Monday, 29 April 2013

Lions give £2,500 lift to night flying appeal

Photo: L-R Lions members with Air Ambulance paramedics Charlie Leahy and David Wright, and Dr Jez Smith.        

Members of Caterham, Oxted & Godstone Lions Club have raised £2,500 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s night flying appeal.

They visited the helicopter base at Redhill Aerodrome on Thursday (April 25th) to present their cheque and watched as the aircraft landed following two call-outs to an equestrian accident and a road traffic collision.

Most of the funds were raised from a Take That tribute band concert at Caterham School earlier this month.

Lions Clubs in the south east have pledged to raise £250,000 over the next 10 years to help the Air Ambulance achieve its aim of night flying from Redhill later this year.

The funds will be a significant contribution towards the additional £1million a year needed to provide a 24-hour service and save more lives.

Lions President Tony Skilbeck said: “Something in the region of £80,000 has already been given. We had a totally absorbing visit to Redhill and found out so much about the Air Ambulance.

“Many owe their lives to its service and it is truly a very worthy charity run by dedicated and highly-qualified people and deserves all the support that can be given.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance currently operates during daylight hours only, from 7am to 7pm in the summer and 8am to 6pm in the winter.

The charity is to replace one of its two helicopters with a newer aircraft with night vision equipment later this year, allowing it to operate after dark from Redhill.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Hempstead Valley supports Air Ambulance

Photo 1: L-R, Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre manager Mark Rumfitt, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic Sloane Phillips, Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard and Dr Mamoun Abu-Habsa, and Hempstead Valley marketing manager Susan Button.

Photo 2: Austin Powers girls at last year’s Cool Britannia-themed Festival of Transport       

Staff and shoppers at Hempstead Valley have helped raised more than £4,600 for life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The funds have been raised from the shopping centre’s Festival of Transport since the event started in 2010, and its Christmas Wishing Well where visitors can donate their loose change.

The centre was inspired to choose the Air Ambulance as its Charity of the Year after volunteer Dennis Ines helped organise a classic car show as part of the festival.

Manager Mark Rumfitt said: “Due to Dennis’ dedication, we decided to support this worthwhile cause as they make a real difference within our community and they rely solely on voluntary donations.

Hempstead Valley considers community involvement to be an essential role and we take great pride in the financial support we are able to offer our chosen charity.”

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

Mark and colleague Susan Button recently visited the helicopter base at Marden to present their cheque and were given a tour by the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Join Geoff Rambler for a trip down memory lane

Walkers are being urged to join the third in a series of historic hikes around the Kent countryside next weekend (April 27th), followed by collection in aid of the county’s Air Ambulance.

Lifelong rambler Geoff Ettridge, otherwise known as Geoff Rambler, will lead a seven-mile Kent Messenger Walk from St Mary Hoo to Egypt Bay.

At 10 am, the party will set off from the Fenn Bell pub which is believed to take its name from the fact that bells would be rung to help travelers and shepherds find their way off the marshes in bad weather.

Geoff said: “The real joy of this walk is the remoteness of the marshes and real silence which makes it so easy to hear bird song. I often do this walk and don’t meet a soul.”

Points of interest along the three-hour walk include Egypt Bay where Charles Dickens probably envisaged the prison hulk from which Magwitch escaped in Great Expectations.

Geoff will also pass a redundant church whose vicar officiated at the illegal and scandalous marriage of one of a monarch but walkers will have to join the walk to find out more.

He added: “We return along a path referred to locally as Bessie’s Lane. The story is that Elizabeth I would anchor and make her way along this route to oversee the building of Upnor Castle.”

Anyone interested in joining the walk is advised to bring a waterproof coat and hat if rain is forecast as there is little shelter on the marshes. The postcode for the Fenn Bell pub is ME3 8RF.

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

His 2013 diary of walks also include 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 www.geofframbler.co.uk

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Soccer support for Air Ambulance

Photo: Kent Air Ambulance doctor Steph Tilston, Milton & Fulston midfielder Jamie Warren, Greenways centre half Ben Parkinson and Dr Alistair Rennie.

Two local football teams battled it out for the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield supported by Kent Air Ambulance.

The match between Greenways and Milton & Fulston United ended in a 3-2 win for Northfleet-based Greenways at Sittingbourne FC’s ground.

Man of the match Aaron Klemon scored two of Greenways’ goals before Brad Cross sealed the win in the 89th minute.

Greenways last won the shield 26 years ago when they beat VCD Athletic 4-0 and this was the first year Milton & Fulston had reached the final since the amalgamation of the clubs in 2008.

Jill Playle of Kent Air Ambulance presented the shield to Rob Jeffrey, the winning team’s captain, following the match on Saturday (April 6th).

She said: “We are very grateful for the support of the Kent County Football Association who like the Air Ambulance is supported by the community.”

Kent FA has 4,500 teams and runs 20 County Cup competitions across the county. 

Paul Dolan, Chief Executive of Kent FA said: “The Intermediate Challenge Shield is one of our most prestigious Cup competitions and we’re happy to use it to support the life-saving work of Kent Air Ambulance.”

“Our thanks also go to all the clubs who took part in the competition whose fans raised money for the Kent Air Ambulance at their Intermediate Challenge Shield matches.”

Monday, 15 April 2013

Crash survivor in TV documentary

A motorist rescued by Kent Air Ambulance after a crash at Chartham is to be featured in award-winning Channel 4 documentary 24 Hours in A&E next week (Wednesday, April 24th).

Neil Chester, 39, was driving a friend’s Lotus sports car when he was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle on Cochrane Road.

He was trapped in the vehicle for half an hour and had to be cut free by Kent Fire and Rescue Service before being treated by land paramedics at SECAmb.

The Air Ambulance was called and arrived within 20 minutes from its base at Marden.

Neil, from Oxfordshire, was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the doctor and paramedic.

They carried out an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital before taking him by land ambulance to King’s College Hospital in London.

Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E shows him arriving in the resuscitation area of the major trauma centre where the main concern is potential paralysis from injuries to his neck and back.

Charles, a registrar who treated Neil, says: “Psychology can be horrendous after a big smash.

“Quite often a big injury, a big car crash, even one where you don’t get injured, ranks as a life-changing event.”

The 20-part documentary series 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 hospital is recognised internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma.

24 Hours in A&E is on every Wednesday at 9pm and won a Royal Television Society Award last year.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Author's happy ending for Air Ambulance

Celebrated novelist and acclaimed author Elizabeth Buchan is to give a talk at a special Literary Evening organised by award-winning agency Haslemere Travel, to raise funds for Surrey Air Ambulance.

As part of the 2013 Haslemere Festival, Elizabeth Buchan will talk about the influences on her writing and her themes as well as giving guests a preview of her forthcoming book.

Born in Guildford, Elizabeth spent much of her childhood in Surrey and is a patron of the Guildford Book Festival and The National Academy of Writing.

She began her career as a blurb writer at Penguin Books after graduating from the University of Kent with a double degree in English and History. She moved on to become a fiction editor at publishers Random House before leaving to write full time.

Her novels include the prize-winning Light of the Moon and Consider the Lily, described by The Independent as “a gorgeously well-written tale: funny, sad and sophisticated”.

A subsequent novel, Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, became an international bestseller and was made into a CBS TV prime-time drama. This was followed by several other novels including The Second Wife, Separate Beds and most recently Daughters.

Elizabeth has just finished A Thousand Little Lies, a novel about the Special Operations Executive (SOE) operating in Denmark during the Second World War, and her short stories are broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in magazines.

She also reviews for the Sunday Times and has chaired the Betty Trask and Desmond Elliot literary prizes, and also been a judge for the Whitbread (now Costa) awards.

Elizabeth’s talk at Haslemere Educational Museum on Monday, May 20th, at 6.30pm, promises to be a very entertaining and illuminating evening and organisers are urging readers to book early.

Tickets cost £10 each including wine and canapes and can be bought in advance from Haslemere Travel at 2 Petworth Road or by calling 01428 658777.

All proceeds will be donated to Haslemere Travel's chosen charity, Surrey Air Ambulance, and the Haslemere Festival fund.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Crash survivor in TV documentary

Photo: The scene of Kevin Williams’ crash on the A21 at Sevenoaks, courtesy of Sevenoaks Chronicle

A lorry driver rescued by Kent Air Ambulance after a crash at Sevenoaks is to be featured in award-winning Channel 4 documentary 24 Hours in A&E next week (Wednesday, April 17th).

Kevin Williams, 55, was driving along the A21 bypass when his articulated lorry suddenly jack-knifed, trapping him in the vehicle.                                                                                                                                                           

Land paramedics at the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) were first on scene and called in the helicopter.

Kevin suffered multiple injuries and was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the doctor and paramedic who carried out an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital.

He was then flown to King’s College Hospital in London in just 12 minutes – a journey that would have taken more than an hour by road.

Channel 4’s 24 hours in A&E shows Kevin arriving in the resuscitation area of the major trauma centre following the accident in February, 2012, while his wife Janet waits anxiously for news.

The 20-part documentary series 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 hospital is recognised internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma.

24 Hours in A&E is on every Wednesday at 9pm and won a Royal Television Society Award last year.

Craig's tattoo salute to life-savers

A former British grasstrack champion who survived a racing crash thanks to Kent Air Ambulance has had a tattoo of the helicopter done in tribute to the medics who saved his life.

Craig Drury, 19, suffered multiple injuries after he was catapulted from his 250cc machine in the last race of the day at Collier Street. He suffered a punctured lung, a lacerated liver, a torn spleen, broken ribs, three fractured vertebrae and a broken leg and collarbone.

The Air Ambulance doctor and critical care paramedic gave Craig emergency treatment at the track-side and carried out an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital.

They then flew him to the Royal London Hospital where he underwent an emergency blood transfusion and spent 12 days in intensive care following the crash in September, 2011.

Craig has since made a full recovery and has now had a tattoo of Kent Air Ambulance inked on his back by Life Family Tattoo in Sevenoaks where he lives.

He said: “I had it done because I wanted a permanent reminder that the pilot, doctor and paramedic saved my life, and to publicise the charity.

“I’ve already got six tattoos but this one runs from shoulder to shoulder and took three-and-a-half hours to do. It looks amazing.”

Craig visited the helicopter base at Marden to show paramedic Chris Fudge his tattoo and video footage of the crash for the first time.

Chris said: "Obviously we’re just so happy that Craig has done so well. To be as sick as he was at the scene, it’s amazing that he has made this type of recovery.”

In February, the Air Ambulance launched a blood transfusion service so that the doctors and paramedics can now carry out the procedure at scene rather than later on in hospital.

TV chef supports Air Ambulance

An award-winning celebrity TV chef from Kent will be among a selection of Britain’s top chefs going head-to-head in a culinary challenge for a new BBC1 series next week (April 17th).
Richard Phillips will be watched by millions as he faces his rival in a high-octane restaurant showdown for Chefs: Put Your Menu Where Your Mouth Is.
Every day, two renowned chefs buy food, prepare dishes and sell them to diners at some of the country’s most high quality dining establishments.
They will offer a three-course meal and can set their own prices with the aim of not just selling the most dishes but making the most profit for their chosen charity.
Richard, from Hollingbourne, kindly donated his proceeds of £107 to Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and recently visited the helicopter base to meet the pilot, doctor and paramedic.
He began his career at London’s famous Savoy Hotel and went on to work alongside the likes of the Roux Brothers at Le Gavroche before becoming Head Chef for Marco Pierre White.
By the age of 29, he owned Michelin-starred Thackeray’s at Tunbridge Wells which was voted Best Gourmet Restaurant in the 2009 Kent Restaurant Awards.
Richard also runs the Hengist at Aylesford, The Windmill at Hollingbourne and the Pearson’s Arms at Whitstable.
He has appeared on Ready Steady Cook, Saturday Kitchen and Daily Cooks Challenge, and can now be seen on Chefs: Put Your Menu Where Your Menu Is on Wednesday (April 17th) at 3.45pm.