Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Air Ambulance Christmas Draw winners

A teacher is splashing out on a holiday to Malta after winning £5,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s annual Christmas Draw.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was wrapping presents when the life-saving charity called to tell her she had won the top prize in Friday’s draw.

The mother-of-one, from Gillingham, bought £20 worth of tickets after signing up to the air ambulance’s lottery in January.

She is now planning to spend her winnings on a two-week break on the Mediterranean island and a giraffe experience for her daughter.

She said: “It’s un-believable to have won, I thought it was a joke. It’s an amazing gift for Christmas and jaw-droppingly wonderful, especially at this time of year.

“The air ambulance is such a worthy cause and any one of us could be affected by it. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer or die because it wasn’t funded.”

Mrs B Wells, from Addlestone, won the second prize of £1,000, while Mr A Cambridge from Westerham won the third prize of £250.

There were five further prizes of £50 for Mr D Ladbrum from Littlehampton, Mrs M Luck (St Leonards-on-Sea), Mrs M Fowler (Maidstone), Mrs M Curran (Wigmore) and Mrs Jo Woods from Bognor Regis.

Each air ambulance callout costs about £2,500 so the grand total of £224,366 raised from this year’s draw will potentially save nearly 90 lives.

To find out more about the Air Ambulance, or to make a donation, please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Air Ambulance lottery canvassers

Photo: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance crew members pictured this week at the Redhill helicopter base

A retired railway worker has become the latest Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance lottery winner to be signed by a door-to-door canvasser.

Former signalman Michael Holmes, 66, joined the life-saving charity’s lottery when a canvasser called at his home two years ago.

He thought nothing more of his £8-a-month subscription until his lucky numbers 2, 24, 35 and 36 came up in last Wednesday’s Superdraw

Michael, from Greatstone in Kent, was shocked when the air ambulance called to tell him he had won a grand total of £13,340.

He said: “I’ve always had a good feeling about the air ambulance and my wife and I feel it is an important part of society. It’s good to have them around so we’ve always supported them.

“When the canvasser came and knocked on our door we didn’t hesitate to sign up. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have joined.

“After we found out we’d won I dug out the paperwork for our membership and I wouldn’t even have chosen the random numbers I was given.”

“We’re delighted because this is the first time we’ve won anything. We usually buy raffle tickets at Christmas time to support various charities such as Animal Aid and the Lifeboats and we’ve won the odd £20 but not this much.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s Regular Lottery costs just £1 per week and there are 12 winners drawn each week with prizes 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.

Air Ambulance Head of Donations and Membership Katie Eeles said: “Some people are quite surprised that we use door-to-door representatives to promote our lottery throughout Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

“However, they do not collect cash or take any donations whatsoever and Mr Holmes is just one of many winners who have signed up to the lottery at their home.”

Lottery canvassers are dressed in yellow high-visibility jackets, navy blue fleeces or navy blue polo shirts with “Air Ambulance” written on them.

They usually operate Monday to Friday between 10.30am and 8pm and sometimes at weekends and all of them carry picture identification cards.

A list of canvassers can be found at http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/give/lotteryrepresentatives If necessary, further clarification can be obtained by calling the Air Ambulance Lottery Office on 01622 833833 during normal office hours.

For information on how to join the fundraising lottery go to http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/give/howtojoin

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

That'll do donkey!

Photo: Harry the donkey pictured with cousins Jessica and Isla Greenaway, and pet dog Morag
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 award-winning Harry the donkey posted 1,312 season’s greetings around the village at the weekend 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 five hours sorting and stamping the mail.
Organiser Sheila Greenaway said: “Each card was stamped with a donkey logo so recipients knew their cards had been delivered by ‘Donkey Post’.
“Harry was adorned in Christmas attire and set off at a steady plod to make the deliveries. We had tremendous support from the residents of Crockham Hill and from well-wishers on our travels.
“We are very grateful to everyone who made donations and to Paul and Dawn at The Royal Oak for their support too. We couldn’t do it without them all.”
In total, the annual fundraising event raised £1,466 for the Air Ambulance, which relies almost entirely on donations, and Hospice in the Weald.
Harry has just completed his fifth year under The Active Donkey Award organised by the Donkey Breeds Society.
Donkeys need to complete eight different activities during the year to raise the profile of the animal among the public. About 65 donkeys take part each year and Harry won this year’s Active Donkey Cup.
* If you would like to find out more about the air ambulance, or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Golfers hit five-figure sum for air ambulance

Photo: L-R, Sandra Roberts, Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, Roy Keirstead and Stephen Wild

Golfers at Mannings Heath Golf Club in West Sussex have raised enough funds to help Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance save four lives.

Each call-out of the charity helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum of £10,250 raised will fund four potentially life-saving missions.

Members of the club, near Horsham, handed over their cheque to the pilot, doctor and paramedic at the helicopter base last week (December 4th).

The air ambulance was chosen by Club Captain Stephen Wild, Ladies Captain Sandra Roberts and Seniors Captain Roy Keirstead as their Charity of the Year.

Stephen said: “We’re all really delighted with the huge amount we raised and the generosity shown by members of the club.

“It didn’t seem like a lot of effort because we enjoyed doing all the fundraising. We had tremendous fun doing it, and the money raised is a fantastic by-product of a successful year.”

The funds were raised from a number of events including a Captain’s Day, quiz and supper nights, and raffles.

Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland said: “As a charity we rely almost entirely on public donations so we are extremely grateful for this substantial donation.”

Air Ambulance in town for Win a Car raffle

Photo 1: The Win a Car raffle prize – a Suzuki Splash

Shoppers are being urged to help support Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance by buying a ticket for this year’s Win a Car raffle at Eastbourne Arndale Centre.

Volunteers from the life-saving charity will be selling tickets this Friday (December 12th) for the Grand Draw on Christmas Eve.

Tickets cost £1 and all proceeds raised on the day will go to the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) which relies almost entirely on public donations. There will also be a special visit from air ambulance mascot Dr Dudley.

The first prize is a white MPV five-door Suzuki Splash worth more than £9,000 with ABS brakes, multi air bags, leather steering wheel, remote central locking, MP3 compatible CD/radio plus exemption from road tax for the first year.

Arndale Manager Bill Plumridge said: "We hope as many people as possible will come to the Centre before Christmas to buy their ticket and stand a chance of winning a brand new car!"

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is among 48 charities supported by this year’s Win a Car raffle including Eastbourne Lifeboats, Rotary Club of Eastbourne, Special Olympics, Eastbourne Talking Newspaper, Queen Alexandra Homes, Age Concern and East Sussex CRUSE.

Every penny from ticket sales goes directly to the charities that have benefited from a total of £250,000 since the launch of the raffle in 2000.

For more information about the air ambulance, or to make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Lions on track to help keep Air Ambulance flying at night

Photo: Members of Tonbridge Lions Club pictured at a cheque presentation to the Air Ambulance at Tonbridge School

Lion-hearted fundraisers have given Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s night flying appeal a £4,404 cash boost from this year’s Tonbridge Triathlon.

Lions clubs across the South East have pledged to raise £250,000 for the Marden-based charity helicopter over 10 years to help ensure the 24-hour service continues.

The funds will be a significant contribution towards the additional £1million-a-year cost of night flying which was launched last year (December 18th).

Tonbridge Lions, organisers of the town’s annual triathlon at Tonbridge School, chose the air ambulance as the sole beneficiary from this year’s event programme and sponsorship monies raised.

Last month (November 28th), they handed over their £4,404 donation to Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland, at the High Street school.

Triathlon chairman Tom Simmons said: “Tonbridge Lions aim is to organise an event that is enjoyed by the competitors and their supporters alike while having the opportunity to raise money for local charities.

After many years of experience we feel justly proud of this event which is well regarded in the Triathlon calendar.

“This year we focused on the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and donated the proceeds from the event programme to boost funds for their night flying appeal. We also encouraged competitors to seek sponsorship to raise further funds for the air ambulance which entrants were happy to do.

“We were very pleased to see members of their fundraising team at our event as were the competitors and their families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended which made the event such a success.”

Tonbridge School’s sports complex was used by the Australian Olympic team as a training base for the London 2012 games.

Competitors in this year’s triathlon were given the choice of a sprint consisting of a 400-metre swim, 25km ride and 5km run or the standard route at double the distance.

Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland said: “We would like to thank all the runners, swimmers and cyclists who put in such a lung-busting effort, and of course Tonbridge Lions for their continued and much-valued support.”

Tonbridge was the first Lions club launched in the UK in 1949 and has raised more than £275,000 for charity in the last 10 years. The triathlon alone has raised more than £125,000 over 24 years.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Chancellor's gift to Air Ambulance

The Chancellor, George Osborne today announced in his autumn statement that he is awarding a significant grant to the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance. The seven figure sum will go towards the charity’s capital investment programmes based on a new helicopter and future basing needs.

Chief Executive, Adrian Bell said “The Chancellor’s statement today in which he granted the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust £1.5m, is a very clear and ringing endorsement of the critical service this Charity provides to its patients, and, as support to our capital investment programme, eloquent recognition of the need to ensure the long-term resilience and sustainability of this vital emergency service funded as it is through charitable donation rather than NHS finances.

As well as being extremely grateful to the Chancellor for this support, the Charity is also hugely appreciative of his move to exempt all Air Ambulance charity expenditure from VAT. In our case, this will release about £100,000 per year directly to frontline services rather than the Exchequer and equates to over 30 life-saving missions of the 1800 that the Charity undertakes annually.

We still have to raise over £6m annually to provide this life-saving service but I hope our many supporters will, like me, rejoice in the fact that yet more of their generous and so gratefully received donations will support this vital cause so directly.”

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance which celebrates it’s 25th anniversary next year became the first air ambulance service in the country to operate a 24 hours Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) last September. In the first year of its night operations crews have attended over 430 patients as well as about 1,400 patients by day.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Rescued rider's fashion show for air ambulance

Photo: Cass Lillington and Air Ambulance Paramedic Richard Crabb pictured at the Redhill helicopter base

A horse rider swapped her stirrups for the catwalk to help raise more than £1,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after she was airlifted by the charity helicopter.

Cass Lillington, 59, from Cranleigh, was riding in Alfold when she was thrown off her 16-year-old Irish cob Tigger.

She said: “We had a misunderstanding going through a gate – my foot and stirrup got stuck in the gate catch and the next thing I knew I was on the deck.

“No lasting harm was done but I was a bit bashed about and it was very comforting to be whisked off to hospital by such a kind and professional helicopter crew.”

Cass suffered chest and abdominal injuries and had to be given advanced pain relief at the scene by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic.

She was also in a remote and rural location so was flown to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where she spent two days but has now made a full recovery following the accident last year (December 7th)

In June, she was reunited with Air Ambulance paramedic Richard Crabb as she visited the helicopter base at Redhill.

And last month (November 24th), she held a fashion show and clothes sale at Cranleigh Village Hall, in aid of the life-saving charity.

Professional models from fundraising fashion show hosts Travelling Trends and Cass’s friends Paula Hynes, Judith Dunne and Mary Foryeszewski took to the catwalk to show off a range of stylish clothing.

Cass raised a total of £1,245 including £445 on her JustGiving page where friends made donations and left messages of support.

Pat Murphy, a riding friend, wrote: “Cass, well done for raising this money for such a worthwhile cause which benefits many and especially us equestrians!”

If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance, or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Three peaks, three lakes...and an 800-mile bike ride

Photo 1: Members of the Hamstreet Ultimate Road Trip (HURT) team pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Marden.

Photo 2: Team HURT pictured at the start of the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge at Marden

A group of Hamstreet fundraisers are embarking on a challenge of a lifetime next year to raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The 14-strong team begin their epic journey on July 4th with a 1,344m climb up Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland.

They will then cycle to and swim across Loch Lomond before getting back on their bikes and pedalling to Cumbria where they will scale Scaffell Pike.

The next stage of their quest will see them get back on the saddle and cycle to Lake Windermere before swimming across it.

Finally, they will cycle to Wales where they will climb 1,085m Mount Snowdon before crossing Bala Lake and riding all the way back to Hamstreet.

Organiser Andrew Othen said: “We’ve called our challenge the Hamstreet Ultimate Road Trip, or HURT, and it promises to, but it beats spending the week by the pool!”

The team of keen cyclists were inspired to raise funds for the Air Ambulance because of the number of cycling accidents the helicopter is called to.

To help them with their training, they took part in the charity’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge in September which raised almost £38,000 for the charity.

And to boost their fundraising, they held a Pick Your Own Pumpkin event, pub quiz and golf day at London Beach Golf Club in Tenterden. They are also planning a ball at The Saga Building in Sandgate. on March 28th.

For more information about the challenge, or to make a donation, go to www.hamstreet3peakchallenge.co.uk/ or  www.facebook.com/hamstreet3peaks

Monday, 1 December 2014

Air Ambulance lottery winner

A Windlesham grandmother is celebrating after winning more than £13,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, scooped the jackpot in last Wednesday’s Superdraw with lucky numbers 7, 26, 28 and 31.

She signed up to the lottery when a canvasser called at her home in March and thought nothing more of her £8-a-month subscription.

The retired nurse was shocked when she received a call telling her she had won a grand total of £13,329.36.

She said: “My legs went like jelly and I had to sit down, I can’t quite believe it.

“I’ve never won anything before so this has come out of the blue because I didn’t think I would ever win. I just signed up to support the charity because it’s a damn good cause.

“I thought I’d won about £300 but when I heard it was £13,329, I burst into tears. This win is going to help a lot and we’re going to have a fabulous Christmas, the best one we’ve ever had.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s Regular Lottery costs just £1 per week and there are 12 winners drawn each week with prizes 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.

For information on how to join the fundraising lottery go to http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/give/howtojoin or call 01622 833833.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Survivors featured in TV medical documentary

Two patients airlifted by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after a fall from a ladder and a motorbike crash, are to be featured in Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E next week (December 4th)

The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from its new home at St George’s Hospital in London – one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.

Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras, the series captures dramatic and emotional stories of love, life and loss on the frontline of the NHS.

Next week’s episode of the new series tells the story of two trauma patients flown to the hospital in May following the opening of its new rooftop helipad.

Eric fell four metres from a ladder while cutting trees in his garden in the rain. He landed on his side, walked into the house and collapsed.

The air ambulance was called and the charity helicopter’s doctor and paramedic gave him emergency treatment at the scene in Banstead before flying him to St George’s in just four minutes.

The hospital’s trauma team carried out a CT scan to discover Eric’s internal injuries while Margaret, his wife of 50 years, arrived with their sons and grandson to be with him.

Margaret said: “I kept telling myself ‘everything will be OK’. I knew I couldn’t start getting too bad because then they’d all start crying so I had to sort of keep myself composed.”

Eric is a cobbler who made riding boots for the Queen. “That’s as high as you can go,” added proud Margaret proudly.

24 Hours in A&E also tells the story of motorcyclist Mihhail who collided with a bollard at high speed on the M25 at Orpington.

The 29-year-old IT consultant suffered thorax and abdominal injuries and had to be treated at the road-side by the air ambulance’s doctor and paramedic.

Within just nine minutes, he was flown to St George’s where he was taken straight down the elevator for a CT scan to look for any hidden injuries.

Doctors were concerned that he had very serious internal injuries including a laceration to his liver and performed a “code red” emergency blood transfusion due to the level of internal blood loss.

He was then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit while specialists decided how to repair the damage to his liver and how to stop his internal bleeding.

His girlfriend Joanne said: “That was the only day I didn’t say to him ‘ride safe’. If I’d said it I think he would have been OK.”

* 24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4 on Thursday (December 4th) at 9pm. If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Monday, 24 November 2014

Charity Open Evening in association with Club Le Mons

Club Le Mons and Let’s Race are joining forces to host a charity evening this Saturday (November 29th) in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and the Make A Wish Foundation.

Members of the public and their families are invited to join them between 5pm and 10pm at Let’s Race in Horley which boasts the country’s only full motion Formula One simulators, and enjoy the many fantastic attractions they have planned. 

There will be fun for all the family including children's race simulators, a Batak reaction time machine, six-track Scalextric, raffle and a nail bar for the more feminine guests, and much more.

Entry is free but visitors are urged to bring their wallets as they will have prizes, competitions and attractions with all profits going to their two chosen charities.

Organisers will be welcoming some of the children who have been helped by the charities as their special guests for the evening.

Among the drivers will be young former patients from Harrietsham, Cliffe Woods, Crawley and Worthing who will get to drive in the first race along with the winners of a children’s raffle.

Club Le Mons Charity Director Jenny Dorrington said: “Make sure you come along early to participate in the raffle as it will be drawn at 5.30pm and the race will be at 6pm.

“Our second race will see the Club Le Mons team competing as part of their year-long charity car challenge. To learn more about Club Le Mons please go to www.lemons365.co.uk. Come along and cheer (or heckle!) in the Grandstand.

“And then the Grand Finale, the ultimate race of the evening, will begin at 7.30pm and is another great way for you to get involved! Help us raise some money for these two great charities and win a place on the grid for your very own Formula 1 race.
“There will be two ways to win a seat on the grid. Five places will be won by those who have entered into our Balloon Raffle on the night.

“By purchasing a balloon for £10, not only will you get a Club Le Mons and Charity Goody Bag but at 7.10pm everyone will pop their balloons to discover whether the ticket inside says WIN or LOSE.”

Wannabe Lewis Hamiltons can also secure their position on the Let’s Race Grid by making a generous donation to the charities. The top five donors  will also automatically receive a place on the starting grid.

There will also be food and drink available and if you would like to receive any updates about the event, sign up at: www.facebook.com/clublemons

Tree of life for air ambulance

A three-day Christmas Tree Festival is to be held in Cuckfield next month in aid of life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The event is to be held at Holy Trinity Church on December 12th from 11.30am to 7.30pm, December 13th from 11.30am to 6.30pm and on December 14th from 11.30am to 5pm.

A Christmas tree with baubles featuring the faces of some of the patients who have been saved and helped by the air ambulance, will be among 80 on display.

On the final day of the festival, at the 9.45am church service, Air Ambulance Deputy Director of Income Generation Bridget Pepper will give a presentation about the life-saving work of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).

There will be a carol service at 6pm that day with live music and refreshments throughout the three days. Admission is £4 but free for children.

Supporters will also be able to buy tickets this year’s Air Ambulance Christmas Draw. The draw will take place at the helicopter base on December 19th with a first prize of £5,000, £1,000 for 2nd, £250 for 3rd, and five further prizes of £50.

Funds raised will go to the air ambulance which receives no statutory Government funding and relies almost entirely on public donations.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Survivor featured in TV medical documentary

A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance patient, who survived a 25ft fall from a tree, is to be featured in Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E next week (November 13th).

The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from its new home at St George’s Hospital in London – one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.

Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras, the series captures dramatic and emotional stories of love, life and loss on the frontline of the NHS.

Next week’s third episode of the new series tells the story of tree surgeon Paul who was working in Sunbury-on-Thames when his harness failed and he fell and hit his head on a concrete pole as he landed.

The air ambulance was called and it took the charity helicopter 19 minutes to get to Paul from its Redhill base.

Paul, 38, was assessed and treated at the scene by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic before being taken by road to St George’s, accompanied by the air ambulance team.

24 Hours in A&E shows him arriving in the resuscitation room of the specialist Major Trauma Centre where doctors were immediately concerned that he may have injured his spine.

Orthopaedic doctor Mike said: “When somebody falls you worry about the head, then you worry about spinal injuries.

“When the patient comes in if they’re complaining of pins and needles my heart always sinks.  It could be a sign that there is trauma to the spinal cord which can cause paralysis.”

A CT scan revealed that Paul had broken a vertebra in his back and medics were concerned fragments of bone could damage his spinal cord.

Paul’s wife Emma realised things were serious when she was told he had been taken to St George’s rather than their local hospital.

She said: “You think, ‘What if he doesn’t walk again?’. It’s horrible to see somebody that you look upon as big and strong and seeing them just going insane with the amount of pain they’re in. I just felt pretty helpless, but all I could do was hold his hand.”

* 24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4 on Thursday (November 13th) at 9pm. If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Survivor reunited with lifesavers

Photo: L-R Dr Leonieke Vlaanderen, Pete Philips and Paramedic Alan Cowley

A Folkestone handyman who survived a 20ft fall from the town hall roof yesterday (Tuesday) met the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance team who flew to his aid.

Town Sprucer Pete Philips, 53, suffered a fractured skull and severely injured arm after plunging from the Guildhall Street building while catching pigeons.

He was flown by the charity helicopter to King’s College Hospital in London where he underwent an emergency operation to repair an artery and restore the blood flow to his arm.

Pete has now made a full recovery and yesterday met Dr Leonieke Vlaanderen and Paramedic Alan Cowley for the first time since his accident last month (September 4th)

He said: “It’s been absolutely amazing and brilliant to meet them and I can’t thank them enough for what they did. I’m just glad to be alive.

“I can’t remember much about what happened so they were able to fill in the gaps in my memory. It’s a brilliant charity and everybody should contribute to keep it going.”

Alan said: “Essentially, we gave him pain relief and antibiotics to prevent infection to his arm which had a gaping wound.

“We were then able to deliver him quickly to a specialist Major Trauma Centre where he received definitive care which was time-critical.”

It took Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, 20 minutes to get to King’s where scans revealed Pete had amazingly escaped brain injury – a journey that could have taken an hour by road.

The father-of three, a former North Sea miner from Newcastle, spent six days in hospital before returning to his Bradstone Road home and is now planning to return to work later this month.

If you would like to find out more about the air ambulance or make a donation please go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Halloween treat for three-legged fundraisers

Photo 1: L-R Mollie Whitehead and Ruby Websper

Two primary school girls who raised £350 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance were treated to a tour of the helicopter base on Halloween.

Minterne Community Junior School pupils Ruby Websper and Mollie Whitehead raised the funds from their own version of the Olympic triathlon – running, cycling and a three-legged race.

They held the event at Albany Park in Sittingbourne and Ruby decided to support the charity after seeing the helicopter in action. Mollie’s parents also work in the medical profession – her dad Martin is a nurse clinician and her mother Alison is a midwife.

Ruby and Mollie, both aged nine, visited the air ambulance headquarters at Marden on Friday (October 31st) to present their cheque to Critical Care Paramedic Lewis Allam.

They watched as the helicopter landed following a call-out and were even allowed to sit in the back of the MD902 Explorer which flies at speeds of up to 150mph.

Ruby said: “I thought the helicopter landing in front of us was awesome. I loved sitting in the helicopter and I’m really pleased we raised money for the air ambulance. I want to do something else now to raise more money for them.”

If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation please go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Monday, 3 November 2014

Schoolboy reunited with lifesavers

Photo 1: L-R: Air Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic Stu Plumbley and Harvey

Photo 2: L-R: Harvey Tagorti being presented with his birthday cake from Dr Davenport, Critical Care Paramedic Stu Plumbley and Pilot, Captain Dan Kitteridge

A Crawley schoolboy who was critically injured in a playground accident has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance team who helped save his life.

Harvey Tagorti, 8, was playing with his brother Dylan at a park in the town when a wooden beam fell on his head.

He was knocked unconscious and had to be put into an induced coma by the charity helicopter’s doctor and paramedic, to prevent further brain injury.

Harvey has since made a full recovery and yesterday met the air ambulance team for the first time since his accident in April.

He was given a tour of the helicopter at its Redhill base and was even allowed to sit in the cockpit of the MD902 Explorer which flies at speeds of up to 150mph.

The youngster was also presented with a cake after missing his birthday because he remained in a coma for eight days following his accident which happened two days before his eighth birthday.

Dr Matt Davenport said: “When we got to Harvey he was unconscious then he came round to what can best be described as being combative. He had a really severe head injury and he didn’t reply to any of his Mum’s questions or ours.”

Harvey’s mother Faye Hankin added: “I didn’t realise how serious it was. The paramedics seemed to think I stayed quite calm but I’m not sure if that was shock or because you just have to stay strong as a parent to help your child through this.”

Harvey was the first paediatric patient to be flown to St George’s Hospital in London following the opening of its new rooftop helipad.

Pilots Dan Kitteridge and Dan Vickers airlifted Harvey and Faye to the specialist Major Trauma Centre in just 12 minutes.

Captain Dan Kitteridge said: “If Harvey had gone to St George’s by road he would have been looking at about a 45-minute journey but we were able to land on the helipad with Harvey going straight down in an elevator to a CT scanner which was really important for his treatment.”

Following his accident, Harvey and his family raised more than £400 for the life-saving charity which relies almost entirely on donations.

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Friday, 31 October 2014

Air Ambulance's Innovation Award

Photo: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell

 

Adrian Bell, Chief Executive of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has been named as one of the Health Service Journal’s Top 50 Innovators in healthcare for 2014 for the charity’s development of its full 24 hour HEMS operation.

 

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance began operating its 24/7 Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in September 2013 and is the only air ambulance operator in the country to provide such a service. The development of the service from 12 to 24 hours took the charity’s team, lead by Adrian, nearly three years to plan and implement. The air ambulance’s doctor and paramedic team deliver enhanced pre-hospital care to seriously ill or injured patients. In the first year of its night operations crews have attended over 430 patients as well as about 1,400 patients by day.

 

Adrian Bell said: “My name being on this list is actually due recognition of what everyone, and I include all our supporters and volunteers as well as staff, both operational and charity, have achieved in delivering to the community a service all our patients so desperately need.”

 

Readers of the Health Service Journal were invited to name those they felt should be considered by a panel of respected judges for this prestigious award and last night (Thursday) HSJ announced it’s 2014 list of the most innovative people in Healthcare. Alistair McLellan, editor of HSJ made the announcement at a reception at the Royal College of Physicians attended by the 50 innovators and guests.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Kelsey's skydive for air ambulance

Kelsey pictured during her skydive at Headcorn

A Gravesend teenager who jumped out of an aeroplane in a sponsored skydive for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, has raised almost £1,500 for the life-saving charity.

Mayfield Grammar School pupil Kelsey Barham took the plunge from 13,000ft at Headcorn Aerodrome earlier this month (October 4th).

She completed the challenge in memory of her uncle Peter Edgeler who sadly died in a motorbike accident 15 years ago.

In total, she raised £1,454 for the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

Kelsey, 16, visited the helicopter base at Marden yesterday (Monday) to present her cheque to the charity.

She said: “The skydive was such a great experience, words can’t even describe how much of an adrenalin rush it was.

“The best bit was when I was in freefall but the worst bit was my ears popping. I’m now planning to do a wing walk when I’m 18.”

If you would like to donate to the Kelsey’s giving page click here: https://fundraisingkss.everydayhero.com/uk/kelseysskydive

 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Survivor reunited with life-saver

Photo: Bob Morgans and Dr Simon Wood

A golfer who survived a cardiac arrest has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor who helped save his life.

Retired salesman Bob Morgans, 73, was playing at Villa Golf Club in Blackham when he suddenly collapsed at the seventh hole after scoring a birdie.

His friend Roy Wright battled to save him by carrying out chest compressions for about 10 minutes before paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) arrived.

The ambulance crew made several attempts to defibrillate Bob’s heart before the air ambulance reached the scene.

When the helicopter arrived, the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) doctor and paramedic worked with the SECAmb team to successfully resuscitate Bob including the use of advanced airway skills. He was then transferred to a specialist coronary unit and has since made an excellent recovery.

The grandfather-of-five has now met Dr Simon Wood for the first time since his cardiac arrest last August – on the day of his 42nd wedding anniversary.

He said: “It’s quite remarkable what they did, without any doubt, because they went to extreme lengths to get me back. 

“It was quite emotional meeting Simon because he found me in a crumpled state and I didn’t know him from Adam.

“I asked him how close to death I was and he said very close and that I was as good as gone. When the nurses at the hospital started calling me the miracle man, now I understand what they were talking about.

“Everyone I have spoken to in the medical fraternity says they are delighted but very surprised that I have recovered, and so quickly. When I went to see my GP for the first time since it happened. he was beyond words.”

It took air ambulance pilots, Captain John Wade and First Officer Dan Vickers just four minutes to get to Bob before landing on the golf course.

Dr Wood and his colleagues Dr Magnus Nelson and paramedic Ben Macauley then carried on resuscitating Bob with SECAmb paramedics and managed to get his heart beating again after about 40 minutes.

They put him into an induced coma before cooling him to help preserve his brain function. He was then flown to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford in just 24 minutes - a journey that could have taken almost an hour by road.

Bob spent a total of six weeks in hospital before he was allowed home and has since had a pacemaker and defibrillator fitted after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass 13 years ago.

Dr Wood said: “It was fantastic to see Bob up and walking around because he has been given a second lease of life. For me personally, it was quite an amazing experience because he is very lucky to still be alive.”

In June, Bob held a golf day at Villa Golf Club and raised more than £600 for the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

The helicopter is often called to cardiac arrests on the golf course and Bob is backing former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher’s campaign to kit clubs throughout the UK with defibrillators.

Gallacher, 65, suffered a cardiac arrest last year as he was about to give an after-dinner speech but is expected to make a full recovery.

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Monday, 6 October 2014

Rotary president in Merman swimathon

Photo: L-R Marika and Dave Cavell, and Whitstable Rotary Club Vocational chairman Kevin Fielding pictured on Whitstable seafront

The president of Whitstable Rotary Club is preparing for a charity swimathon next month in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance – dressed as a Merman.

Dave Cavell will take the plunge at the town’s Harbour Street pool on November 12th for the club’s Charity of the Year.

The retired police officer is planning to swim non-stop for an hour with spectators nominating him to do a backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly stroke for every fifth length.

He will be joined by fellow Rotary members and the pool’s aqua aerobics class who will be dressed as South Sea Island girls, complete with grass skirts.

Dave, 71, said: “I’m a good swimmer but sponsored swims have been done before and can be quite boring to watch.

“Thinking about it, I decided to do a swim with a difference using only my arms with my legs strapped together.

“So I decided to encase them in a fish tail and become a Merman but I can’t be a mermaid because I’m not shaving off my beard of 40 years, not even for this.”

Dave is hoping to raise £500 and can be sponsored at https://www.justgiving.com/Whitstable-Rotary-Merman/

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Record success for Air Ambulance bike ride


Nearly 300 riders got on their bikes on Sunday (September 28th) for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s annual Double 100 Cycle Challenge.

The 100-mile and 100km circular rides started and finished at the life-saving charity’s helicopter bases at Marden in Kent and Redhill in Surrey.

The routes passed through all counties covered by the air ambulance including the following towns and villages: Tunbridge Wells, Paddock Wood, Lamberhurst, Wadhurst, Crowborough, Hartfield, Forest Row, Turners Hill, Horley and Lingfield.

The first rider to complete the 100-mile route at Marden was Scott Sargent of main sponsors Fidelity Worldwide Investment while the first 100km finisher was Jonathan Miller of Whitehead Monckton Solicitors.

Other corporate teams who entered the event were Aylesford-based James Villas Holidays and Howard Cundey Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents.

Peter Ellis, from East Grinstead, Jeremy Lowe and Ian Weston, both from Polegate, were the first to complete the 100-miler at Redhill and Simon Tack, from Shepperton, was the first 100km finisher.

Organiser Julie Clare, of Air Ambulance Corporate Relations, said: “This year’s Double 100 was our biggest and best so far with a record number of entrants.

“We would like to thank all 280 riders who took part, and of course our sponsors, who helped make it a great success for the charity.”

Air Ambulance doctors, paramedics, staff and trustees were among the riders who tackled a total hill climb of 6,404ft.

And family and friends cheered as the riders finally crossed the finish line at the end of their epic journey, some of them 12 hours after they started.

Now in its fourth year, the Double 100 was also sponsored by Howard Cundey and supported by Halfords, the Asda Foundation, Warburtons and Southern Water.

Next year’s event will celebrate the air ambulance’s 25th anniversary and may include a 25-mile circuit for families.

To view our photos on Flickr please click here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kssairambulance/sets/72157648289078485/

If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride

Photo: Air Ambulance Paramedics Charles Leahy and Ben Macauley, Dr Emma Rowland and Paramedic Stu Plumbley

Cyclists are being urged to get on their bikes for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s annual Double 100 Cycle Challenge this Sunday (September 28th).

The Double 100 is a 100-mile or 100km ride which starts and finishes at the helicopter bases at Marden in Kent and Redhill in Surrey.

Air Ambulance doctors, paramedics and staff members are among more than 200 riders who have signed up so far with more welcome to enter now or on the day.

This year’s ride will include two new circular routes through the counties covered by the air ambulance and marks the first anniversary of the launch of the life-saving charity’s night flying service.

Last year’s event raised more than £12,000 and the air ambulance is aiming to double its success this year with a new starting point at the charity’s Marden headquarters.

Event project manager Julie Clare said: “We are delighted with the response this year. It promises to be a great ride for the cyclists and with the money raised it will be a great day for the Air Ambulance too.”

This year’s Double 100 has been backed by main sponsor Fidelity Worldwide Investment who have entered a team of 40 cyclists.

Corporate Citizenship Manager Vicki Haxton said: “Fidelity is delighted to be supporting the Double 100 Cycle Challenge and helping to raise money for this incredibly worthy cause.

“The air ambulance is a vital service in this area and we recognise the significant contribution they make towards saving lives in our community. We are looking forward to many of our employees participating in the event.”

The 2014 Double 100 has also been sponsored by Howard Cundey Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents, and supported by Halfords, the Asda Foundation, Warburtons and Southern Water.

The ride is open to regular and occasional cyclists including individuals and teams with feeding stations along the scenic route.

To register go to www.kssairambulance.co.uk/involved/double100 and for more information call Julie Clare on 01622 833833, or email juliec@kssairambulance.org.uk

Monday, 22 September 2014

Garden party in memory of Garry

Photo 1: Garry Jarrett’s family and friends release balloons at a garden party in his memory

Family and friends of a Halstead father who died after a road accident held a garden party in celebration of his life and raised more than £3,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Former Wilderness School pupil Garry Jarrett, 24, was airlifted by the charity helicopter but sadly passed away after a week in intensive care at the Royal London Hospital.

His parents Chris and Roger recently threw open the doors of their Beaconfields home to mark the second anniversary of his passing.

More than 100 family and friends including Garry’s fiancĂ©e Sian attended and helped to raise a grand total of £3,018 from an auction and raffles.

They also released Air Ambulance balloons into the sky including one from Garry’s son Alfie, 2, which read: “Dad you’re my hero.”

Chris said: “It was just overwhelming and fantastic because some of the neighbours, who we hadn’t invited, came round and made donations.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone for coming, and to all the local businesses who pledged their support.”

Raffle prizes included signed England and Chelsea football shirts, a spa day for two at Brandshatch Place Hotel and a golf day for four at Nizels Golf and Country Club.

There was also a disco, barbecue, hog roast, Zumba class and a visit from Charlie the Clown.

In 2012, Garry’s family raised more than £15,000 for the Air Ambulance from funeral donations and a bike ride at Bedgebury Pinetum.