Friday, 20 December 2013

Raffle winner's early Christmas present

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

An Uckfield resident is splashing out on a holiday to Sri Lanka after winning £5,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s Christmas Draw.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, scooped the top prize in the life-saving charity’s annual raffle held yesterday (December 19th).

She said: “At first I’d forgotten that I’d bought some tickets but then realised I had. I’m delighted, it’s quite a sizeable amount and it will help cover the cost of Christmas which is fantastic.

“It’s been one of those years where everything has broken down and we’ve had to replace things so this will help to cover the cost of it. We’re also going away to Sri Lanka soon so it will also give us some spending money for that.”

A ticket holder in Chichester won the second prize of £1,000 while the third prize of £250 went to a winner in Chatham. There were five further runner-up prizes of £50 each.

Funds raised from this year’s Christmas Draw will potentially save 80 lives and the charity also has its own in-house lottery to generate income as it receives no National Lottery funding.

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance, or join the lottery, please call 01622 833833 or go to

That'll do donkey!

Photo: Harry the donkey pictured with cousins Jessica and Isla Greenaway

A Crockham Hill family has raised more than £700 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance by delivering Christmas cards with their pet donkey.

The Greenaway family and Harry the donkey posted 1,332 season’s greetings around the village in return for donations to the life-saving charity,

Villagers were urged to drop off their cards at The Royal Oak pub where a team of Santa’s helpers spent six hours sorting the mail.

Organiser Dawn Greenaway said: “Each card was stamped with a picture of a donkey so recipients knew their cards had been delivered via the Donkey Postal Service.

“Harry was adorned in his Christmas attire and with the help of family and friends delivered the cards around the village on Saturday and Sunday. We received tremendous support from the residents of Crockham Hill.”

In total, the annual fundraising event raised £1,415 for the Air Ambulance and Hospice in the Weald. If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Air Ambulance launches first 24-hour helicopter service in the country

Photo: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Medical Director Dr Malcolm Russell pictured at the night flying launch at Redhill Aerodrome.

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance yesterday (Wednesday) became the first air ambulance in the country to launch a 24-hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) following three years of research and preparatory work.

Up until recently, and unlike the rest of Europe, the service could only fly by daylight and so traditionally operated between 7am – 7pm with two specialised medical teams deploying in two helicopters from the Marden base in Kent and Redhill in Surrey, and in emergency response cars after dark. The teams attended about 1,500 missions and treated about 1,000 patients each year.

There has, however, long been a clear indication of patient need by night. The charity undertook its own prospective and retrospective audit of patient cases which identified that there were between 400 and 500 patients per year in the 3,500 square miles that is Kent, Surrey & Sussex who would benefit from night HEMS and also, most significantly, that about half of these cases were between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

It is not possible to attend so many patients dispersed across such a large area by car and so a centrally-located helicopter and medical team was clearly needed. Following a change in Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations in 2012, the charity replaced one of its older MD902 helicopters with a night-capable MD902 which now operates from Redhill Aerodrome throughout the night.

Because of the region’s size, complexities, and the presence of two major and many other minor airports, the decision was made to fly with two pilots rather than a traditional single pilot operation, to ensure the safest and most reliable service for patients and crew alike.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust Chairman Anthony Monteuuis said: “This is a hugely expensive step and we have taken the greatest care to devise a service that is as robust and as safe as possible for everyone flying in the helicopter whether it’s the patients or crew.

“The people of Kent, Surrey and Sussex are better served from this moment forward than they have in the past.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell said: “Our focus is on getting our highly-skilled teams with their time-critical interventions, to the patient as quickly and safely as possible not only to save life but also to improve the quality of survival.

“None of what we do would be possible without the support of the public. There are many patients alive and well today, living with their families and amongst their friends who would not be there without the public’s generous support and I would like to thank them on behalf of the charity, and all the patients we attend and treat, for their kindness and thoughtfulness.”

* If you would like to make a donation to Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance go to or call 01622 833833.


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Survivor's carol concert for Air Ambulance

A horse rider who says her life was saved by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is holding a Christmas carol concert to raise funds for the charity this Friday (December 13th).

Erika Schilsky, 45, suffered a fractured skull, a brain injury, broken ribs and a broken collarbone in a riding accident at Staplecross.

She had to be given emergency treatment at the scene by the doctor and paramedic before being flown to a major trauma centre in London.

Erika, from Peacehaven, was in a coma for three weeks and spent a total of four months in hospital and a further four months undergoing rehabilitation as she learned to walk again following the accident last September.

She has since made a good recovery and on Friday will be conducting a choir accompanied by pianist Tim Nail at St John’s Church in Palmeira Square, Hove.

The concert of classical songs and carols by the Diversity Singers starts at 7.30pm, tickets cost £5 on the door and all proceeds will go to the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

Erika said: “I’m very grateful to the Air Ambulance for saving my life.”

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Survivor Kye supports Air Ambulance fundraiser

Photo: Kye Sharrad pictured with Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Jez Loseby at the helicopter base at Marden

A five-year old boy airlifted by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is to be the special guest at a raffle and auction night in aid of the life-saving charity next week (December 14th).

Kye Sharrad, from Harrietsham, was feeding a horse at his grandfather’s stables when it suddenly swung round and knocked him to the floor.

He suffered a potentially fatal head injury and had to be flown to a specialist major trauma centre in London where he underwent emergency brain surgery following the accident in July.

Kye has since made a full recovery and will now draw the first ticket at an annual fundraising event in aid of the Air Ambulance at The Walnut Tree in East Farleigh.

Auction prizes include a an hour’s pleasure flight in a light aircraft, a Liverpool Football Club stadium tour, a return Dover crossing for four people and a clay pigeon shoot.

Raffle prizes include a Sunday roast for four at The Walnut Tree, a family ticket to Penshurst Place, a greyhound racing night for six at Sittingbourne and a Chirstmas food hamper.

Last year, The Walnut Tree raised more than £10,000 for the Air Ambulance from a number of events including a weekly quiz night, cricket day and the raffle and auction night.

Organiser Steve Cloude said: “I’d like to thank all the businesses, organisations and individuals who have donated such fantastic prizes and The Walnut Tree for allowing us to use their venue.”

Raffle tickets are available until 7.30pm on the night and for more information call Steve on 07802 150020.

Southeastern staff to take on a 50 mile Group Walking Challenge

Southeastern staff have been hard at work training for a two-day marathon walking challenge - all in the name of charity.
The Group Walking Challenge was masterminded by Southeastern’s Orpington and Bromley Group station manager, Danny Hackett and will see a group of about 15 employees cover more than 50 miles as they visit 28 stations from Denmark Hill to Sevenoaks and back again to Bromley South.
The challenge will take place over two days on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 December to raise funds for the two Southeastern-sponsored charities Kent Air Ambulance and Demelza Children’s Hospice.
Alison Nolan, spokesperson for Southeastern said: “Our staff, led by station manager Danny Hackett came to us with this fantastic idea of how they could raise money and awareness for our nominated charities.
“The team have spent many weekends and their spare time in training for the 50-mile event, we’re really proud of their commitment and dedication to the cause. This is another way Southeastern employees are engaging with the local community and going the extra mile to support these exceptional charities,” she said.
Donna Wells, spokesperson for Demelza said: “Southeastern have been long-time supporters of Demelza and are always coming up with new ways to support us. We’ll be doing bucket collections at several of their stations before the group walking challenge takes place, and cheering the group to the finish line on both days.”
Julie Clare, a spokesperson for Kent Air Ambulance said: “This is a novel challenge which Southeastern have come up with and no mean feat so we would like to wish their staff all the best for their walk next month.
“This is a really exciting year for the air ambulance with the launch of our night operation and blood transfusion service and we are extremely grateful for Southeastern’s support as their Charity of the Year.”
Day one of the Group Walking Challenge will start at 7.30am at Denmark Hill station on Saturday 15 December. The group will walk to Sevenoaks stopping at 16 stations via Catford, Bromley South, Swanley and Otford. They will cover approximately 30 miles.
Day two of the challenge will see the group walk over 20 miles to visit 12 stations on Sunday 15 December. Starting at Sevenoaks, the group will walk towards London along the route via Orpington to Grove Park and double back to finish at Bromley South.