at Rydens Enterprise School where she, sister Zoe and Joe are all pupils.

Runner thanks Air Ambulance for saving friend's life

A motorist whose life was saved by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has spurred a friend into running the Tonbridge Half Marathon to raise funds for the charity.

Chrissy Hawkins, 51, was on her way to work when she was involved in a head-on collision with an oncoming car on the A21 at Castle Hill.

Air Ambulance Clinical Manager Richard de Coverley was travelling in the opposite direction and was caught in the ensuing tailback. He was alerted to the accident on his radio and arrived at the scene within minutes.

The former Tunbridge Wells Paramedic Team Leader assessed both patients and found Chrissy had life-threatening injuries so called in his colleagues at the nearby helicopter base at Marden.

Dr Neal Durge and critical care paramedic Mick Carter anaesthetised Chrissy and carried out chest surgery at the road-side – skills usually performed in hospital.

Chrissy was taken to the major trauma centre at King’s College Hospital in London with chest, abdominal, arterial  and limb injuries but has since made an almost full recovery.

Following the accident last September, her friend Duncan Lightfoot will be running next week’s half marathon in aid of the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

He said: “In the short time it took for the crew to reach Chrissy by road, Richard had conducted a thorough assessment and prepared her for the emergency interventions delivered by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic. 

“Chrissy had been rated with a near zero chance of survival from the injuries she received. Richard modestly said they just provided the transport to get her to the most appropriate major trauma centre but without the Air Ambulance crew that day, she would not have survived the journey.”

Chrissy, from Tonbridge, spent three months in hospital before she was finally allowed back home and is still off work and unable to drive.

She recently underwent further bowel surgery and is also receiving ultrasound treatment on a broken arm but is hoping to join Duncan in walking the last 100 metres of the run.

She said: “If Richard had not been in the traffic behind me that day and heard the report on his radio I would be dead, that really is how I see it. He saved my life.

“I just hope that in some small way, or preferably a large one, my experience and survival will help someone else.”

Duncan has so far raised £625 of his target £2,000 and can be sponsored at 


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Nursery worker wins lottery jackpot

A Frimley nursery manager enjoyed a flying start to the new school term when she won almost £5,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

Penny Hipperson, co-ordinator at St Francis Pre-School, signed up to the Superdraw in January after a canvasser called at her Warren Rise home.

Just eight months later, lucky numbers 4, 19, 22 and 35 came up in last Wednesday’s draw - winning her the jackpot of £4,578.

She said: “I’ve only ever won two prizes in the pre-school raffle. One was a bottle of whisky about 20 years ago and this year I won three months’ membership at the local gym.

“I joined the lottery because I thought at least it would be an annual donation. I still can’t quite believe I’ve won it, especially in less than a year. I’m very lucky and it has come completely out of the blue.”

Kent, Surrey & 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 fundraising lottery, call 01622 833833.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A 007 mission to help save lives

A James Bond-themed gala dinner dance, casino and auction is to be held at Dover Marina Hotel and Spa next month in aid of Kent Air Ambulance.

The Best Western hotel presents Diamonds are Forever on October 20th featuring award-winning close-up magician Etienne Pradier and Rat Pack singer Martin Croons.

Etienne has performed to audiences including Royalty, Prime Minister David Cameron, Johnny Depp, Pierce Brosnan, Lulu and Jamie Oliver.

There will be a cocktail drinks reception at 6.30pm followed by a five-course dinner, casino tables, an auction and a dance hosted by Dover Marina’s resident DJ.

Tickets for the black tie event cost £49.95 per person or £79.95 per person for an overnight package including dinner dance and a double room at the hotel with breakfast.

For more information call 01304 203633, email or go to

Funds raised on the night will go to life-saving charity Kent Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Swing along to Sinatra.and all that jazz

Film and TV stars will be among the acts at this year’s Maritime Jazz Festival (September 19th – 23rd) in aid of life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The festival will feature Dorian Ford, star of hit Judy Dench film Mrs Henderson Presents, who will be joined by trumpeter Matt Gough and band at Dickens World.

Actor and musician Dorian, noted for his lyrical style, has also appeared in BBC productions such as Richard III in which he played Prince Edward, and Grange Hill.

Award-winning vocalist Tina May will kick off the show at Simply Italian in Rochester and will be joined by French pianist James Hayes, Vibes Master Roan Kearsey-Lawson and bass player Neil Francis.

Italian alto saxophonist Tommaso Starace will be dedicating his performance on Friday to the music of Michel Petrucciani whose compositions were conceived in the American jazz community.

BBC South East Today presenter Rob Smith will introduce the acts on Saturday at Dickens World including funky New Orleans street band Blew Tubes.

The six-piece band, billed as a rhythmical and historical jazz treat, features Ray Butcher who played the trumpet in BBC1 drama Land Girls.

The sounds of Frank Sinatra will also fill the Britannia Theatre courtesy of male crooner Ryan Sanders and Jim Hastings while Universal Records artist Shane Hampsheir will perform a Michael Buble-style of swing.

British jazz legend Tommy White and vocalist Barbara Jay will then bring the curtain down on the festival at The Roffen Club at Rochester on Sunday where music lovers can enjoy a full Sunday roast.

For tickets and information about the five day festival go to or call 01634 365453.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Ferry worker wins £18,000 lottery jackpot

A Dover ferry worker crossed the winning line when he netted the jackpot in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s Superdraw.

P&O Ferries engineer Denis Harper, from Hythe, joined the life-saving charity’s lottery two years ago after a canvasser called at his home.

His lucky numbers based on family birthdays, 2, 16, 21 and 27, came up in last Wednesday’s midweek draw and landed him a cool £18,058.

On Friday (August 31st), the father-of-two visited the helicopter base at Marden with son Joe to collect his cheque.

He said: “I’ve worked on the cross channel ferries for more than 27 years and this win will go towards my pension pot.

“My wife and I haven’t really thought about what to spend the money on but we’ll probably use it when we retire.

“When I got the call to say I’d won I thought it would be a couple of hundred pounds, I didn’t realise it would be as much as it was.”

The charity’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 fundraising lottery, call 01622 833833.

Newly-weds thank Air Ambulance for their big day

A Crayford couple who survived a road crash thanked Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance for saving their lives as they tied the knot.

Jamie and Hilary Ward were driving along the A20 near Brands Hatch when they were involved in a collision with two vehicles a year ago in August last year.

Hilary suffered serious injuries and was given emergency treatment at the road-side – skills usually performed in hospital - before being airlifted to King’s College Hospital in London.

Four other patients including Jamie were taken to Darent Valley Hospital but the couple have since made a full recovery and married on June 8th at Cooling Castle Barn in Rochester.

Jamie said: “We will never forget what the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance have done for us as we start out married life together.

“Hilary was very badly injured and if it was not for the prompt response and medical attention of the Air Ambulance crew, getting her to King’s College Hospital in London, she may not be here today. For this we are eternally grateful.

“We both intend to carry out some fundraising in the future for this wonderful charity and would like to pass on our sincere thanks and gratitude to all the team.”

During the groom’s speech, Jamie introduced a Thank You game for guests to play in which they were asked to put some money into an empty glass.

Every time the groom said “thanks” or “thank you” in his speech, the glass was passed around each table and whoever had the glass at the end won the money.

The guests kindly donated their winnings to the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations and raised a total of £371.

All of the groom’s party and the father of the bride wore helicopter pin badges to show their appreciation and the couple also wrote a poem for each table. It read:


Thank you for sharing in our Wedding Day,

To have you all here is the only way,

We would have wanted it to be,

So to family and friends thanks from Hills and me.


 Instead of traditional favours we have made a donation

To a charity without whom there would be no celebration,

From an accident that could have been so ill fated,

We were rescued by a wonderful charity that is hugely under-rated.


To Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance we owe them our lives,

Thanks to them, today Hills has become my wife,

Without the usual small treat, I’m sure you’ll get by,

Knowing our donation will help them keep their helicopter in the sky


Donations to Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance from wedding guests is an exceptional way of thanking the couple for celebrating their marriage and helps save lives.

The charity will provide personalised favour cards and pin badges as a memorable keepsake of each guest’s donation. For more information call Amy Salter on 01622 833833 or email

Sky's the limit for daring Dermot

A Rochester barman is to jump out of a plane in a sponsored skydive in a bid to raise more than £2,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Dermot McGeary is more used to pulling pints at The Pier in Lower Upnor but will be relying on his tandem instructor to pull the rip cord when they bale out at 12,500ft.

He will undertake his challenge at Headcorn Airfield on September 15th almost a year after he first did a skydive there to conquer his fear of heights.

He will be in freefall at 120mph before his parachute opens at 6,000ft, giving him stunning views of the so-called Garden of England.

Dermot, 51, said: “It takes about 20 minutes to get up to 12,500ft but just six minutes to get back down. I don’t like heights, I’m all right going up, it’s just coming down but once that plane’s up there I’ll do it.

“The Air Ambulance is a worthwhile charity and every donation I receive will help keep it in the air. I told one of the bar staff what I was doing and she sponsored me £50 because it saved her sister.”

Dermot will celebrate his achievement that evening with a party at The Pier including a live band which he has paid for out of his own finds.

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500 so the sum Dermot aims to raise will help fund one potentially life-saving mission. To sponsor him call 07545 625628.

Ashford Rotary Club Ramble

Walkers are being urged to join Ashford Rotary Club’s annual ramble next month to raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Teams or individuals are needed to take part in the five or 10-mile walk from Wye Village Hall on September 16th.

The route is almost entirely off road, well-marked and takes in the beautiful countryside surrounding Wye.

The fundraising event sponsored by The Brett Group and Medash Signs runs from 8am to 11am with an entry donation of £10 per adult, £15 per family or £25 per teams of any size.

To find out more and download entry and sponsorship forms go to

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is a life-saving charity which relies almost entirely on public donations and receives no statutory Government or National Lottery funding.

The helicopter’s doctor and critical care paramedic can carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene of an accident or medical emergency, giving patients the best chance and quality of survival


Survivor thanks Air Ambulance for saving his life

A biker has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance pilot who helped save his life as his daughter vowed to raise funds for the charity.

Father-of-two Steve Heselden, 56, from Eastbourne, suffered two punctured lungs, nine broken ribs and a broken shoulder after he collided with a car.

Pilot Kevin Goddard arrived within minutes with the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic who treated Steve at the scene before flying him to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The experienced motorcyclist spent seven weeks at the major trauma centre and Guy’s Hospital before he was finally discharged to his Whitley Road home.

He said: “If it hadn’t been for the Air Ambulance taking me to hospital I don’t think I would have survived.

I had to be told I had a motorbike accident because I didn’t know.

“I’ve no memory of what happened but the first thing I remember thinking is that I had too much wrong with me and wasn’t going to make it.

“The next thing I recall is the noise of the helicopter and the doctor and paramedic in their bright red flight suits.

“I suffered extensive bruising to my upper body and when I first looked in the mirror I was so black it was hair-raisingly horrible.”

Steve thanked Kevin for helping to save his life when he visited the helicopter base with his daughter Laura Flight.

He was visiting her at the café where she works when the accident happened in Sharpthorne, West Sussex, in May.

Land paramedics at South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) called in the helicopter which arrived within just 12 minutes from its base at Marden – a journey that would have taken more than an hour by road.

Dr Ed Dennison-Davies and paramedic Dave Marshall sedated Steve and gave him an ultrasound at the road-side – a procedure usually performed in hospital.

They then flew him to the Royal Sussex where he spent four weeks before he was transferred to Guy’s Hospital and underwent two operations to insert four metal ribs and remove a blood clot from his chest.

Steve, an electrician, is currently off work but is expected to make an almost full recovery although he may have permanent nerve damage to his leg and shoulder.

Following his accident, Laura has raised £233 for the Air Ambulance by having the helicopter’s logo inked on her arm and can still be sponsored at

She said: “I want to honour the people who saved my dad’s life with a permanent tribute and raise some money to help keep them in the air and saving lives.”                                                                                          

Laura is also planning a ball and to take part in the Three Peaks Challenge in aid of the charity which relies almost entirely on public donations.