Monday, 19 August 2013

Racing crash survivor reunited with life-savers

Photo, L-R: Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Jez Loseby, Paul Aylward and Dr Mamoun Abu-Habsa

A motocross rider airlifted to hospital after a racing crash has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor and paramedic who saved his life.

Paul Aylward was competing in a Southern Motocross meeting at Northchapel when he lost control of his bike and crashed during qualifying, suffering critical head and chest injuries.

Dr Mamoun Abu-Habsa and critical care paramedic Jez Loseby arrived within minutes and carried out a rapid assessment of Paul’s injuries.

They carried out emergency life-saving treatment at the track-side and performed advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

Paul, from Horsham, was then flown to the Royal London Hospital while his wife Lynn was rushed to the major trauma centre under police escort.

The self-employed truck driver spent 11 days in intensive care and a total of five weeks in hospital but has since made an excellent recovery.

He said: “I remember picking up my motorbike from the bike shop the day before the meeting, having spent quite a bit on repairs and a service.

“My next memory was about five to six weeks later when Lynn came to sit with me for a while. As it turns out, it was eight hours a day she had been sitting with me but at the time, time didn’t mean anything to me.

“I also had post traumatic amnesia and was tested by the neuro occupational therapists daily with a set of questions.  I had to answer the same questions correctly for three days in a row before I could be discharged for further rehabilitation. 

“One of the answers I kept getting wrong was my age. I said I was 83, which they thought was hilarious, but that was actually my racing number.”

Paul had been a keen motocross rider for more than 30 years but has now retired from the sport following the crash in October.

In March, he was awarded the Southern Motocross Clubman of the Year in recognition of his amazing determination to recover from his injuries.

A club spokesman said: “He has refused to be beaten by the injuries and, helped by his wife Lynn, appears to be recovering well.”

Paul and Lynn recently visited the Air Ambulance base to thank Mamoun and Jez for saving his life and kindly donated more than £1,000 to the life-saving charity.

He said: “It was absolutely brilliant to meet and personally thank them. I’m so grateful and very aware that without the professional expertise and decision making of Mamoun and Jez my situation would be very different.  I am also very grateful to all of the Air Ambulance team.  I feel incredibly lucky that after just nine months I can lead a near normal life.

“The way I look at it is that for years I rode my bike and had good luck, then I crashed and had a bit of bad luck, but I’ve had good luck ever since.

“The support I’ve had from my wife and people around me has been un-believable.”

Dr Abu-Habsa added: “We are absolutely thrilled with Paul’s recovery.”

Angler reels in £1,000 lottery win

Photo: Chris Barden pictured at Cranbrook and District Angling Club’s lake next to the Air Ambulance helicopter base at Marden

An angler landed the biggest catch of the day when she scooped the jackpot in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

Chris Barden, from Chatham, netted the £1,000 top prize in the mid-week draw and plans to celebrate her win by splashing out on a new fishing rod.

She visited the helicopter base at Marden last week to be presented with her cheque by the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

She said: “I was ecstatic when I found out I’d won because I’ve only been fishing for about three months and this means I can now buy myself a really good rod.

“I’ve always wanted to do a bit of sea fishing as well so now I can hire a boat out for the day, or have a holiday in Tenerife.”

Mrs Barden, of Blue Bell Hill, joined the fundraising lottery four years ago after a canvasser called at her home.

She added: “The Air Ambulance is an essential life-saving service and I’ve always felt that it’s a vital charity.”

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.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Air Ambulance launches 24/7 Club Lottery

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has launched a new lottery draw to help fund the cost of night flying.

It currently costs £5million per year to keep the service airborne but this figure will soon rise to £6million.

Research has shown there is a genuine need for the Air Ambulance to provide a 24-hour service and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has now changed regulations to allow ad hoc landing at night away from lit airports or hospital landing sites.

In preparation to operate by helicopter at night, the Air Ambulance has commenced night operations by car. Although not as responsive and capable as helicopter operations, the doctor and paramedic are already attending a significant number of incidents where patients desperately need pre-hospital care that only Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) crews are able to provide at the scene of an incident.

Members of the charity’s £1-per-week Regular Lottery now have the opportunity to help save lives at night by joining the new 24/7 Club Lottery, for just 57p per week or £2.47 per month.

The first draw was held on July 24th and the winner was Louis Maule-Cole from Crawley who scooped the weekly jackpot of £247.

He said: “I was shocked but privileged to be the first winner of the 24/7 Club Lottery. I’m 83 and it’s the first lottery I’ve ever won.

“The Air Ambulance took my attention after someone came and gave our Probus group a talk about the service. It never really dawned on me that it is supported by donations.”

For more information about the Air Ambulance lotteries, please call 01622 833833 or visit

Solicitors scoot, trot and "fly" to work in charity relay

Photo 1: Helicopter “pilots” Daniel Church and David Hitchcock

Photo 2: Rosie Butler and Sarah Bostock on horseback

A firm of solicitors swapped their cars for scooters, horses and a model helicopter to raise almost £3,000 for Surrey Air Ambulance in an adventure relay.

More than 40 members of staff at TWM Solicitors successfully completed a 54-mile tour of all six branches on Friday (August 2nd), in 11 hours.

The first leg got under way at 6.30am at Wimbledon with Daniel Church and David Hitchcock setting off on scooters while colleagues Danielle Glinn and Hannah Green were running.

All four arrived at the Epsom office in 1hr, 20mins before David and Daniel donned their flying hats and Aviator sunglasses to carry a wooden model of the Air Ambulance helicopter.

They were joined by fellow walkers Jacquie Torbett, Jeremy Harcourt, Michelle Fitzpatrick, Kate Foster, Lora Clark, and Connie and Mel Deans, for the trip to Leatherhead.

Daniel, 29, said: “The next leg for the party at Epsom was a further notch up the ‘strange-o-meter’ and we embarrassingly trotted through the Ashley Centre, Ashtead High Street and then Leatherhead.”

Meanwhile, Sarah Bostock and Rosie Butler turned heads in Leatherhead as they set off from TWM’s High Street office on horseback with Sarah Cornes, Gemma Duncton and Kim Bernaldo De Quiros following on foot.

Sarah and Rosie left before the walkers and went slightly “off piste” as they made their way through the woods to Epsom and golfers at Reigate Heath were briefly forced to stop play as they trotted past.

Daniel, David, Lindsey Alexander, Josh Alexander, Katie Reader, Adrian O’Loughlin and Caroline Foulger then set off on a 20-mile bike ride from Reigate to Cranleigh.

On the A25, they were joined by Managing Partner Matthew Truelove who ignored the “no engine” rule and arrived on a 170mph Honda Fireblade motorbike.

At Cranleigh, they were joined by Allison Crossman, Daniel Jenking, Howard House and Sarah who swapped her horse for a pink BMX for the final 10-mile ride to Guildford.

Daniel added: “The cyclists arrived at Guildford at around 6pm, just eleven-and-a-half hours after the whole thing started.

“The pain in our legs was substituted for a pain in our stomachs after we proceeded to consume way too much pizza and so it was the end of another harebrained TWM charity event.”

In total, they have so far raised £2,717 for the Air Ambulance and can still be sponsored at

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Over £2,500 for the Air Ambulance was raised during ‘The Big Week!’

As part of a range of activities included in 'The Big Week!' all staff were able to view some of the new training rooms, experience the power station's new Visitor Centre and saw the launch of a suite of new training rooms, including a new safety centre to promote best safety practice at the site.

EDF Energy's mobile product service team were also on hand to provide information on EDF Energy's products and services, with the company pledging money to charity on behalf of staff signing up for EDF Energy's services. Station staff had voted enthusiastically for The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Martin said: "2013 is proving to be a year of celebration at Dungeness B, here we are marking the opening of several key facilities at the site  which staff will be able to use to further enhance their learning and development around key areas such as safety. I am proud that staff have taken the opportunity to raise money for the vital service provided by the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Jill Playle, Director of Communications at Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, said: "It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm that the staff have for the Air Ambulance. We are very grateful for their support and the significant funds that they have raised. This will directly impact on the lives of those patients we attend on a daily basis and undoubtedly save lives." Martin and Rebecca holding the presentation cheque that has been forwarded to the Air Ambulance, with Maintenance and Chemistry holding the Air Ambulance flag.

Step back in time with Geoff Rambler's book of walks

A rambler has written a book about a series of historic hikes around the Kent countryside to raise funds for the county’s Air Ambulance.

Geoff Rambler’s Rambles and Ramblings is a diary of 11 circular walks from Aldington to Wickhambreaux with a potted history along the way.

Walkers can follow in the footsteps of The Larkin Family in The Darling Buds of May at Pluckley or the Medway megalith builders at Bluebeill Hill.

They can also delve into the mystery of why so many Roman villas were built along the Darenth Valley or an illegal Royal marriage at St Mary Hoo.

Geoff, 59, said: “Each of the walks in this book is associated with significant Kent people, places or events.

“In addition to detailed walk instructions, each walk is accompanied by a miscellany of thoughts and ramblings.

“As I ramble around Kent I frequently find myself wondering about who may have travelled the paths before me and about the purpose of their journey.”

The 11 featured walks are at Addington, Aldington, Boxley, Bluebell Hill, Fairbourne, Ightham, Fairbourne, Farningham, Pluckley, St Mary Hoo and Wickhambreaux.

Geoff, from Chatham, has led walks for the Medway branch of the Ramblers’ Association and the Kent Messenger since retiring as a local government officer four years ago.

He has raised more than £5,000 for charity through his walking and has this year chosen to support the Air Ambulance.

The charity helicopter is often called to sport and leisure accidents, many of them involving walkers stranded in remote and rural areas.

Geoff’s 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 walks are free but a collection will be held at the end of each walk for the Air Ambulance in addition to funds raised from book sales.

To order a copy of Geoff Rambler’s Ramblers and Ramblings, which cost £5 each, go to or

Monday, 5 August 2013

You're hired, says biscuit boss Harry, 11

Photo 1: L-R Cranleigh Primary School governor Michelle Matthew with pupils Harry, Anisha and Jimmy

Pupils at Cranleigh Primary School have been taking part in a Young Apprentice-style business venture in aid of Surrey Air Ambulance.

Harry Hearn, 11, was appointed “managing director” of a company selling biscuits with a choice of toppings.

He and his colleagues Maeling, Anisha and Jimmy made a profit of £104 which they kindly donated to the life-saving charity.

H.B.J.B Biscuits was one of a number of small firms Year 6 pupils were involved in setting up and running at the Parsonage Road school.

In a letter to the Air Ambulance, Harry explained: “Our company is a biscuit company where people can order their biscuits and choose which topping they would like. Our price ranges from 50p to 60p.

“A 50p biscuit contains icing and a choice of three toppings and a 60p biscuit contains icing and a choice of five toppings. My team has made the decision that the profit from this product will go to Surrey Air Ambulance.”

Year 6 teacher Julia Greaves said the Young Enterprise venture was usually undertaken by secondary school pupils.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance works closely with local schools and provides a fascinating study subject for children of all ages.

As part of a rounded education, pupils can gain an insight into helicopters and clinical procedures in a number of different projects. To find out more go to