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 www.justgiving.com/lauraflighttattoo
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.