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.


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