Monday, 25 March 2013

Survivor's helicopter rescue on TV

A vintage motorcyclist whose life was saved by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after a crash at Mersham is to be featured on BBC1’s Real Rescues next week (April 4th).

John Punnett, 75, was on his way to the annual Romney March Classic Motorcycle Show when he was involved in a head-on collision with a caravan on the sharp bend of a country road.

The former Hawkinge parish councillor suffered multiple injuries and was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic.

Dr Tasha Newton and critical care paramedic Mick Carter carried out advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

After landing in a nearby field, Pilot Kevin Goddard flew John to the Royal London Hospital in just 20 minutes – a journey that would have taken more than an hour by road.

He was unconscious for 24 hours and spent five weeks at the specialist trauma centre where doctors said his injuries were so severe he came close to losing his leg.

He underwent a number of operations to re-build his shattered limbs but is now out of a wheelchair and has made a good recovery following the accident in July, 2011.

BBC1’s Real Rescues highlights the daily work of the emergency services and John’s story is to be shown next Thursday (April 4th) at 11.30am and repeated at 7am the following day on BBC 2.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is appealing for cyclists to join its new-look Double 100 bike ride this summer.

The 100-mile or 100km ride on June 23rd will this year start and finish at the Surrey and Sussex helicopter base at Redhill Aerodrome.

Both new routes take in all counties covered by the two helicopters and the 100-mile route will pass through Marden in Kent – the home of Kent Air Ambulance.

More than 80 riders including Air Ambulance crew members and former patients took part in the inaugural Double 100 from Dunsfold Park, raising £12,000 for the charity.

Organisers are aiming for more than 100 entries in this year’s event which has kindly been sponsored by Howard Cundey Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents, Asda, Warburtons and Wellbeing People.

Howard Cundey Partner Tim Foulkes said: “With a network of offices based around the counties covered by the Air Ambulance, we are delighted to be the main sponsors of the charity’s 2013 Double 100.

“We look forward to welcoming the weary riders to our Forest Row branch which is going to be a much-needed feeding station on the day.”

The Double 100 is open to regular and occasional cyclists with feeding stations along the scenic route.

To register go to

For more information call Julie Clare on 01622 833833 or email

Join Geoff Rambler for a trip down memory lane

Walkers are being urged to join the second in a series of historic hikes around the Kent countryside this weekend (March 16th), followed by collection in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Lifelong rambler Geoff Ettridge, otherwise known as Geoff Rambler, kicked off his tour of Kent Messenger Walks at Blue Bell Hill last month.  

On Saturday, at 10am, he will lead a circular walk of six miles from Lewson Street to Norton through meadows, woodland and orchards, via Painters Forstall.

The group will set off from the Plough Inn (ME9 9JJ) and hear interesting facts about people and places associated with the walk including how the Russian royal family came to Kent.

They will also hear how a local rake and libertine, who came to be known as the Father of Australia, set up Kew Gardens.

Geoff has led more than 600 miles of walks for the Medway branch of the Ramblers’ Association and the Kent Messenger. Since retiring as a local government officer, he has raised more than £5,000 for charity through his walking.

His 2013 diary of walks also include St Mary Hoo to Egypt Bay (April 27th), Addington to the Coldrum Long Barrow (June 1st), Blue Bell Hill (July 6th), Farningham to South Darenth (August 24th), Stodmarsh Nature Reserve to Wickhambreaux (September 28th and Sandling to Boxley (November 2nd).

The Kent Messenger Walks are free but a collection will be held at the end of each walk for the Air Ambulance. For more information go to 

Publican flying high for Air Ambulance

A Box Hill pub and carvery has raised more than £5,000 to help fund Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s plans for night flying later this year.

The Tree has chosen the life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) as its 2013 Charity of the Year.

Staff and customers raised £3,761 from a golf day and auction last month and have so far raised £5,243 in just half a year.

Manager Keiron Cutler said: “I haven’t set a firm target for the year but we have a few more ideas in mind and with the generous help of patrons and sponsors we expect to be flying high.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance currently flies during daylight hours only but the charity plans to a launch a 24-hour service from its base at Redhill Aerodrome this summer.

This will allow the doctor and paramedic to take to the scene the type of skills and expertise normally found only in a hospital’s A&E department, after dark.

Each helicopter call-out costs about £2,500 so the sum raised by The Tree so far would fund two potentially life-saving missions.

It's a magic carpet ride for Air Ambulance

Students at the University of Kent rolled out the red carpet for a movie-themed magic show in aid of life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Stage acts were based around films such as Black Swan, The Matrix, Alice in Wonderland, Johnny English and The Little Mermaid.

Magicians at the UKC Magic Society wowed the audiences at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury last week (February 27th ).

In total, they raised £541 for the Air Ambulance from ticket sales, a raffle and a collection at the end of the show.

Air Ambulance Director of Communications Jill Playle said: “We’re very grateful for the support of the UKC Magic Society and such a generous donation.

“The show was very entertaining and it‘s lovely to see a group of young people so passionate about magic, supporting the charity.”

The UKC Magic Society was voted Kent Union’s Best New Society of the Year in 2011/12 and held a previous show for the Air Ambulance at their Canterbury campus last year.

President Simon Smith, a forensic science undergraduate, said: “Our audience this year has nearly tripled in size. We managed to raise more than four times the amount for the Air Ambulance compared with last year’s event. This is a tremendous achievement and we’re very proud of it.”

Youth forum keeps Air Ambulance flying

Staff and shoppers at Sainsbury’s stores across Sussex have raised more than £7,000 for the county’s Air Ambulance in just one weekend.

Members of the supermarket’s Sussex Regional Youth Forum held a number of fundraising events including collections and dressing-up days on February 16th and 17th.

They were inspired to raise funds for their Charity of the Year after being given a tour of the helicopter base by the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

One employee even cycled the equivalent distance of Sainsbury’s Lewes Road store in Brighton to the Trust’s headquarters at Marden in Kent.

Human Resources Manager Teresa Noakes said: “We’re delighted to be involved in such a worthwhile cause and hopefully the amount raised will make a difference to Sussex Air Ambulance and anyone unfortunate enough to need their service.

“We would like to thank our colleagues and customers for their generosity and enthusiasm during the fundraising weekend.”

A grand total of £7,702 was raised from stores in Brighton, Hove, Worthing, Littlehampton, Chichester, Pulborough, Crawley, Haywards Heath, East Grinstead, Newhaven, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hampden Park and Bexhill.

Each call-out costs the Air Ambulance about £2,500 so the sum raised by the youth forum will help fund three potentially life-saving missions.

Air Ambulance Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson said: “Sainsbury’s has really taken fundraising for their local Air Ambulance on board and the amount raised by their Youth Forum is a fantastic achievement.

“The enthusiasm, creativity and commitment of these young people is to be applauded and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved.”

* If your business would like to work in partnership with Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance please call Cheryl on 01622 833833 or email


Rescued rider's run for charity helicopter

An equestrian event rider rescued by Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance will be swapping her stirrups for a pair of running shoes when she takes part in an ultra marathon for the life-saving charity.

Sarah Hayter, 36, was competing in the Munstead Horse Trials in Surrey when she fell off and was kicked in the head by her horse Potty Pony.

The mother-of-one, from Broad Oak, East Sussex, was flown to a specialist neurological centre in London and has since made a full recovery.

Now, five years later, she is preparing to put her best feet forward for the London to Brighton Challenge in May - a 100km run and walk.

She said: “It’s such a crazy thing for me to do because I’m not particularly sporty and I only started running last year when I did a couple of mud runs and a few 10ks.

“For me, it’s going to be an achievement verging on the side of ridiculous. I would like to run it but if I run, walk or even crawl it, it’s still an achievement.”

Sarah was knocked unconscious and had to be given emergency treatment by the Air Ambulance doctor and paramedic following her accident in March, 2008.

She was then flown to King’s College Hospital in London in 25 minutes – a journey that would have taken more than an hour by road.

Sarah has so far raised £614 of her target £1,000 and can be sponsored at

On Sunday, April 28th, she will be holding a raffle at The Swan Inn at Dallington to boost her fundraising and local businesses are being urged to donate prizes.

Last year, Sarah’s fellow horse riders and farriers posed for a calendar called 50 Shades of Dapple Grey which raised £700 for the South East Eventers League.