Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Survivor launches swim, run and ride for Air Ambulance

Photo: Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley and Andy Curran pictured at the former helicopter base at Dunsfold Park

A Shepperton father who survived a near-fatal cycling accident is preparing for a charity bike ride next month in aid of the Surrey Air Ambulance medics who saved his life.

Andy Curran, 42, suffered multiple injuries after he crashed during a training ride and had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by the doctor and paramedic.

He spent three months in hospital and even missed his wedding but has since made a good recovery following the accident two years ago.

Andy finally married his partner Charlotte last year and the couple now have a baby son called Alfie who was born just a day after the second anniversary of the crash.

He is now organising a run, swim or cycle which he hopes will become an annual fundraising event and will eventually raise £150,511 – the figures representing the date of his accident.

The first Curran Canter is to be held on October 13th when Andy is aiming to complete a 75-mile ride starting and finishing in Walton on Thames, taking in Box Hill and the Surrey Hills.

He said: “This will be a milestone ride as it will take me past the accident spot as a symbol of my recovery and determination not to let anything hold me back.

“The past two years have been an incredible journey although challenging at times with many hospital appointments and surgical procedures.

“My passion and drive has always been to get back on the bike and it’s now all about giving something back through something that I love so much and that’s my cycling.”

Andy, a business manager for British Airways, was out cycling on a training ride when his accident happened in Headley in May, 2011.

The air ambulance was called and Dr Anthony Hudson and critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley carried out emergency chest surgery at the scene to release air trapped in his lungs – an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital.

Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard then airlifted him to the Royal London Hospital major trauma centre where scans showed he had a total of 202 multiple fractures to his skull, leg ribs and spine.

Andy lost most of his right lung and spent three weeks in an induced coma and a total of three months in hospital before he was eventually allowed home.

He added: “Without the Air Ambulance, I would have died where I fell. It was the skill of the crew, the equipment they carry and the fact that they could get me to the right place for the right treatment that saved my life.

“This is a service that anyone could find themselves needing, anyone from a cyclist to a runner, a swimmer or even a dog walker.

“This year’s Curran Canter will be a tester event and is open to all members and friends of Viceroys Triathlon Club who have supported me on my journey.

“Next year, the aim will be to open the event up to the public and it will be a non-competitive ride. We endeavourer to be like Comic Relief in that every penny raised from a Curran Canter will go to the Air Ambulance.”

Andy has so far raised £580 of his target of £1,505 and can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/currancanter

Monday, 23 September 2013

Mount Kilimanjaro beckons for Ashington duo

Photo 1: Scott Fegan receives a £150 donation from the Church Lane Café at Ashington

Photo 2: Air Ambulance paramedic Ben Macauley, Brett Coleman, Scott Fegan and Dr Emma Rowland at the former helicopter base at Dunsfold near Horsham

Two Ashington fathers are to embark on a challenge of a life-time next week by climbing the tallest freestanding mountain in the world in aid of Sussex Air Ambulance.

Brett Coleman and Scott Fegan decided to raise funds for the life-saving charity helicopter after a neighbour was airlifted.

Brett, 35, has already completed two marathons in two weeks – London and Brighton – but is now setting his sights 19,341ft higher by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

He will be joined by friend Scott Fegan, 43, and it will take them six days to reach the summit when they fly out to Tanzania next Wednesday (October 2nd).

He said: “Hot on the heels of two marathons in two weeks, I decided to up the game slightly. I spent 10 years of my life in five-star hotels working for BA so camping will be very testing.

“We chose to raise funds for the Air Ambulance because a neighbour was seriously hurt in an accident which resulted in the parents of their child needing a miracle.

“A miracle happened because of the efforts of the Air Ambulance team and the fact that they carry a specialist doctor and critical care paramedic on board.”

The 18-year-old was involved in a road traffic collision in Ashington and was given emergency treatment at the road-side.

She was then flown to a London major trauma centre in just 16 minutes – a journey that could have taken more than an hour by road.

The teenager is now back home and undergoing rehabilitation and Brett and Scott are aiming to raise a grand total of £10,000 for the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

The pair have so far raised £7,780 from a number of fundraising events including the Ashington Village Ball which will again be held this Saturday (September 28th) at 7pm.

Tickets are still available at £30 each for tables of 10 at Cubitt & West on London Road, by emailing TANZ582013@gmail.com or calling 07793 205078. The black tie ball will include a buffet dinner, licensed bar, music, a raffle and silent auction.

Scott collected a further donation of £150 from the Church Lane Café at Ashington Church last week and he and Brett can be sponsored at  www.justgiving.com/kili13 or by texting tanz58 £5 or tanz58 £10 to 70070.

He said: “I’ve never done anything like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro before so I’m excited but also really nervous in equal measure.

“I’ve seen some of the video diaries about the 50% lack of oxygen and what altitude sickness can do to you so it will be a big accomplishment to complete the challenge.”

Early birthday present for lottery winner

A Cuckfield pensioner was given an early birthday present when he won £11,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s lottery.

Anthony Hawkins celebrates his 73rd birthday next week after scooping the jackpot in the life-saving charity’s Superdraw.

The keen golfer and horse racing fan joined the fundraising lottery last summer and his lucky numbers 3, 13, 19 and 30 came up in Wednesday’s draw.

He said: “I was thunder-struck because the last time I can remember winning anything was a box of biscuits in a raffle when I was in the Scouts and that was 60 years ago.

“I’ve dabbled in playing the National Lottery for the last 15 years but never won a sausage. I’ve been doing the Air Ambulance lottery for only a year and now I’m a winner.

“I’m surprised more than anything, not shocked because someone has to win it, but it’s amazing that it’s me.

“It’s a timely win because I’ve just had some repairs done on the roof of the house and instead of coming out of my retirement income, it can now come out of my winnings.”

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 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk.


Join rambler Geoff for historic walk

Photo: Geoff Rambler

Walkers are being urged to join the penultimate in a series of walks around Kent’s historic countryside this weekend, to raise funds for aid the county’s Air Ambulance.

Geoff Ettridge, otherwise known as Geoff Rambler, will lead a seven-and-a-half mile walk from Stodmarsh Nature Reserve to Wickhambreaux on Saturday (September 28th).

He will trace the footsteps of the Fairest Maids of Kent - The Fair Rosamund, mistress of Henry II, and the Fair Maid of Kent - wife of the Black Prince and the first Princess of Wales.

Walkers will set off from the car park at the reserve (CT3 4BA) and trek across marshland to Wickhambreaux where Geoff will tell them about the maids associated with the local manor house.

He said: “We will then follow the crystal-clear water of the Little Stour to Grove before returning along the Great Stour as it passes through the nature reserve.

“The Great Stour is the water-route from the Wantsum Channel to Canterbury and probably provided the means by which St Augustine travelled to Canterbury and brought Christianity to our shores.”

Geoff, from Chatham, has written a book about all the walks that he has led this year to raise funds for the Air Ambulance.

Rambles & Ramblings is available at Cotswold Outdoor Leisure at Newnham Court, Maidstone, Roadmaster Books in Rochester High Street or at www.geofframbler.co.uk and www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Shop/category/Merchandise

A minimum donation of £5 per copy is requested which will go to the life-saving charity helicopter.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It's a life-saving mission for Big Motoring World

Photo, L-R: Big Motoring World Handout Manager Phillipa Ward, Dr Simon Wood, Pilot Craig Redman and Big Motoring World Marketing Manager Tayo Ajet.

A West Malling BMW car dealership has raised enough funds to help Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance save two lives.

Each call-out of the charity helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum of £4,994 donated by Big Motoring World will fund two potentially life-saving missions.

The money was raised from the pre-owned BMW specialist’s Big Mission Weekend during the August bank holiday.

For all 48 cars sold by Big Motoring World, which also has branches in Canterbury, the firm donated £100 to the Air Ambulance and some staff generously donated their commission.

Owner Peter Waddell said: “Customers are not just buying a car, they’re contributing to saving someone’s life tomorrow."

“I’m no stranger to the costs of running a helicopter as the company owns a Eurocopter which plays a pivotal role in the company’s growth strategy.

“I’m also well aware of the vital role that the Air Ambulance plays in saving lives throughout the South East. Big Mission Weekend was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the charity and to help the service continue.”

Big Motoring World Handout Manager Phillipa Ward became the weekend’s first customer by buying a BMW1 Series Coupe herself and last week visited the Air Ambulance base with Marketing Manager Tayo Ajet to present their cheque.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has so far attended 1,236 missions in 2013 and is due to start night flying later this year.

Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson said: “This was such a great fundraising idea and we are extremely grateful to all the team at Big Motoring World and their customers for their very generous support. This donation really will make a difference to the charity’s life-saving work.”

Monday, 16 September 2013

RNLI volunteer and Air Ambulance paramedic to attend Women of the Year Lunch

Sloane Phillips, 39, joins 400 inspirational women at the annual Lunch that celebrates achievement across all fields

Sloane Phillips, a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) paramedic from Hastings, East Sussex, has been handpicked in recognition of her personal contribution to society to join 400 women from all walks of life at the Women of the Year Lunch. This year’s event will take place on Monday 14 October 2013 at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel.

The Women of the Year Lunch and Awards ceremony honours women’s incredible personal achievements. It brings together more than 400 extraordinary women from all walks of life, all of whom have achieved something of significance. Each guest is regarded as a ‘Woman of the Year’ and represents not only herself, but the millions of extraordinary women who make a difference every day.

Sloane is attending in celebration of her work in support of two charities – The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

Sloane has volunteered for the RNLI for 18 years and last year became one of few women in the UK to qualify as an all-weather lifeboat coxswain. As a volunteer, Sloane steps in for the permanent coxswain when they are unavailable, taking charge of the all-weather lifeboat and being responsible for the safety of all the crew on board. Over the past 18 years Sloane has stayed committed to her duty of safeguarding and rescuing those in danger, helping to rescue children swept out to sea and towing stranded boats back to the safety of the harbour.

Earlier this year, she became a fully qualified Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) paramedic for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

Sloane and her team regularly carry out life-saving medical procedures and interventions at the scene of an accident or emergency and qualifying to become a Coxswain and a HEMS paramedic involve rigorous assessments of knowledge and strength. 

Sloane comments, “I feel hugely privileged and proud to work for the Air Ambulance and volunteer as a Coxswain for the RNLI. There is no better feeling than helping someone in trouble.”

She adds: “When I saw the invitation to the Women of the Year Lunch and Awards, I was so surprised, but I am absolutely delighted. I am immensely proud to not only represent women’s real achievements, but also the charities I work with. It is going to be exciting to get the chance to meet more inspirational women from all over the country.”

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, President of Women of the Year, said: “The remarkable thing about this lunch is that it’s not just about celebrity or success. It’s about seeing the exceptional in unusual places, recognizing women not only for their drive, ambition and tenacity, but for seeing a need and finding a way to make a difference. For taking the hard knocks, surviving them, and sticking at it.

“These women are role models. Their courage is breath-taking and they reaffirm our faith in the human condition by showing us that wherever you are, people do good things for each other.”

At the Lunch, special awards will be presented to exceptional women who have each proved an inspiration to others through their courage, selflessness and dedication. The winners are selected by a judging panel made up of prominent female figures in media, business and the charity sector.

The winners will be announced on Monday 14 October 2013 and previous Women of the Year winners include:

2012 Team GB Olympic & Paralympic women medallists

Doreen Lawrence, campaigner for justice following the murder of her son Stephen in 1993

P. D. James, best-selling crime writer and Life Peer

Zainab Salbi, Iraqi-American women’s rights activist and co-founder of Women for Women International

Katie Piper, who set up a charity to help burns survivors after being victim of a brutal acid attack

Lulu, the singer, businesswoman and charity campaigner

The 2013 Award sponsors are Barclays, Good Housekeeping, Sacla’ and ITV’s Lorraine.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Teenager reunited with life-saver

Photo 1, L-R: Fiona, Ben and Kevin Wagstaffe pictured at the Air Ambulance base

Photo 2: L-R: Air Ambulance Clinical Manager Richard Decoverly, Kevin and Southeastern colleagues Yvonne Willis and Dominic Trice.

An Ashford teenager has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save his life.

Ben Wagstaffe, 16, was on his way to his first work placement when he was involved in a collision with a car on Beaver Lane.

He had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic before being flown to a London major trauma centre.

He spent 10 days at King’s College Hospital before he was allowed home and is making a full recovery after being re-admitted for follow-up surgery last month.

Ben recently visited the helicopter base at Marden with his parents Kevin and Fiona to meet critical care paramedic Jez Loseby for the first time since the collision in April.

He said: “It was great to have the opportunity to visit the Air Ambulance team to say thanks for being there when I needed help.

“It was especially nice to meet and thank Jez who treated me at the scene and flew with me to King’s.”

Ben’s father Kevin works as Senior Operations Inspector for Southeastern where staff this year nominated the Air Ambulance as one of two charities supported by the train company and raised £1,904 for the charity helicopter.

He said: “I think most of us breeze through life assuming that accidents happen only to other people and are therefore un-prepared for the deep feelings of despair and anxiety when a member of our own family is injured.

“There are no words to express the overwhelming debt of gratitude we feel towards everyone in the Air Ambulance team without whose help the outcome for Ben could have been so very different.”

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Stephanie, 9, wins Miss Charity award

Photo, L-R: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, paramedic Sloane Philips, Stephanie Rees, and doctors Neel Bhanderi and Mamoun Abu-Habsa.

A Kingsdown girl was treated to a tour of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after raising a fantastic £750 for the life-saving charity.

Stephanie Rees, nine, won the title of Junior Face of the Globe for the South East in a competition held at the Azur Marina in Hastings.

She also won the Miss Charity title after raising the most funds for charity by holding a fashion show at The Five Bells pub in Ringwould.

The youngster will now go to London, Paris and Eurodisney to complete against contestants from around the world in the grand final of the Face of the Globe, next month.

Last week, Stephanie proudly wore her wore her Junior Grand Finalist sash and tiara as she visited the Air Ambulance base to see the helicopter and meet the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

It wasn’t quite a throne but the former Deal carnival queen was even allowed to sit inside the twin-engine MD902 Explorer aircraft.

She said: “It was really fun and really interesting to see the Air Ambulance. I knew it was important before I came here but I didn’t know how fast and how quickly they can get to areas.

“I think it’s really good what they do, it’s amazing, and I’m so glad they can get to people where other ambulances can’t.”

Stephanie also held a sponsored walk, race night, cake sale and an online pet pageant and has so far raised £1,500 for the Air Ambulance and the Rainbow Foundation.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Cabot Financial helps save six lives

Photo: Cabot Financial HR Administrator Chrissie Shute, Air Ambulance doctor Tom Evans, Cabot Financial Trace Team Leader, Dr Duncan Bootland, Cabot Financial Internal Communications Officer Nicole Booty and Paramedic Sloane Philips.

A West Malling firm has raised enough funds to help Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance save six lives.

Staff at Cabot Financial, which is part of Cabot Credit Management, held a number of fundraising events including a race night, auctions, raffles and football tournaments.

They chose the emergency service as their Charity of the Year following a presentation at their Kings Hill offices by Air Ambulance Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson.

In total, they raised a massive £15,011 which they presented to the pilot, doctor and paramedic during a visit to the helicopter base at Marden.

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum raised will fund six potentially life-saving missions.

Bennedetta Peto, Group HR and L&D Director, Cabot Credit Management, said: “It was our employees’ choice to raise money for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and we are proud of what they have achieved for such a worthy cause.

“Working with Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has been really rewarding and because it is a local charity we had the opportunity to have a representative come into the office to let our employees know what the charity does.

“Having a presentation by someone who can speak passionately about the charity really helped the employees be motivated into raising money for the charity.”

Cabot Credit Management is a market leading acquirer and manager of consumer debt.  Divided into four specialist businesses, Cabot Financial, Cabot Financial Ireland, Apex Credit Management and Apex Discovery Solutions, it covers debt purchase, contingency collections and customer tracing.

Cabot Credit Management has purchased assets of £8.4bn, manages over £1bn of assets on behalf of clients, collects over £20m per month on portfolios it owns and on behalf of clients, and has a 14-year unbroken track record of steady growth.

The Group employs approximately 700 people with offices in Kings Hill, Stratford-upon-Avon and Dublin. The company prides itself on its ethical values and high standards and has an impressive list of accolades including achieving Investors in People Gold award (accredited for 3 years) and attaining a place in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies To Work For - 2013. 

In addition Cabot Financial and Apex Credit Management have been awarded a Quality Management ISO 9001:2008 standard.

The controlling shareholder of Cabot Credit Management is Encore Capital Group, a leading U.S. provider of debt management and recovery solutions, with the remaining equity being held by a fund advised by J.C. Flowers & Co and management.

Air Ambulance Head of Corporate Relations Cheryl Johnson said: “This has been such a positive partnership with the Cabot team and the amount they have raised is amazing.

“Employees really threw themselves into their fundraising and their commitment and enthusiasm really has paid off. We are extremely grateful for their fantastic support.”

Paraglider reunited with life-savers

Photo, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic Sloane Philips and paraglider Ian Daniels

A paraglider who crashed while flying near Seaford has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance medics who helped save his life.

Retired electronics engineer Ian Daniels, 65, fell more than 50ft to the ground and suffered a broken shoulder and chest and internal injuries.

He said: “All I can remember is that I was flying at High and Over and had reached a height of about 800ft.

“Presumably I then made my way back to the ridge where I had taken off but after that I don’t remember anything. It’s possible I lost consciousness due to dehydration as it was very hot that day.”

A van driver and two other paragliders who witnessed the crash raised the alarm and paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) went to the scene.

Due to the severity of Ian’s injuries, they called in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance which arrived in just 20 minutes from its base at Marden – a journey that could have taken more than an hour by road.

Pilot Kevin Goddard landed in a field next to Ian and his colleagues Dr Malcolm Tunnicliffe and paramedic Sloane Philips carried out emergency treatment at the scene.

They gave him pain relief, sedated him and carried out chest surgery - advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

They then airlifted the grandfather-of-three to the Royal Sussex County Hospital at Brighton where scans confirmed he had five broken ribs and a damaged spleen.

Ian, from Hassocks, spent six days at the regional major trauma centre before he was finally allowed home.

He recently visited the Air Ambulance base to meet Malcolm and Sloane for the first time since his accident in July.

And he watched as the life-saving charity helicopter took off on another call, this time to a road traffic collision in St Leonards on Sea.

He said: “I feel very grateful to the Air Ambulance to still be alive. It’s a brilliant organisation and I’m surprised it doesn’t get any regular funding from the Government.

“There are a lot of volunteers who help raise the money and I would not have got the help I did without them.”

Sloane said: “It was great to see Ian again and we are absolutely thrilled with his recovery.”

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

On the ball for Air Ambulance

Photo: Champions Cup winners True Players

Nearly 50 teams took part in a charity five-a-side football tournament which raised more than £5,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Pearson Whiffin Recruitment Group has chosen the life-saving helicopter as its Charity of the Year and held the fundraising event on June 22nd.

Managing director Rob Pearson said: “It was another great day of football with some great camaraderie and skills being shown off throughout the day.

“Once again we had great support from our sponsors and would like to thank them as without their support the event wouldn’t happen.”

For the third year running, the main sponsor was Maidstone-based Balreed - an independent, nationwide provider of print technology and managed print services

The football tournament consisted of 48 teams from Kent-based businesses and was held at Cobdown Sports and Social Club in Ditton, Aylesford.

They battled it out to be one of the top 16 teams to contest the Champions Cup which was won by True Players while Question Mark were the runners-up.

In the last 32, the winners were Whispering Eyes and the runners-up were YKTS and the trophies were presented by Air Ambulance mascot Dr Dudley.

There was also a Nando’s Man versus Food challenge in which five competitors tried to eat 10 hot and spicy Chicken wings in the fastest time.

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

The event was also sponsored by CLS & Cabot and has been provisionally booked in for June 7th next year. To enter a team email rachel@pearsonwhiffin.co.uk.