Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Former helicopter base used in Bruce Willis film

Photo 1: Sir Anthony Hopkins pictured with Air Ambulance paramedic Natalie Brodrick during a visit to Dunsfold in 2010

Surrey Air Ambulance’s former helicopter base at Dunsfold Park was used as a film location for RED starring Bruce Willis, to be released this Friday (August 2nd).

This latest installment of the high octane action comedy sees the return of the original cast including Helen Mirren and John Malkovich, now joined by Catherine Zeta Jones and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

In RED 2, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing next-generation lethal device that can change the balance of world power.

To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the technologically advanced super weapon.

The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world - and stay alive in the process.

In a dramatic and thrilling climax to RED 2, which stands for retired and extremely dangerous, a helicopter involved in a chase across London makes an emergency landing on the outskirts of the city in the setting of a disused airfield.

Bruce Willis is seen running through the former Air Ambulance hangar at Dunsfold towards a waiting private jet which is stolen by the villain and takes off into the distance before exploding in flight.

The filming last October coincided with the launch of the Air Ambulance’s fundraising campaign called the Regular Essential Donation Scheme (REDS), to help fund the cost of night flying later this year.

A REDS ‘Supporter’ pays just 50p a week, which could be used to buy a sheet of bubble wrap – a life-saving piece of equipment used to keep each patient warm.

Membership as a ‘Friend’ costs £2 a week and would buy the drugs needed to anaesthetise a patient and provide pain relief which is vital in treating serious head injuries.

A donation of £20 a month as a ‘Life-saver’ would buy 10 bags of saline to replace lost fluids in critically ill patients.

Surrey Air Ambulance was first launched from Dunsfold in June, 2007, before moving to Redhill last October in preparation for night flying.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Forget the car, let's take the horse!

Photo: TWM staff Daniel Church, David Hitchcock and Sarah Bostock

More than 40 members of staff at a firm of solicitors will be scooting, riding and walking three-legged to work this Friday (August 2nd) to raise funds for Kent, Surrey Air & Sussex Ambulance.

TWM Solicitors are aiming to complete a 54-mile adventure relay of all six branches on various slow, difficult and unusual modes of transport.

Some will be commuting by push scooter and horseback while others will be walking dressed as helicopter pilots - all in aid of their Charity of the Year.

Organiser Dan Church said: “Starting at our Wimbledon office, individuals can complete any leg they wish whether it be all or just one.

“The only rule is that no form of engine may be used unless it’s suitably crazy. The aim is to do this in one day, no matter how long it takes.”

The schedule for Friday is as follows:

* Wimbledon to Epsom (9 miles): Running and scooting

* Epsom to Leatherhead (4 miles): Walking dressed as helicopter pilots

* Leatherhead to Reigate (11 miles): Walking, mountain biking and horse riding

* Reigate to Cranleigh (20miles): Road biking* Cranleigh to Guildford (10 miles): Three-legged walking and road biking

In 2010, TWM Solicitors raised more than £2,000 for the Air Ambulance from a bike ride taking in all their offices and the former helicopter base at Dunsfold.

Dan, 29, added: “I’ve had a lot of feedback over the past couple of years that all our fundraising events seem to be focused on running and cycling, and many of them require a high level of fitness.

“This event is achievable by all no matter what their level of fitness and if they can think of a creative way to get around the TWM offices, then they’re in. This is a great chance to get the firms together raising money for such a great cause.”

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

Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson said: “This is such a fun fundraising idea and will most certainly help raise awareness of our life-saving work.

“TWM has supported the Air Ambulance since we launched our second helicopter back in 2007 and it’s great to have them on board.

“Each year, the company comes up with some great fundraising ideas involving their whole team and since 2007 TWM has raised more than £35,000 for the charity which is a fantastic achievement.”

To sponsor TWM Solicitors go to http://www.justgiving.com/TWMAdventureRelay

Where there's muck there's brass

Photo 1: Members of Paddock Wood Lioness Club pictured at the Air Ambulance base last week

Photo 2: Lionesses pictured at Champneys Farm in Lamberhurst

A cow pat competition held by members of Paddock Wood Lioness Club raised more than £1,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

A grid was made to represent a field marked out with 1,200 squares which were sold off for £1 each as part of the annual fundraising event.

Organisers then waited for Daisy the cow to mark her territory at Champneys Farm in Lamberhurst before matching the winning square with the grid.

The winner, from Yalding, kindly donated £150 of her £200 prize and a grand total of £1,173 was raised for the life-saving charity.

Members of Paddock Wood Lioness Club presented their cheque to the pilot, doctor and paramedic during a visit to the helicopter base at Marden last week.

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.

They launched their appeal last year to raise funds for equipment such as night vision goggles, lighting at heli-pads and weather stations.

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

Horse rider reunited with life-saver

Photo 1: L-R, Hilary and Dr Rennie at the Air Ambulance base

Photo 2: Hilary pictured on Benji

A grandmother airlifted to hospital after a horse riding accident has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor who helped save her life.

Hilary Vannier was riding with her local hunt in Shipbourne in Kent when her thoroughbred cross Benji lost his footing and she was thrown off and knocked unconscious.

She had to be given emergency treatment at the scene by the charity helicopter’s doctor and paramedic who carried out advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

Hilary, 58, from East Grinstead, was then flown to a major trauma centre in London as her children made a mercy dash from their homes in Florida and Malaysia to be at her bedside.

Scans at King’s College Hospital showed that she had suffered a potentially fatal cerebral bleed and she remained in a drug-induced coma for three days.

She finally awoke from her coma after a further 10 days and spent more than a month at King’s before being transferred to her local specialist neurological unit at the Princess Royal Hospital for a further week.

Hilary was finally allowed home with ongoing rehabilitation and earlier this month she met Air Ambulance doctor Alistair Rennie for the first time since the accident in March.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Lions' vision for Air Ambulance

Photo 1: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell with a pair of night vision goggles

Photo 2: Lions club representatives pictured at the cheque presentation at Redhill on Saturday

Representatives from Lions Clubs from all over the South East saw the Air Ambulance that will soon be taking to the skies at night.

The South East Lions clubs began a night flying appeal last year to raise funds for the provision of night flying equipment for the 24-hour Air Ambulance operation across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

During a reception at the helicopter base at Redhill, members from Lions clubs saw the special helmets and night vision equipment funded by the organisation that will enable the Air Ambulance’s pilots and crews to be able to navigate at night.

Fundraising from the 10-year appeal will also go towards other equipment essential for night flying such as meteorological equipment, the provision of night time fuel facilities, lighting at helipads and much, much more.

Howard Lee, Chairman of Lions’ District Night Flying Appeal Committee, said: “The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance delivers advanced pre-hospital care to the scene of serious medical emergencies, usually only found in the resuscitation area of a hospital’s emergency department.

“This is totally in line with the Lions’ objectives, one of which is to bring aid to those in distress, and we are delighted to partner with the charity as it works towards extending its service to cover both day and night.”

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance delivers advanced pre-hospital care to the scene of serious medical emergencies, usually only found in the resuscitation area of a hospital’s emergency department.

The charity is working towards operating a 24-hour service in the Autumn so that its specialist medical crew can be available to those people who really need them day and night.

Adrian Bell, Chief Executive of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, said: “The Lions are amazing partners for the charity and have shown considerable fortitude, enthusiasm and imagination in raising £150,000 for the charity in just over a year.

“The equipment we are now able to purchase is an integral part in saving people’s lives and I cannot thank the Lions enough, they are outstanding.”

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is an independent health care provider which relies on voluntary donations to fund the service. Its costs will rise to £6 million a year when the Air Ambulance starts operating at night.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Cyclist reunited with life-saver

Photo: Susan Fry pictured with Air Ambulance paramedic Alan Cowley at the helicopter base

A cyclist airlifted to hospital after a road crash has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save her life.

Triathlete Susan Fry, 41, from Eastbourne, was taking part in the Mini Marshman triathlon in Lydd in Kent when she came off her bike.

She was planning to compete at the World Triathlon Championship qualifier in her age group in Nottingham the following weekend. 

Police believe the mother-of-one may have been in collision with a passing vehicle and are appealing for witnesses following the incident in May.

Susan is now on the road to recovery and this week met Air Ambulance paramedic Alan Cowley for the first time since the collision.

She said: “I remember asking their names at the time but the trauma and blow to my head must have prevented me from remembering.

“I'd just like to add my heartfelt thanks to all the Air Ambulance team particularly to Dr Amy Hughes, paramedic Alan Cowley and the pilot Craig.

“Although I was aware I'd sustained serious injuries, I felt reassured that I was receiving the best possible care and I shall be forever grateful for their help.”

Susan, of Sovereign Harbour, suffered a minor brain bleed, a broken shoulder and bruised ribs, hip, arm and knee.

She was given treatment at the road-side by the doctor and paramedic before being flown to King’s College Hospital in London.

On Monday, the former personal trainer and sports massage therapist visited the helicopter base at Marden with her partner Liz Lumber and their three-year-old son Fin.

Liz said: “It was really reassuring to know that Sue was being taken to a specialist hospital to deal with her injuries. This can make all the difference to the outcome of her injuries.”

Depending on her recovery, Susan is planning to run the Beachy Head marathon in October to raise funds for the life-saving charity.

* Kent Police are appealing for any witnesses to the incident, which happened on May 25th at about 8.30am on Military Road, to contact 01303 289009 quoting reference 02-0991.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A day of stars and stripes for Air Ambulance

Photo: Staff at James Villas Holidays in American-themed fancy dress

Staff at an Aylesford holiday firm celebrated Independence Day earlier this month (July 4th) by donning American fancy dress to raise £155 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The charity team at James Villas Holidays dressed up as Superman, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, a Power Ranger, and Batman and Robin.

They were joined by Catwoman, Miss America, The Green Lantern, Abraham Lincoln and a cardboard cut-out of President Barack Obama.

Staff also held a bake sale, doughnut-eating competition and a quiz in which each department had to name all 50 states of America in five minutes or less.

Customer Relations Executive Shelley Kingsnorth said: “This was a great day that got everyone involved and helped raise awareness of the Kent & Sussex Air Ambulance.”

Earlier this year, James Villas Holidays raised £2,047 for their Charity of the Year by completing an Army obstacle course including deep stench trenches, balance beams, blockade walls, wobbly bridges and a freezing ice crawl.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance currently flies during daylight hours only but is planning to provide a 24-hour service later this year.

It currently costs £5million a year to keep both helicopters flying but this figure will rise to £6million with the launch of night flying.

Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson said: “We are delighted that James Villas Holidays has made us their Charity of the Year.

“The team are doing a great job with their fundraising and helping to raise awareness of the charity’s life-saving work among colleagues and clients. We are extremely grateful for their generous support.”

Monday, 22 July 2013

Brainbox Barry stars in TV quiz show

Photo: Phoenix Tavern landlord David Selves, Air Ambulance Paramedic Jez Harwood, Shaun Williamson and Air Ambulance doctor Alistair Rennie pictured at the Air Ambulance base in May. Photo courtesy of Ian Read.

A former EastEnders star will be among the celebrities vying to win a TV quiz show this Sunday (July 28th), to raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Selling-based actor Shaun Williamson, who played Barry Evans, will pit his wits against Coronation Street actress Jenny McAlpine and Birds of a Feather star Pauline Quirke in a bid to scoop a jackpot of £20,000 for their chosen charity.

A game of knowledge, skill and tactics, ITV1’s Tipping Point is based around a machine filled with counters worth thousands of pounds.

Players must answer questions to win turns on the machine but if they get one wrong the machine won’t pay out and the contestant with the least amount of cash at the end is eliminated.

Shaun will attempt to tame the mechanical marvel in a new prime-time celebrity special called Lucky Stars which sees the value of the counters double to £100 and the jackpot rise to £20,000.

Shaun previously won £1,500 on BBC quiz show Pointless Celebrities which he donated to the Air Ambulance.

In May, he visited the helicopter base at Marden to meet the doctor and paramedic and has also agreed to be the patron for a masked ball in aid of the charity at the Phoenix Tavern in Faversham, on October 26.

He said: “It's always a pleasure to help out the Kent, Surrey &Sussex Air Ambulance. They are self-funded and are always in need of donations so just to play a small part in this is the least I can do. We all might need them one day.”

* Tipping Point: Lucky Stars is on Sunday (July 28th) on ITV1 at 7pm.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Crash survivor in TV documentary

A biker airlifted to hospital after a crash at Warlingham is to be featured in award-winning Channel 4 medical documentary 24 Hours in A&E next week (July 24th).

Richard, 23, collided with a parked car and was catapulted through the air before hitting another vehicle and a lamp-post.

Paramedics at London Ambulance Service were first on the scene and called in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance due to the severity of his injuries.

Richard suffered a potentially life-threatening fractured pelvis and was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and critical care paramedic.

They carried out advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital before flying him to King’s College Hospital in London.

24 Hours in A&E shows him arriving at the major trauma centre where he is one of 2,500 road traffic collision victims every year.

Consultant Fleur listens intently to Richard’s catalogue of injuries before sending him off for a scan to determine the extent of his wounds.

She says: “Our job does change some of the decisions that we make in our lives because of how often we see the things that we see. I wouldn’t cycle a bike in London and I wouldn’t let my husband ride a motorbike.”

The scan reveals that Richard has suffered fractures to the sockets and ball joints of both hips – an injury which could have caused him to bleed to death.

More than 90 cameras filmed around the clock at King’s as part of 24 Hours in A&E, 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 July 2013

Superman meets his match

Photos from the 2013 Air Aid Ball: Photographer Steven Bartholomew

Guests dressed as superheroes attending this year’s Air Aid Ball were among the first to see the new air ambulance helicopter earmarked for night flying.

The charity ball which was held at Redhill Aerodrome began with a breathtaking flying display from an aerobatic team and World War 2 Spitfires. The crew from Thunderbirds joined Batman, Emily Pankhurst, Henry VIII and Cleopatra amongst many others to dine and dance the night away to raise funds for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Bids from the auction and silent auction helped to contribute to the fundraising, which totalled well in excess of £65,000 for the evening.

Chris and Caroline Martin, who founded the Air Aid Ball committee some seven years ago, are delighted with the evening.

‘Once again, a great night has been had by all!  We were concerned that we might struggle to better the previous three events but judging by the attendance, the amount raised on the night and the letters of thanks still arriving on the mat, it has been a great success. A massive thanks to all our sponsors, everyone who donated items for the auction, all the helpers and to all those that came to support this essential service’

One of the Air Ambulance’s helicopters is based at Redhill Aerodrome which will be the base for the night flying service when it begins later this year. The specialist doctor and critical care paramedic teams on the charity’s two helicopters currently respond to between four and six missions every day. This number will increase with the advent of night flying, which will also add a further £1 million to the operational costs of the service, rising to £6 million a year.

Leigh Curtis, Director of Operations for the Charity, told guests at the ball that the air ambulance provides helicopters 365 days a year with a doctor and paramedic looking after 4.5 million people. He went on to say that the charity follows its patients on their entire journey through the care of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, and the hospital they are taken to, until the point at which they hopefully go home. This means that we know we save the lives of at least two patients who had a calculated probability of survival of less than 1%, among the many other lives saved. He continued by saying that this was only possible with the support of people who support us as a charity and that they are the real heroes.

 

Cinnamon Lounge curries favour with Air Ambulance

Photo 1, Cinnamon Lounge staff pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Marden

Photo 2, L-R: Cinnamon Lounge owner Rahim Rahman pictured with former Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Bob Davidson and his wife and former mayoress Daphne

A new Indian restaurant in Ashford raised more than £1,000 for life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance on its opening night.

The former Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Bob Davidson, was among 180 guests at the official launch of the Cinnamon Lounge in Bethersden on May 1st.

Funds were raised from half the proceeds of a set menu and there was also Bollywood entertainment at the Ashford Road eaterie.

Owner Rahim Rahman and his colleagues visited the helicopter base at Marden last month (June 27th) to present a cheque for £1,275.

Mr Rahman said: “A few years ago, I was on the motorway when there was a motorbike accident and the Air Ambulance was called which is why I decided to support the charity.”

The Cinnamon Lounge, formerly The Royal Standard, offers a modern twist on Indian food for the 21st Century.

Crash survivor in TV documentary

A critically-injured van driver who was airlifted to hospital after a crash at Hildenborough is be featured in award-winning TV medical documentary 24 Hours in A&E next week (July 17th).

Father-of-two Tony, 59, was delivering pharmaceuticals when he was involved in a head-on collision on Tonbridge Road and trapped in the vehicle.

He had to be cut free by firefighters as Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance arrived within seven minutes and landed on a nearby school field.

Tony was given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and critical care paramedic before being flown to King’s College Hospital in London, in just 24 minutes.

Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E shows him arriving at King’s where he is met by a consultant-led trauma team available 24 hours a day.

“People die in car accidents every day,” says consultant Jacqui. “It was high speed and there was a lot of damage from head to toe. There’s a chance that he may not recover.”

Tony’s father Jack, daughter Tracy and wife Trudi wait anxiously while the medical team assess the extent of his injuries following the collision in March.

He has a dislocated hip, a smashed knee and can’t feel his right leg plus he has broken ribs and a collapsed lung. It’s clear this is just the start of a long stay in hospital.

It’s difficult for the whole family but especially for his parents as Tony’s brother Dean died at King’s from a brain haemorrhage when he was 17 and they face the prospect of losing another son at the hospital.

“You can’t explain to people how you feel,” says Jack. “You don’t ever expect your children to go before you, so your mind’s never prepared for it.”

More than 90 cameras filmed 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.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Business club swings into action for charity

The business club set up by Gordon Henderson MP is holding a charity golf day on 14th August.

Teams of four are being invited to register for the 18-hole Golf Stableford competition which is being held at the Upchurch River Valley Golf Club in Upchurch. The fundraising event is supporting the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and Litter Angels.

The Sittingbourne and Sheppey Link 2 Business club provides a forum for local businesses enabling them to network and have direct access to their member of parliament, Gordon Henderson who can advise about government policies which affect them. The club holds monthly breakfast meetings and Q & A sessions and events and is free to join.

Gordon Henderson MP said: “My local business club is delighted to include the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance as one of its charities for this year’s golf day.

“The Air Ambulance is a fantastic charity that is a real life saver and its contribution to the NHS often goes unrecognized.

“I very much hope that local companies will rally round, take part in the golf day and help us raise loads of money for charity both the Air Ambulance and our local charity, Litter Angels.”

The golf day will start with a full English breakfast and end with an evening meal and prize giving and guests will have the chance to win a Mercedes Citan Van, courtesy of Sparshatts of Kent.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance respond to an average of four to six medical emergencies every day. Later this year, the charity will be extending its operational hours to 24 hours. The service relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and with the advent of night flying, costs will rise to £6 million a year.

Litter Angels is a local charity set up by Gordon Henderson in 2008. They provide environmental arts projects for young people in the borough.

To register for the day at a cost of £45 per person, contact Jess McMahon on 01795 or at jess.mcmahon@parliament.uk

Join Geoff Rambler for a trip down memory lane

Walkers are being urged to join the fifth in a series of historic hikes around the Kent countryside this weekend, followed by collection in aid of the county’s Air Ambulance.

Lifelong rambler Geoff Ettridge, otherwise known as Geoff Rambler, will lead a four-mile Kent Messenger Walk from the Air Ambulance memorial stone at Blue Bell Hill on Saturday (July 6th).

Points of interest along the route include megaliths and a Neolithic long house discovered during the building of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Geoff said: “Walkers will hear something of the archaeology of these sites as well as local mythologies and reflect a little on the communities and societies that built these monuments.”

Anyone interested in joining the walk should meet in the car park and picnic area in Common Lane, Blue Bell Hill (ME5 9RJ), at 10am.

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 include 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