Thursday, 27 December 2012

Runners needed for Brighton Marathon

Runners are being urged to sign up for this year’s Brighton Marathon in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance to help fund the charity’s plans for night flying.

It costs £5million a year to keep both helicopters flying during daylight hours but this figure will rise to £6million when a 24-hour service is launched next year.

The Air Ambulance currently has 23 charity places available for runners who can commit to raising a minimum of £500.

Among this year’s entrants is Karen Allnutt, from West Hythe, who was airlifted to hospital following a road traffic collision two years ago.

She said: “This will be a personal challenge for me and is a perfect opportunity to raise valuable funds for the Air Ambulance.

“It was an easy choice for me and I’m pleased to say that with many thanks to them I have made a fantastic recovery.”

All Air Ambulance entrants will be given an opportunity to visit the helicopter base and meet the pilot, doctor and paramedic, subject to emergency call-outs

They will also receive a fundraising pack including sponsor forms, support and advice from the charity’s fundraising team, a training guide and an Air Ambulance running vest.

Community Fundraiser Amy Salter said: “Last year we had 47 runners and we would love to double that in 2013. Our plans for night flying will give this year’s entrants a fantastic fundraising goal to work towards.”

Anyone interested in running the marathon on April 14th should call Amy on 01622 833806 or email  For more information visit

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Air Ambulance training helps save parachutist at 12,000ft

Photo: Headcorn Parachute Club Chief Instructor Peter Sizer, Air Ambulance Clinical Manager Rob Wilkinson and parachute instructor Clem Quinn with a defibrillator.

A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance nurse helped save the life of a parachutist who had a heart attack at 12,000ft.
Clinical Manager, Rob Wilkinson gave first aid and defibrillator training to Headcorn Airfield staff including parachute instructors Bernard Devine, Del Hopkins and Clem Quinn.
The trio recently put their training into practice for the first time when 74-year-old veteran parachutist Dave Coveney collapsed as he prepared to jump out of a plane.
They carried out CPR as the aircraft descended immediately and Chief Instructor Peter Sizer rushed out to meet them with a defibrillator when they landed.
They had to use the device four times to shock his heart into re-starting before an ambulance arrived and Dave was taken to hospital. The grandfather-of-one, from Kingswood, is now recovering at home.
Rob said: “Without the willingness of the staff at Headcorn Airfield to have this training and use it so rapidly and appropriately, this man would not be alive.
“Training is routinely provided to around 20 members of staff at the airfield and we’re really pleased it has paid off. It demonstrates another aspect of the Air Ambulance’s life-saving work.”
Rob has worked for the charity for 14 years and often provides first aid training in the community as part of his role.
Parachute instructor Clem said: “The defibrillator was absolutely brilliant and I’m totally converted to them. It’s like having an expert suddenly appear on the scene and it was very reassuring.”
In a separate incident earlier this year, a retired civil servant was out running when he suffered a cardiac arrest outside Fidelity Worldwide Investment in Hildenborough.
The offices are equipped with a number of defibrillators and staff used one to successfully resuscitate Dr Alan Heyes, OBE.
He was given emergency treatment at the scene by the Air Ambulance doctor and paramedic before being flown to hospital and has since made a good recovery.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Heart group supports Air Ambulance

Photo: L-R Air Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic Chris Fudge, Bob Hill and Dr Paul Ransom

A Dover support group for heart patients has breathed new life into Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s plans to start night flying in the New Year.

White Cliffs Heart Support Group provided advice and support for victims of heart disease and their relatives at The Landmark Centre but closed earlier this year.

The group raised funds from raffles, coffee mornings and quiz nights and decided to donate £1,000 to the Air Ambulance.

Chairman Bob Hill, a former ambulance technician, was reunited with former colleague Chris Fudge when he visited the helicopter base to present the cheque.

The pair worked together at Dover Ambulance Station and Chris is now an Air Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic.

Bob said: “It’s a cause very close to my heart because I worked for the ambulance service for 26 years and I know what a fabulous job they do.”

It costs £5million a year to keep both helicopters flying but this figure will rise to £6million with the launch of a 24-hour service in the Spring.

Chris said: “About 20 per cent of our calls are to medical emergencies such as heart attacks and cardiac arrests.

“This donation is enough to buy 100 doses of a drug essential to suppress adverse heart rhythms, and is very much appreciated.”

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Crash Course at Benenden Hospital

"A blocked airway can kill someone in three to four minutes but it can take more than eight minutes for an ambulance to arrive. A simple procedure such as opening the airway can save a life, whilst waiting for emergency help to arrive.”

The CRASH First Aid course has been designed for young, new, existing drivers, bikers, cyclists and all who use our roads.
CRASH Course was developed due to the large number of deaths and serious injuries that occur on our roads each year.
The CRASH Course teaches the priceless life-saving skills needed in providing effective Pre-Hospital First Aid skills at the scene of a Road Traffic Collision; all under the instruction of ex Fire, Police and Ambulance Service staff with many years of experience.
Candidates who attend the CRASH Course are also educated on the dangers of breaking road traffic laws and the consequences that these actions will have.
The major component that brings CRASH course to life is the effective use of actors with dramatic, realistic casualty make up. This style of training is typically used by the British Armed Forces to produce the most effective Medics and First Aiders in the world. Presented with these challenging road traffic collision scenarios, the newly attained First Aid skills will truly be put to the test, an experience that can potentially increase a safer use of our roads.
Together, we can have more life-savers on our roads that will potentially save yours or a loved one’s life.
In addition:
The Crash course will also award the HSE Approved Emergency First Aid at Work qualification which is a great advantage for employment and employers.

Crash Course Dates:

16th & 17th February 2013
20th & 21st April 2013
1st & 2nd June 2013
21st & 22nd September 2013

For more information please visit:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Walnut Tree Public House Raffle

A Raffle is to be held at

The Walnut Tree public house, East Farleigh

Saturday 15th December
from 7.30pm onwards.
Lots of prizes!
Proceeds to the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance
Promises to be a very good evening for a good cause!
Forge Lane, East Farleigh, Maidstone, Kent ME15 0HJ
Phone: 01622 721 106

Jack and the Beanstalk

A pantomime dame will be swapping his feather duster for a collection tin to raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after his son was rescued by the life-saving charity.

Paul Mills played his first dame as “Mother” to Russ Abbott and has worked alongside artistes such as John Bishop, Michael Barrymore, Chesney Hawkes and Toyah Wilcox.

In June, his 14-year-old son Kiyia was airlifted to hospital following a collision with a car in Herne Bay but has since made a good recovery.

Paul wants to say thank you to the Air Ambulance by having a collection after performances of Jack and the Beanstalk at Margate’s Theatre Royal where he will play the role of Dame Trot.

He said: “My wife Rosita and I can never thank the pilot, doctor and paramedic enough for saving our son’s life.

“We’re fortunate to be in a position where we can do a little fundraising as we are aware how much they rely on public donations.”

Paul will star alongside Canterbury comedian Nick Beat as Simple Simon, Sophie Guariglia as the Fairy and Kim Joyce as Fleshcreep.

His appearances in the West End include Jesus Chris Superstar, Peter Pan, Marathon, Anything Goes, Run For Your Wife and Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story.

Jack and the Beanstalk features a top-flight professional cast, up-to-the-minute music, an hilarious script, stunning scenery and a team of talented dancers.

The show produced by Reach Productions runs from December 13th to 30th and includes school matinee performances. For bookings call the box office on 01843 296111 or go to

Monday, 10 December 2012

Life-saving Partnership

A partnership between the South East Lions Clubs and the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance will help to save even more lives, at night, in 2013.

In launching their public appeal, Lions Clubs in the South East have pledged to raise £250,000 over the next 10 years which will help the charity to achieve its aim of night flying. The funds will be a significant contribution towards the additional £1 million a year needed to allow the Air Ambulance to extend its operations.

Adrian Bell, Chief Executive of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance said ‘Lions clubs have been long term supporters of the Air Ambulance for many years. This is a major step forward in forging a path to operating by night and potentially saving many more lives each year’.

The Air Ambulance currently operates two helicopters with two crews working from 7am – 7pm. But early next year the charity will replace one of its aircraft with a newer helicopter with night flying capabilities which will allow the charity to operate after dark from the charity’s Redhill base. The specialist doctor and paramedic crew take to the scene of serious medical emergencies, the type of skills normally only found in a hospitals A & E department.

Howard Lee, Chairman of the SE Lions Night Flying Appeal Steering Committee, said. "For quite some time, Kent Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust has done a wonderful job during daylight hours reaching out to those in distress and bringing life-saving medical help as quickly as possible. Lions Clubs across the four counties have been more than pleased to assist over many years. Now we are proud to be able to act as one of the main catalysts to expanding the Air Ambulance service to cover the hours of darkness as well, bringing help to around 700 more people each year. Through this initiative, we feel we are making a difference; indeed we feel that this really is Lions Clubs Saving Lives.”

The seventy Lions Clubs across the South East and south London have been raising funds and providing services and facilities to their local communities for 50 years including helping to make a difference to the needy and to those experiencing less fortunate circumstances. Members of the Clubs come from varied backgrounds and professions using their skills and initiatives to improve the quality of life and the community.

To find out more visit  or

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Survivor Chris joins the Reds

Photo: L-R Air Ambulance Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson, Chris Sole, Phil Chaplin (step-father) and Anita Sole (mother). Please credit picture to James Boardman Photography.

A Southwater cyclist rescued by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance was the special guest at Crawley Town’s FA Cup match against Chelmsford City on Saturday.

Chris Sole, 37, was presented with a signed football by the club which has chosen the life-saving helicopter as one of its charities of the year.

The store supervisor was cycling home when a car collided with him on Blackbridge Lane in September 2011.

He was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the Air Ambulance’s doctor and critical care paramedic and has since made a good recovery.

On Saturday, he and his family were treated to hospitality tickets at the Broadfield Stadium including seats in the directors’ box and a three-course meal.

Chris said: “I had a fantastic day out and I want to say a big thank you to Crawley Town Football Club.”

The Reds won 3-0 and now face Premiership club Reading in another home tie on January 5th.

Commercial Manager Ewan Dunlop said: “It was an honour to have Chris and members of the Air Ambulance team at the match and we hope the afternoon provided some great memories.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance needs £5million a year to keep both helicopters flying and relies almost entirely on public donations.

Supporters can join the charity’s REDS (Regular Essential Donation Scheme) at

Monday, 3 December 2012

Walk of life for Air Ambulance

Photo: L-R Air Ambulance doctor Paul Ransom, Tom Brabham and critical care paramedic Chris Fudge at the helicopter base at Marden

An adventurer is aiming to fulfill a childhood ambition by walking the entire 7,000 miles of British coastline in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Tom Brabham will set off on his epic challenge from Eastbourne Pier on February 5th next year, just a week after his 22nd birthday.

The former Hailsham Community College pupil aims to complete the trek in 10 months, arriving back home in time for Christmas, 2013.

Tom has been inspired by a book called Turn Right at Land’s End by John Merrill - the first man to successfully achieve the feat in 1978.

He said: “I’ve wanted to do this since I left school but unfortunately I felt I was too young and lifestyle choices got in the way. Travelling was put about as far back on the back burner as it can get.

“I believe this country is a beautiful place and I want to explore the land I’m from before travelling abroad. If anything the weather will be just as if not more diverse and the coastline and countryside here is incredible.”

Tom, from Hailsham, is a chef at The Old Oak Inn at Arlington but will soon be swapping his whites for a pair of walking boots, map, compass and tent.

During his mammoth trip, he will have to navigate his way around rising tides, industrial complexes and Army firing ranges.

His journey will take him clockwise along the South Coast to Land’s End, Wales, north west England, the Isle of Anglesey, Lancashire and Cumbria.

In the summer, he will then cross the Scottish border into the Highlands, back into England and south towards London before following the Kent coastline to Eastbourne.

John Merrill became the first person to walk the entire coastline of Britain, averaging 26 miles per day with 50lbs on his back for 10 months.

He climbed the three highest mountains, Snowdon, Scafell and Ben Nevis, and drank 529 pints of milk, ate 1,511 bars of chocolate and wore out three pairs of boots and 33 pairs of socks.

He raised more than £45,000 for charity and his outstanding personal achievement earned him a place in the Guiness Book of Records.

Tom is aiming to raise £3,000 to fund his trip and been sponsored by Timberland, Procter Healthcare and PRB Training.

To sponsor him and find out more go to,, or @shoelacexpress on Twitter.

Sainsbury’s family weekend for Air Ambulance

Staff at Sainsbury's in Haywards Heath are holding a family fun weekend in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance this Saturday and Sunday (December 8th-9th)

A lollipop lucky dip, gingerbread house auction and Name the Bear competition will be among the attractions at the Bannister Way store which has chosen the life-saving helicopter as its Charity of the Year.

There will also be a raffle and tombola with prizes including Sainsbury's gift vouchers and a model Air Ambulance helicopter.

Haywards Heath Town Mayor, Cllr John Sabin, will be the special guest at 1pm on Saturday and there will be a visit from Air Ambulance mascot Dr Dudley.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance needs £5million a year to keep both helicopters flying and relies almost entirely on public donations.

The pilots, doctors and critical care paramedics have attended more than 1,000 call-outs so far this year.

Air Ambulance Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson said: "We are delighted that Haywards Heath Sainsbury's is supporting us and it is fantastic to have them on board.

"Their support will help us raise not only much-needed funds but also valuable awareness about our life-saving service among customers and the local community."

Survivor reunited with pilot who helped save his life

Photo 1: L-R Peter Fletcher and Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

Photo 2: L-R Ian Sheppard, Peter Fletcher and Kevin Goddard

A cyclist critically injured in a road crash while training for a charity bike ride in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, has been reunited with the pilot who helped save his life.

Father-of-three Peter Fletcher, 51, suffered multiple injuries after a car collided with him on the A2 at Barham near Canterbury.

The Air Ambulance was called and he was given emergency treatment at the road-side by two doctors and a critical care paramedic.

Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, then flew Peter to a major trauma centre in London and he spent a total of six months in hospital before he was finally allowed home.

Last week (November 27th), Peter met Kevin for the first time since the collision as he kindly donated £3,466 to the life-saving charity.

He said: “Meeting Kevin and his colleagues gave me the opportunity to express my sincere thanks for saving my life.

“Since the accident I have been involved with raising money for the Air Ambulance which has added to the positives in my recovery. I am now committed to supporting the charity in the future.”

Peter, from River, was training for a 450-mile bike ride from Land’s End to Dover when the collision happened in March.

In June, his family and friends including brother-in-law Ian Sheppard honoured his pledge to raise funds for the Air Ambulance by cycling from the helicopter base at Marden to Fowlmead Country Park.

Peter has made a good recovery and is now walking, driving and back at work as an account manager for Invensys Operations Management in Crawley, West Sussex.