Friday, 20 December 2013

Raffle winner's early Christmas present

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

An Uckfield resident is splashing out on a holiday to Sri Lanka after winning £5,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s Christmas Draw.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, scooped the top prize in the life-saving charity’s annual raffle held yesterday (December 19th).

She said: “At first I’d forgotten that I’d bought some tickets but then realised I had. I’m delighted, it’s quite a sizeable amount and it will help cover the cost of Christmas which is fantastic.

“It’s been one of those years where everything has broken down and we’ve had to replace things so this will help to cover the cost of it. We’re also going away to Sri Lanka soon so it will also give us some spending money for that.”

A ticket holder in Chichester won the second prize of £1,000 while the third prize of £250 went to a winner in Chatham. There were five further runner-up prizes of £50 each.

Funds raised from this year’s Christmas Draw will potentially save 80 lives and the charity also has its own in-house lottery to generate income as it receives no National Lottery funding.

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance, or join the lottery, please call 01622 833833 or go to

That'll do donkey!

Photo: Harry the donkey pictured with cousins Jessica and Isla Greenaway

A Crockham Hill family has raised more than £700 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance by delivering Christmas cards with their pet donkey.

The Greenaway family and Harry the donkey posted 1,332 season’s greetings around the village in return for donations to the life-saving charity,

Villagers were urged to drop off their cards at The Royal Oak pub where a team of Santa’s helpers spent six hours sorting the mail.

Organiser Dawn Greenaway said: “Each card was stamped with a picture of a donkey so recipients knew their cards had been delivered via the Donkey Postal Service.

“Harry was adorned in his Christmas attire and with the help of family and friends delivered the cards around the village on Saturday and Sunday. We received tremendous support from the residents of Crockham Hill.”

In total, the annual fundraising event raised £1,415 for the Air Ambulance and Hospice in the Weald. If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Air Ambulance launches first 24-hour helicopter service in the country

Photo: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Medical Director Dr Malcolm Russell pictured at the night flying launch at Redhill Aerodrome.

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance yesterday (Wednesday) became the first air ambulance in the country to launch a 24-hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) following three years of research and preparatory work.

Up until recently, and unlike the rest of Europe, the service could only fly by daylight and so traditionally operated between 7am – 7pm with two specialised medical teams deploying in two helicopters from the Marden base in Kent and Redhill in Surrey, and in emergency response cars after dark. The teams attended about 1,500 missions and treated about 1,000 patients each year.

There has, however, long been a clear indication of patient need by night. The charity undertook its own prospective and retrospective audit of patient cases which identified that there were between 400 and 500 patients per year in the 3,500 square miles that is Kent, Surrey & Sussex who would benefit from night HEMS and also, most significantly, that about half of these cases were between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

It is not possible to attend so many patients dispersed across such a large area by car and so a centrally-located helicopter and medical team was clearly needed. Following a change in Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations in 2012, the charity replaced one of its older MD902 helicopters with a night-capable MD902 which now operates from Redhill Aerodrome throughout the night.

Because of the region’s size, complexities, and the presence of two major and many other minor airports, the decision was made to fly with two pilots rather than a traditional single pilot operation, to ensure the safest and most reliable service for patients and crew alike.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust Chairman Anthony Monteuuis said: “This is a hugely expensive step and we have taken the greatest care to devise a service that is as robust and as safe as possible for everyone flying in the helicopter whether it’s the patients or crew.

“The people of Kent, Surrey and Sussex are better served from this moment forward than they have in the past.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell said: “Our focus is on getting our highly-skilled teams with their time-critical interventions, to the patient as quickly and safely as possible not only to save life but also to improve the quality of survival.

“None of what we do would be possible without the support of the public. There are many patients alive and well today, living with their families and amongst their friends who would not be there without the public’s generous support and I would like to thank them on behalf of the charity, and all the patients we attend and treat, for their kindness and thoughtfulness.”

* If you would like to make a donation to Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance go to or call 01622 833833.


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Survivor's carol concert for Air Ambulance

A horse rider who says her life was saved by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is holding a Christmas carol concert to raise funds for the charity this Friday (December 13th).

Erika Schilsky, 45, suffered a fractured skull, a brain injury, broken ribs and a broken collarbone in a riding accident at Staplecross.

She had to be given emergency treatment at the scene by the doctor and paramedic before being flown to a major trauma centre in London.

Erika, from Peacehaven, was in a coma for three weeks and spent a total of four months in hospital and a further four months undergoing rehabilitation as she learned to walk again following the accident last September.

She has since made a good recovery and on Friday will be conducting a choir accompanied by pianist Tim Nail at St John’s Church in Palmeira Square, Hove.

The concert of classical songs and carols by the Diversity Singers starts at 7.30pm, tickets cost £5 on the door and all proceeds will go to the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

Erika said: “I’m very grateful to the Air Ambulance for saving my life.”

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Survivor Kye supports Air Ambulance fundraiser

Photo: Kye Sharrad pictured with Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Jez Loseby at the helicopter base at Marden

A five-year old boy airlifted by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is to be the special guest at a raffle and auction night in aid of the life-saving charity next week (December 14th).

Kye Sharrad, from Harrietsham, was feeding a horse at his grandfather’s stables when it suddenly swung round and knocked him to the floor.

He suffered a potentially fatal head injury and had to be flown to a specialist major trauma centre in London where he underwent emergency brain surgery following the accident in July.

Kye has since made a full recovery and will now draw the first ticket at an annual fundraising event in aid of the Air Ambulance at The Walnut Tree in East Farleigh.

Auction prizes include a an hour’s pleasure flight in a light aircraft, a Liverpool Football Club stadium tour, a return Dover crossing for four people and a clay pigeon shoot.

Raffle prizes include a Sunday roast for four at The Walnut Tree, a family ticket to Penshurst Place, a greyhound racing night for six at Sittingbourne and a Chirstmas food hamper.

Last year, The Walnut Tree raised more than £10,000 for the Air Ambulance from a number of events including a weekly quiz night, cricket day and the raffle and auction night.

Organiser Steve Cloude said: “I’d like to thank all the businesses, organisations and individuals who have donated such fantastic prizes and The Walnut Tree for allowing us to use their venue.”

Raffle tickets are available until 7.30pm on the night and for more information call Steve on 07802 150020.

Southeastern staff to take on a 50 mile Group Walking Challenge

Southeastern staff have been hard at work training for a two-day marathon walking challenge - all in the name of charity.
The Group Walking Challenge was masterminded by Southeastern’s Orpington and Bromley Group station manager, Danny Hackett and will see a group of about 15 employees cover more than 50 miles as they visit 28 stations from Denmark Hill to Sevenoaks and back again to Bromley South.
The challenge will take place over two days on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 December to raise funds for the two Southeastern-sponsored charities Kent Air Ambulance and Demelza Children’s Hospice.
Alison Nolan, spokesperson for Southeastern said: “Our staff, led by station manager Danny Hackett came to us with this fantastic idea of how they could raise money and awareness for our nominated charities.
“The team have spent many weekends and their spare time in training for the 50-mile event, we’re really proud of their commitment and dedication to the cause. This is another way Southeastern employees are engaging with the local community and going the extra mile to support these exceptional charities,” she said.
Donna Wells, spokesperson for Demelza said: “Southeastern have been long-time supporters of Demelza and are always coming up with new ways to support us. We’ll be doing bucket collections at several of their stations before the group walking challenge takes place, and cheering the group to the finish line on both days.”
Julie Clare, a spokesperson for Kent Air Ambulance said: “This is a novel challenge which Southeastern have come up with and no mean feat so we would like to wish their staff all the best for their walk next month.
“This is a really exciting year for the air ambulance with the launch of our night operation and blood transfusion service and we are extremely grateful for Southeastern’s support as their Charity of the Year.”
Day one of the Group Walking Challenge will start at 7.30am at Denmark Hill station on Saturday 15 December. The group will walk to Sevenoaks stopping at 16 stations via Catford, Bromley South, Swanley and Otford. They will cover approximately 30 miles.
Day two of the challenge will see the group walk over 20 miles to visit 12 stations on Sunday 15 December. Starting at Sevenoaks, the group will walk towards London along the route via Orpington to Grove Park and double back to finish at Bromley South.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Modelmaker builds Air Ambulance replica

Photo 1: Air Ambulance Pilot Mark Howard-Smith, Peter Williams, critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley, Dr Will Davies and Pilot Dan Kitteridge pictured at the helicopter base at Redhill Aerodrome

A former Royal Navy medic has built a model of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance which he hopes will become a real moneyspinner for the life-saving charity.

Peter Williams, from Frimley, spent 18 months painstakingly putting together a replica of the twin-engine MD902 Explorer complete with battery-operated rotor blades.

A leather handbag, cocktail sticks and metal from a camping seat were among the materials he used to lovingly craft the helicopter to a sixth of its normal size.

On Friday, he finally presented his work of art to the Air Ambulance pilot, doctor and paramedic at their Redhill base so that the charity can display it at fundraising exhibitions.

He said: “It all started due to further problems with my health and poor mobility. I wanted something to concentrate my mind and get the old grey mater working.

“I thought the Air Ambulance was a great subject so I visited the base and took some photos and I found the aircraft manufacturer’s manual on the Internet.

“Building the fuselage was not too bad but when it came to the top engine covers it was a nightmare. It took three attempts to get it as near as true possible and I nearly took a hammer to it.”

Peter spent 12 years in the Medical Branch of the Royal Navy and served in Korea, Malta and Portsmouth before re-training in engineering and becoming a Senior Mechanical Designer.

He also worked as a Technical Illustrator designing service handbooks for a forklift company which sparked an interest in model making.

The 80-year-old has previously built a model of the cruiser HMS Cumberland which went on display at the National Marine Aquarium at Plymouth.

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to

Air Ambulance in new TV documentary

One of the first patients to given a road-side blood transfusion by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is to be featured in a new TV medical documentary next week (December 3rd).

Harry Leake, 9, suffered multiple life-threatening injuries after he was involved in a collision with a motorbike in Worthing.

He had to be given emergency treatment at the scene by Dr Richard Lyon and critical care paramedic Jon Sanders who carried out advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

Chief Pilot, Captain Nick Bramley then flew him to Southampton Hospital in just 14 minutes - a journey that could have taken almost an hour by road.

ITV’s Trauma: Level One shows Harry arriving in the resuscitation area of the major trauma centre where Dr Lyon catalogues his injuries and treatment at scene following the accident in April.

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance launched its blood transfusion service in February in a move which is expected to benefit up to 100 patients a year.

Previously, the procedure could be carried out only in hospital or at scene using a saline-based solution.

* Trauma: Level One is on Tuesday, (December 3rd), at 10.35pm.

Santa's coming to town

Photo: Father Christmas pictured during a previous collection by Sutton Nonsuch Rotary Club

Father Christmas kicks off his fundraising drive in aid of life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance next week.

He will be swapping his sleigh for a truck as he rides through Sutton, Nonsuch, Cheam, North Cheam and Worcester Park.

There will be seven mobile street collections starting on Monday (December 2nd) at Sparrow Farm Road in Worcester Park, at 5.45pm.

This is the 26th year that Christmas collections have been held by Sutton Nonsuch Rotary Club who last year raised £8,300 for local charities.

This year they are supporting Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, Phab, Sutton Mental Health and Missing People.

Shoppers will also get the chance to meet Santa and his helpers at store collections outside Sainsbury’s in North Cheam and Tesco on the Sutton bypass.

For more details about the collections go to or to help out as a volunteer email 

Air Ambulance doctor joins typhoon relief effort

A former Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor has flown to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan. 


Dr Amy Hughes and Professor Tony Redmond are leading a 12-strong UK medical and surgical team from the UK International Emergency Trauma Register.


They arrived in the capital Manila on Thursday (November 14th) before heading south west to the island of Cebu, the north of which suffered damage from the typhoon.


Dr Hughes is among the first British medics on scene and along with the rest of the team and will be using her specialist skills in emergency medicine to benefit survivors who need treatment.


She said: "The team is composed of a very diverse and experienced team of surgeons, anaesthetists, emergency doctors, GPs, emergency nurses and operating theatre nurses, all of whom have undergone specific medical, surgical and security training for working in disasters. All these people together bring a number of services to the community.”


Dr Hughes is more used to dealing with road traffic collisions having worked for the Air Ambulance for more than a year but has since completed her tour of duty with the life-saving charity.


She qualified as a doctor 10 years ago and has worked throughout the south-west and London in emergency medicine and pre-hospital care.


She also served in Queensland, Australia, with The Royal Flying doctors and recently returned from a seven-month mission to northern Sri Lanka with Medecins Sans Frontier.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Kathy celebrates £15,000 lottery win

A Horley nurse has been given an early Christmas present after winning almost £15,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

Kathy Baughan won the jackpot in the life-saving charity’s Superdraw just five months after signing up to be a member.

The grandmother-of-three picked her lucky numbers 4, 6, 13 and 16 from family birthdays and was stunned when they came up in the midweek draw.

Kathy won a total of £14,880.06 which she plans to spend on a holiday to Tenerife and tickets to see her favourite football team.

She said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to have won, just before Christmas as well. Am I dreaming or what? I’m shocked because I only joined the lottery in June.”

Kathy landed her lottery win on October 30th, the same day her beloved Tottenham Hotspurs beat Hull 8-7 on penalties in the league cup.

On Friday, delighted Kathy picked up her winnings from the Air Ambulance base at Redhill with daughter Michelle and grand-daughter Kitty. Just two days earlier, a work syndicate from Ashford in Kent scooped £3,747 in the Superdraw.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s Regular Lottery costs just £1 per week and there are 12 winners drawn each week and with prizes 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 go to  or call 01622 833833.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

24 Hours in A&E

A pedestrian seriously injured in a road traffic collision at St Mary Hoo is to be featured in award-winning Channel 4 documentary 24 Hours in A&E next week (Wednesday, November 13th).

Seventy-year-old Pauline suffered severe leg injuries after she was involved in a collision with a vehicle outside the Fenn Bell Inn pub in February.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s doctor and critical care paramedic were called and she was taken to King’s College Hospital in London.

Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E shows Pauline arriving in the resuscitation area of the major trauma centre where the helicopter’s doctor catalogues her injuries.

The first episode of the new series focuses on patients involved in serious road traffic collisions and shows that not all problems are immediately obvious.

As someone who has always put others first, Pauline reflects on the novelty of having to let others do things for her.

24 Hours in A&E  used more than 90 cameras to film around the clock at King’s, offering unprecedented access to one of Britain’s busiest accident and emergency departments. The BAFTA award-nominated programme is on every Wednesday at 9pm.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is a life-saving charity helicopter which effectively takes A&E to the scene of accidents and emergencies. The care and treatment the medics provide is often crucial to the level of recovery a patient will make later on in hospital.

King’s College Hospital is recognised internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Air Ambulance Open Evening

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is hosting an open evening on Thursday 14th November where you can meet the team and find out about the work of the life-saving charity. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Holiday Inn in Wrotham starting at 7pm.

Presentations from the Chairman, Chief Executive and clinical leads from the charity will talk about service development, patient outcomes and operating at night.

Dr Malcolm Russell, Medical Director for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, said: “With medicine and technology always developing rapidly, our Charity has kept right at the forefront and this year has been particularly exciting.  Come along and hear how we’ve brought blood transfusion to the roadside and transformed into a 24-hour operation in order to reach even more sick and injured patients in our community.”

Every day the air ambulance’s specialist medical teams respond to an average of six calls taking advanced pre-hospital care directly to seriously ill and injured patients.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to meet some of the pilots, doctors and critical care paramedics from the Air Ambulance.

If you would like to come along to open evening and find out more about the vital work or your air ambulance please email Jill Playle at or ring 01622 833833.

We're sold on sale boards fundraiser

Photo: Forest Row branch Sales Manager Sharon Watkinson pictured with one of the For Sale boards

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is reaping the rewards of a pick-up in the housing market.

For every For Sale board put up by Howard Cundey Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents, the company will make a donation to the emergency service.

The fundraising campaign runs from September 1st until the end of this month when the market traditionally slows down, and has so far raised £700.

Howard Cundey Associate Partner Ron Gibson, from the Tunbridge Wells Office, was called out to value a house as a direct result of sponsoring the Air Ambulance by a vendor and avid biker whose friend was saved by the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

He said: “It is close to the hearts of some of our members of staff whose family members have been rescued and with offices in Kent, Surrey & Sussex, we are ideally placed to support one local charity.”

Howard Cundey sells hundreds of properties a year and employs more than 80 staff at offices in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Biggin Hill, Edenbridge, Reigate, Oxted, Bletchingley, Lingfield, East Grinstead and Forest Row.

The company name dates back to 1968 when it sold its first property to a Mr and Mrs Mackie for £4,000, but the business has roots going back more than 100 years.

In its latest monthly survey, Nationwide said prices across the UK are now 5.8% higher than this time a year ago.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Charity trekkers complete Kilimanjaro challenge

Photo, L-R: Scott and Brett pictured at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with an Air Ambulance banner

Two friends have successfully completed their challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, raising almost £10,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Brett Coleman and Scott Fegan, from Ashington, accomplished their feat despite Brett almost succumbing to altitude sickness.

Brett, 35, had previously completed two marathons in two weeks as part of their fundraising but nothing could prepare him for trekking to the top of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain.

He said: “It was definitely one of the hardest challenges I've ever done and the feeling of getting to the summit at sunrise was out of this world.

“I almost succumbed to altitude sickness a couple of times but all the time my legs were moving I was determined to move them in the right direction – up!

“The sleep deprivation was difficult and when we set off at midnight to attempt the summit I was literally falling asleep while walking.

“Coupled with the lack of oxygen, every few metres was draining my body and I would lean on my walking poles for a few seconds of shut-eye.

“There's always that little voice in the back of your head reminding you why you are doing it and within our party of 18 people we each had a very personal story to tell and that is why I made it.”

Brett and Scott decided to raise funds for the Air Ambulance after a neighbour’s life was saved by the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

The 18-year-old was involved in a road traffic collision and was flown by the charity helicopter to a specialist major trauma centre in London.

She is now back home and undergoing rehabilitation and her survival inspired Brett and Scott to climb 19,341ft Mount Kilimanjaro earlier this month.

Scott, 43, said: “It was a fantastic achievement but very hard work. At times I was struggling for breath and my lungs were hurting on the way up but we both made it to the top.”

The pair have so far raised £9,080 from a number of a string of fundraising events including the Ashington Village Ball and by running the London and Brighton marathons.

They are determined to reach their £10,000 target and can still be sponsored at or by texting tanz58 £5 or tanz58 £10 to 70070.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Air Ambulance Christmas catalogue now available

Photo 1: Wishing You a Heli Christmas

Photo 2: The Heli & The Ivy

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has launched its new-look 2013 Christmas catalogue.

Supporters can now buy bespoke cards called Wishing you a Heli Christmas and The Heli & the Ivy showing the helicopter and crew in the snow.

Other designs feature stunning local scenery such as Canterbury Cathedral, Leith Hill Tower and Bodiam Castle, painted exclusively for the Air Ambulance by Reg Siger. There’s also a free prize draw to win one of these three original paintings.

Gifts include a 2014 Air Ambulance Calendar (£7), a 2014 Diary (£5), a Chromolite Key Chain (£3.50) and a Push & Go toy helicopter (£3), making it an ideal stocking filler.

The catalogue also has information on major developments of the service over the past year including night operation and the launch of blood transfusions, and how to become a volunteer.

There’s also the chance to win up to £1,000 by purchasing a Lottery Gift Voucher and this year for the first time ever there is an opportunity to purchase a membership for a young family friend or relative, to join Dr Dudley’s Kids Club.

To order a copy of the catalogue call 01622 833833 or go to

* Christmas shoppers can donate to the Air Ambulance by signing up to the Give as you Live scheme before buying their presents online. Top retailers such as Amazon,, John Lewis and Expedia will then donate a percentage to the charity helicopter. Go to

Monday, 14 October 2013

Daredevil David prepares for take-off

Photo: David Maidman

A paraglider is soon to embark on an epic non-stop 100km flight through the Himalayan mountains to raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Father-of-two David Maidman, from Hawkenbury, will be jetting out to India on Friday (October 18th) ahead of his charity challenge.

The 49-year-old self-employed gardener will spend a few days preparing for the adventure before finally launching himself off the 8,848-metre-high peaks.

He will rely on thermals (bubbles of rising warm air) to keep him aloft but if they stop working he will be heading back down to earth.

David said: “The challenge is ambitious but achievable and should take about four to five hours to complete.

“It’s getting very exciting and it will be quite an accomplishment but I’ve been training for months and I’m now quietly confident.

“It's relatively safe if you don't get into the big mountains but if I get blown down, I may have to walk to get back to base and that’s where the adventure really begins.”

David, of Forest Way, has been inspired by Ed Stafford who was the first man to walk the length of the Amazon River which took him two-and-a-half years.

He qualified as a glider pilot four years ago after training at Mount Caburn near Lewes, East Sussex, and has previously flown in France, Spain and Morocco.

He added: “The Air Ambulance is very respected in my flying club because we often have to call upon their service when things go wrong.”

David has so far raised more than £1,300 for the Air Ambulance and the children's hospice Demelza House and can be sponsored at 

Bike polo day hits high notes for Air Ambulance

James Blunt presented the prizes at an annual bicycle polo event which has so far raised almost £5,000 for life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The singer, whose single Bonfire Heart is currently at Number 6 in the UK chart, watched as eight teams battled it out in the round-robin tournament at Sopers Farm in Ashurst.

He then handed out the medals to the winners before appearing on stage at BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park the next day.

Photo L-R:: James Blunt pictured with winning Red Tigers team Harry Lloyd Owen, Keld Van Schreven, Zul Junas, Rupert Lewis, and Emily Harrison

The event was organised by James’ sister Emily Harrison after her husband Guy was airlifted to hospital following a quad bike accident just five days before she was due to give birth to their first child.

Photo L-R:  Guy Harrison, Air Ambulance Sussex County Board chairman David Bowden and Emily Harrison.

Guy, a businessman and Fathers4Justice activist best known for hurling purple powder at Tony Blair in the House of Commons, was flown to the Royal Sussex at Brighton with broken ribs but has since made a full recovery.

He said “The bike polo was a brilliant, low-key day which involved enthusiastic players on poor quality bikes charging up and down a grass pitch.

“While everyone drank Firebird Heritage Beer and ate Sussex Charmer Cheese-on-Toast, my main concern was that no-one got injured and ruined our fundraising efforts by requiring an air ambulance!

“The day also included fixed-wing aerobatics and model helicopter displays and ended with fire-juggling and a moon-lit disco. We had a great day and Emily and I are extremely grateful to everyone for their support and participation.”

Photo: Guy receiving treatment from SECAmb critical care paramedic Keith Foord at the scene of his accident in August, 2010.

Ambulance Sussex county board chairman David Bowden gave a talk to spectators about the charity at last month’s bike polo day and his son Mark was among the players and a losing finalist.

Photo L-R: Bike polo players Kevin Shaw and Stuart Allison in action

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum of £4,946 raised from this and last year’s inaugural event will fund two potentially life-saving missions.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

All rotors lead to Goodwood for helicopter expo

Photo: L-R Air Ambulance Medical Director Dr Malcolm Russell, former Chief Pilot, Captain Steve Wood, Phoenix Helicopters Academy Flight Operations director Alastair Lovell, critical care paramedic Dave Wright and Dr Adam Fendius pictured at the former Air Ambulance base at Dunsfold

Helicopters from around the country will be flying into Goodwood Aerodrome this Sunday (October 6th) for an exposition in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Phoenix Helicopters Academy is hosting the fly-in with a special visit from the life-saving crew of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).

Members of the public will get the chance to see the twin-engine MD902 Explorer aircraft and meet the pilot, doctor and paramedic between 10am and 1pm - subject to emergency call-outs.

There will also be pleasure flights courtesy of Phoenix Helicopters who have again chosen the Air Ambulance as their Charity of the Year after raising more than £2,500 two years ago.

Flight Operations Manager Toby Chamberlain said: “The Air Ambulance is a very fitting cause for us to support as a helicopter training school.

“Our students and clients immediately take an interest in the charity and it enables us to raise money from like-minded individuals who not only have an interest in helicopters but also understand the in-valuable service that the air ambulance provides.

“This expo is open to members of the public and we welcome local people to come and have a look at the aircraft on show and learn more about the Air Ambulance.

“The success of the event relies on an enthusiastic response and we hope many of you will decide to come along and make the event a success.”

The expo starts at 10am with a barbecue at midday and visitors can find out about the air ambulance from volunteers at the charity’s exhibition unit.

* Phoenix Helicopter Academy is a helicopter training school and Charter operator based at Goodwood and Blackbushe in Hampshire. For more information call 01243 790900 or go to


Farm worker reunited with life-savers

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot Mark Howard-Smith, nurse Emily McWhirter, paramedic Charles Leahy, Dr John O’ Neill and David Johnstone.

A Warnham father who almost died in a farming accident has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance team who helped save his life.

David Johnstone, 53, was strapping a load of hay bales on a trailer when he slipped and fell 10ft onto the back of a tractor.

He impaled himself on a blunt metal spike and suffered a penetrating chest injury which narrowly missed his vital organs.

The air ambulance was called due to the severity of his injuries and the doctor and paramedic carried out emergency life-saving treatment at the scene.

David said: “My immediate reaction was that I was just going to pick myself up. I took a couple of steps and fell over so the people I was working with took me over to a bale and I slumped over it.

“I saw blood coming out of my chest and arms and every breath I took was smaller than the previous one because one of my lungs had collapsed. I was in absolute agony and thought I was going to die, it was terrifying.

“The pressure had built up in my chest cavity and was putting pressure on my heart so my blood pressure went very low.

“On the other hand it almost couldn’t have happened in a better place because if it had been two inches or more either way, I would have died.”

David had finished his day job as a masonry consultant and was helping a friend on the farm in West Chiltington when the accident happened in July.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) Community First Responder Peter Davis, critical care paramedic Lewis Allam and his colleagues Christian Clarke and Laura Benham were first on scene and found David fighting for breath.

They called in the air ambulance due to his life-threatening injuries and in the meantime gave him oxygen and pain relief.

Lewis said: “Upon re-assessment of the patient it was clear that his condition was worsening due to either blood or air being trapped around his lung and at this point the helicopter was overhead.”

Pilot Mark Howard-Smith landed in the field before his colleagues, Dr John O’Neill, nurse Emily McWhirter and paramedic Charles Leahy gave David further pain relief.

They also performed a chest drain to help him with his breathing – an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital.

Dr O’Neill said: “When we arrived it was obvious David was very unwell with a major chest injury. He looked pale, clammy and his breathing was very laboured.

“There was a hole in his chest which was sucking in air every time he breathed, causing his lung to collapse and making his blood pressure dangerously low.

“It was clear he was deteriorating rapidly and needed urgent surgery to fix the problem which could not wait until he got to hospital.

“We sedated David and inserted a tube into his chest to relieve the build up of pressure. This had an immediate effect as David's blood pressure and oxygen levels returned to normal, and by the time we arrived at hospital he was looking much better, even managing to crack a joke.”

David was airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital major trauma centre in Brighton where he spent the next six days.

The father-of-two has since made an almost full recovery and recently met the charity helicopter crew for the first time since his accident.

He added “When the air ambulance arrived I thought it must be quiet serious but I wasn’t aware of the level of expertise and equipment on board.

“Now I know that’s what made the difference and I wouldn’t be here today otherwise. I just wanted to say thank you in person because one of the most valuable things you can give is your time.

“It was very important for me to do that and it was absolutely marvellous to see them and say thanks.”

David is now back at work and planning to join his sons as a roadie when they tour the UK with their progressive rock band hAND in the New Year.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Survivor launches swim, run and ride for Air Ambulance

Photo: Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley and Andy Curran pictured at the former helicopter base at Dunsfold Park

A Shepperton father who survived a near-fatal cycling accident is preparing for a charity bike ride next month in aid of the Surrey Air Ambulance medics who saved his life.

Andy Curran, 42, suffered multiple injuries after he crashed during a training ride and had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by the doctor and paramedic.

He spent three months in hospital and even missed his wedding but has since made a good recovery following the accident two years ago.

Andy finally married his partner Charlotte last year and the couple now have a baby son called Alfie who was born just a day after the second anniversary of the crash.

He is now organising a run, swim or cycle which he hopes will become an annual fundraising event and will eventually raise £150,511 – the figures representing the date of his accident.

The first Curran Canter is to be held on October 13th when Andy is aiming to complete a 75-mile ride starting and finishing in Walton on Thames, taking in Box Hill and the Surrey Hills.

He said: “This will be a milestone ride as it will take me past the accident spot as a symbol of my recovery and determination not to let anything hold me back.

“The past two years have been an incredible journey although challenging at times with many hospital appointments and surgical procedures.

“My passion and drive has always been to get back on the bike and it’s now all about giving something back through something that I love so much and that’s my cycling.”

Andy, a business manager for British Airways, was out cycling on a training ride when his accident happened in Headley in May, 2011.

The air ambulance was called and Dr Anthony Hudson and critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley carried out emergency chest surgery at the scene to release air trapped in his lungs – an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital.

Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard then airlifted him to the Royal London Hospital major trauma centre where scans showed he had a total of 202 multiple fractures to his skull, leg ribs and spine.

Andy lost most of his right lung and spent three weeks in an induced coma and a total of three months in hospital before he was eventually allowed home.

He added: “Without the Air Ambulance, I would have died where I fell. It was the skill of the crew, the equipment they carry and the fact that they could get me to the right place for the right treatment that saved my life.

“This is a service that anyone could find themselves needing, anyone from a cyclist to a runner, a swimmer or even a dog walker.

“This year’s Curran Canter will be a tester event and is open to all members and friends of Viceroys Triathlon Club who have supported me on my journey.

“Next year, the aim will be to open the event up to the public and it will be a non-competitive ride. We endeavourer to be like Comic Relief in that every penny raised from a Curran Canter will go to the Air Ambulance.”

Andy has so far raised £580 of his target of £1,505 and can be sponsored at

Monday, 23 September 2013

Mount Kilimanjaro beckons for Ashington duo

Photo 1: Scott Fegan receives a £150 donation from the Church Lane Café at Ashington

Photo 2: Air Ambulance paramedic Ben Macauley, Brett Coleman, Scott Fegan and Dr Emma Rowland at the former helicopter base at Dunsfold near Horsham

Two Ashington fathers are to embark on a challenge of a life-time next week by climbing the tallest freestanding mountain in the world in aid of Sussex Air Ambulance.

Brett Coleman and Scott Fegan decided to raise funds for the life-saving charity helicopter after a neighbour was airlifted.

Brett, 35, has already completed two marathons in two weeks – London and Brighton – but is now setting his sights 19,341ft higher by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

He will be joined by friend Scott Fegan, 43, and it will take them six days to reach the summit when they fly out to Tanzania next Wednesday (October 2nd).

He said: “Hot on the heels of two marathons in two weeks, I decided to up the game slightly. I spent 10 years of my life in five-star hotels working for BA so camping will be very testing.

“We chose to raise funds for the Air Ambulance because a neighbour was seriously hurt in an accident which resulted in the parents of their child needing a miracle.

“A miracle happened because of the efforts of the Air Ambulance team and the fact that they carry a specialist doctor and critical care paramedic on board.”

The 18-year-old was involved in a road traffic collision in Ashington and was given emergency treatment at the road-side.

She was then flown to a London major trauma centre in just 16 minutes – a journey that could have taken more than an hour by road.

The teenager is now back home and undergoing rehabilitation and Brett and Scott are aiming to raise a grand total of £10,000 for the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

The pair have so far raised £7,780 from a number of fundraising events including the Ashington Village Ball which will again be held this Saturday (September 28th) at 7pm.

Tickets are still available at £30 each for tables of 10 at Cubitt & West on London Road, by emailing or calling 07793 205078. The black tie ball will include a buffet dinner, licensed bar, music, a raffle and silent auction.

Scott collected a further donation of £150 from the Church Lane Café at Ashington Church last week and he and Brett can be sponsored at or by texting tanz58 £5 or tanz58 £10 to 70070.

He said: “I’ve never done anything like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro before so I’m excited but also really nervous in equal measure.

“I’ve seen some of the video diaries about the 50% lack of oxygen and what altitude sickness can do to you so it will be a big accomplishment to complete the challenge.”

Early birthday present for lottery winner

A Cuckfield pensioner was given an early birthday present when he won £11,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s lottery.

Anthony Hawkins celebrates his 73rd birthday next week after scooping the jackpot in the life-saving charity’s Superdraw.

The keen golfer and horse racing fan joined the fundraising lottery last summer and his lucky numbers 3, 13, 19 and 30 came up in Wednesday’s draw.

He said: “I was thunder-struck because the last time I can remember winning anything was a box of biscuits in a raffle when I was in the Scouts and that was 60 years ago.

“I’ve dabbled in playing the National Lottery for the last 15 years but never won a sausage. I’ve been doing the Air Ambulance lottery for only a year and now I’m a winner.

“I’m surprised more than anything, not shocked because someone has to win it, but it’s amazing that it’s me.

“It’s a timely win because I’ve just had some repairs done on the roof of the house and instead of coming out of my retirement income, it can now come out of my winnings.”

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 lottery call 01622 833833 or go to


Join rambler Geoff for historic walk

Photo: Geoff Rambler

Walkers are being urged to join the penultimate in a series of walks around Kent’s historic countryside this weekend, to raise funds for aid the county’s Air Ambulance.

Geoff Ettridge, otherwise known as Geoff Rambler, will lead a seven-and-a-half mile walk from Stodmarsh Nature Reserve to Wickhambreaux on Saturday (September 28th).

He will trace the footsteps of the Fairest Maids of Kent - The Fair Rosamund, mistress of Henry II, and the Fair Maid of Kent - wife of the Black Prince and the first Princess of Wales.

Walkers will set off from the car park at the reserve (CT3 4BA) and trek across marshland to Wickhambreaux where Geoff will tell them about the maids associated with the local manor house.

He said: “We will then follow the crystal-clear water of the Little Stour to Grove before returning along the Great Stour as it passes through the nature reserve.

“The Great Stour is the water-route from the Wantsum Channel to Canterbury and probably provided the means by which St Augustine travelled to Canterbury and brought Christianity to our shores.”

Geoff, from Chatham, has written a book about all the walks that he has led this year to raise funds for the Air Ambulance.

Rambles & Ramblings is available at Cotswold Outdoor Leisure at Newnham Court, Maidstone, Roadmaster Books in Rochester High Street or at and

A minimum donation of £5 per copy is requested which will go to the life-saving charity helicopter.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It's a life-saving mission for Big Motoring World

Photo, L-R: Big Motoring World Handout Manager Phillipa Ward, Dr Simon Wood, Pilot Craig Redman and Big Motoring World Marketing Manager Tayo Ajet.

A West Malling BMW car dealership has raised enough funds to help Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance save two lives.

Each call-out of the charity helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum of £4,994 donated by Big Motoring World will fund two potentially life-saving missions.

The money was raised from the pre-owned BMW specialist’s Big Mission Weekend during the August bank holiday.

For all 48 cars sold by Big Motoring World, which also has branches in Canterbury, the firm donated £100 to the Air Ambulance and some staff generously donated their commission.

Owner Peter Waddell said: “Customers are not just buying a car, they’re contributing to saving someone’s life tomorrow."

“I’m no stranger to the costs of running a helicopter as the company owns a Eurocopter which plays a pivotal role in the company’s growth strategy.

“I’m also well aware of the vital role that the Air Ambulance plays in saving lives throughout the South East. Big Mission Weekend was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the charity and to help the service continue.”

Big Motoring World Handout Manager Phillipa Ward became the weekend’s first customer by buying a BMW1 Series Coupe herself and last week visited the Air Ambulance base with Marketing Manager Tayo Ajet to present their cheque.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has so far attended 1,236 missions in 2013 and is due to start night flying later this year.

Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson said: “This was such a great fundraising idea and we are extremely grateful to all the team at Big Motoring World and their customers for their very generous support. This donation really will make a difference to the charity’s life-saving work.”

Monday, 16 September 2013

RNLI volunteer and Air Ambulance paramedic to attend Women of the Year Lunch

Sloane Phillips, 39, joins 400 inspirational women at the annual Lunch that celebrates achievement across all fields

Sloane Phillips, a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) paramedic from Hastings, East Sussex, has been handpicked in recognition of her personal contribution to society to join 400 women from all walks of life at the Women of the Year Lunch. This year’s event will take place on Monday 14 October 2013 at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel.

The Women of the Year Lunch and Awards ceremony honours women’s incredible personal achievements. It brings together more than 400 extraordinary women from all walks of life, all of whom have achieved something of significance. Each guest is regarded as a ‘Woman of the Year’ and represents not only herself, but the millions of extraordinary women who make a difference every day.

Sloane is attending in celebration of her work in support of two charities – The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

Sloane has volunteered for the RNLI for 18 years and last year became one of few women in the UK to qualify as an all-weather lifeboat coxswain. As a volunteer, Sloane steps in for the permanent coxswain when they are unavailable, taking charge of the all-weather lifeboat and being responsible for the safety of all the crew on board. Over the past 18 years Sloane has stayed committed to her duty of safeguarding and rescuing those in danger, helping to rescue children swept out to sea and towing stranded boats back to the safety of the harbour.

Earlier this year, she became a fully qualified Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) paramedic for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

Sloane and her team regularly carry out life-saving medical procedures and interventions at the scene of an accident or emergency and qualifying to become a Coxswain and a HEMS paramedic involve rigorous assessments of knowledge and strength. 

Sloane comments, “I feel hugely privileged and proud to work for the Air Ambulance and volunteer as a Coxswain for the RNLI. There is no better feeling than helping someone in trouble.”

She adds: “When I saw the invitation to the Women of the Year Lunch and Awards, I was so surprised, but I am absolutely delighted. I am immensely proud to not only represent women’s real achievements, but also the charities I work with. It is going to be exciting to get the chance to meet more inspirational women from all over the country.”

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, President of Women of the Year, said: “The remarkable thing about this lunch is that it’s not just about celebrity or success. It’s about seeing the exceptional in unusual places, recognizing women not only for their drive, ambition and tenacity, but for seeing a need and finding a way to make a difference. For taking the hard knocks, surviving them, and sticking at it.

“These women are role models. Their courage is breath-taking and they reaffirm our faith in the human condition by showing us that wherever you are, people do good things for each other.”

At the Lunch, special awards will be presented to exceptional women who have each proved an inspiration to others through their courage, selflessness and dedication. The winners are selected by a judging panel made up of prominent female figures in media, business and the charity sector.

The winners will be announced on Monday 14 October 2013 and previous Women of the Year winners include:

2012 Team GB Olympic & Paralympic women medallists

Doreen Lawrence, campaigner for justice following the murder of her son Stephen in 1993

P. D. James, best-selling crime writer and Life Peer

Zainab Salbi, Iraqi-American women’s rights activist and co-founder of Women for Women International

Katie Piper, who set up a charity to help burns survivors after being victim of a brutal acid attack

Lulu, the singer, businesswoman and charity campaigner

The 2013 Award sponsors are Barclays, Good Housekeeping, Sacla’ and ITV’s Lorraine.