Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Clinical experts attend Blood Symposium

Photo: Consultants, doctors and clinicians pictured at the Blood Symposium

Consultants, doctors and clinicians attended a blood symposium at the Holiday Inn in Gatwick last week (22nd January). The medical conference was organised by Dr Duncan Bootland and Emily McWhirter from the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance who early last year became the second air ambulance service in the country to carry blood.

The audience of more than 50 healthcare professionals was welcomed by Dr. Malcolm Russell MBE Medical Director of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance. Presentations from eminent clinicians and international speakers were given by Dr James Manning Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina; Lieutenant Colonel Chris Wright of the Royal Amy Medical Corps; Professor Karim Brohi, Professor of Trauma Sciences at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London; researcher Ms Claire O’Rourke; Dr Emrys Kirkman, Principle Scientist at the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down; Professor Roopen Ayra, Professor of Thrombosis and Haemostasis at Kings Thrombosis Centre; Dr Gareth Davies, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of London Air Ambulance.

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance started carrying blood and giving it to patients suffering from excessive blood loss last February, benefiting about seven patients a month. The service which is a registered charity is now looking at the next step in the use of blood products and how stemming the loss of blood to a group of patients suffering serious injuries can help to save lives.

Dr Bootland said: ‘'Haemorrhage (bleeding) from traumatic injuries is a major cause of death and disability. In our work with Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance we are called to a number of these patients and we know that our ability to stabilise and manage their bleeding will have a significant impact on how they recover.  As one of the first air ambulance services in the country to routinely carry blood to transfuse to the patient at the scene of an accident, we have first hand experience of the difference this can make. However, there is increasing evidence that on top of needing blood, trauma patients need early replacement of their clotting factors to help stem the bleeding and that there are other interventions that are being trialled that may also help our patients . As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the care of patients in Kent, Surrey and Sussex we organised this one day event and invited clinicians and researchers with world class expertise in the management of the bleeding trauma patient to help guide us on how we further improve our care.  The day was attended by not only the KSSAAT doctors and paramedics but also air ambulance staff from other regions, South East Coast Ambulance paramedics and hospital doctors and nurses from around the country.”

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance flies two helicopters with specialist doctor and paramedic crews. Last year they became the first air ambulance service in the country to provide a 24-hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operation.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Young survivor opens puzzle shed for air ambulance

Photo 1: L-R Peter Parvin, John Slattery and Louis and Kaylie Parvin

A volunteer for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has painstakingly put together nearly 700 jigsaw puzzles to help raise more than £16,000 for the life-saving charity.

John Slattery, from Coxheath, checks each donated set is complete before selling them in return for donations to the Marden-based helicopter.

The retired farmhand first took up the hobby in August, 2007, and has since pieced together a grand total of 665 jigsaws.

His home is so full of puzzles that he’s just bought a bigger shed which was yesterday (Monday) officially opened by a toddler who was airlifted to hospital.

Little Louis Parvin suffered a fractured skull and was knocked unconscious when a wardrobe fell on top of him but has since made a full recovery.

John, 79, said: “Everything I sell is donated to the air ambulance and I’ve been sent puzzles from as far afield as America and Ireland.

“I photograph every one that I’ve done and there’s usually only about one in 10 that aren’t complete in which case I thrown them away.

“A 1,000-piece jigsaw will take me about four to five days and the biggest I’ve done is about 3,000 pieces. On average, I make about £350 a year from selling them.”

John and his wife Pat have been volunteers for the Air Ambulance since the helicopter was first launched nearly 25 years ago.

During that time, they have raised a grand total of £16,185 from selling puzzles, placing and emptying collection tins, selling merchandise at fundraising events and running a bonus ball game.

Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland said: “We are enormously indebted to John and Pat for their incredible hard work over such a long period of time.

“Their puzzle shed is a great example of the many and varied fundraising events that people do for us, which we really do appreciate.”

* If you would like to donate a puzzle to John and Pat, call 01622 745440 or email

Monday, 27 January 2014

Craft fair raises £1,900 for Air Ambulance

Photo 1: Air Ambulance volunteers Leslie and Beryl Smith pictured with International Women’s Club secretary Meike Laurenson (centre)

Photo 2: Club member Soudi Shababi pictured at her stall

A Reigate-based group held a Christmas fair of goods from around the world to raise almost £2,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Members of the International Women’s Club displayed their arts, crafts and local produce at the annual fundraising event at Reigate Park Church.

There were stalls including cakes, Christmas decorations and flower arrangements from countries such as Greece, Denmark and Iran.

In total, they raised £1,900 for the Air Ambulance which last month officially launched its night flying service from the nearby helicopter base at Redhill.

Club treasurer Meta Leslie said: “The International Women’s Club is proud to have been associated with the air ambulance and is grateful for all the support for the Christmas fair. We are very pleased to have raised such a large sum.”

The club chose to support the charity following a presentation about the emergency service and handed over their cheque to volunteers Beryl and Leslie Smith. Leslie was flown to the Royal London Hospital following a cycling accident but has since made a full recovery.

The International Women’s Club was founded in 1964 and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The group meets every fortnight at members’ homes and holds a Christmas Craft Fair every November.

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


Instant win for Air Ambulance lottery member

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard


A Whitstable grandmother has been given an early birthday present after winning almost £8,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.


The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, scooped the jackpot in the Superdraw just a week after making her first £8-a-month payment.


She signed up to the fundraising lottery at her local Sainsbury’s only last month and picked lucky numbers 11, 13, 24, and 29 from family birthdays.


In total, she won £7,832 when her numbers came up in last Wednesday’s draw and now plans to splash the cash on a holiday and a new bathroom.


She said: “I couldn’t believe it, I joined the lottery only last month so it’s quite amazing really. In a million years I didn’t think I would win anything, I thought I would just support the charity and I forgot all about it.


“I’m still quite shocked really so I’ve not really thought about celebrating but it’s my birthday this week so this is a lovely present.”

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. To join the lottery go to or call 01622 833833.


Bubble Wrap – a vital life-saving piece of equipment

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust are celebrating Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day because it helps us save lives.

Our Helicopter Emergency Medical Service attends 4-6 missions every day and a sheet of bubble wrap is taken with our crews as part of our strategy for reducing blood loss.

Air Ambulance Director of Income Generation, Lynne Mitchell said: "It has been discovered that traumatised patients, even in very hot environments, lose their body heat rapidly.

"When this happens blood clotting takes longer and Bubble Wrap provides the most effective means of preserving body heat. It can therefore make the difference between bleeding to death and survival."

Each sheet of bubble wrap costs just £1, help save a life today, text HEMS to 70300 to donate £1.

"Spirit 95" Radio, the FM radio station in Bloomington, IN started Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day in 2001, held its first annual Bubblympiad with events such as a Bubble Wrap® popping relay, Pop-a-Mole (similar to a well-known carnival game), and sculpture and fashion design contests. For more information visit:


Text Donate Terms & Conditions

Texting HEMS to 70300 will cost a one off donation of £1.00 plus your standard network messaging rate to the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

For every donation received the Kent/Surrey/Sussex Air Ambulance will receive 100% of your donation.

Texts sent to this number will result in a single donation being made. Always seek bill payer's permission.

If you have any questions relating to this service, please contract our specialist charity service provider, VIR2 Ltd ( or text VIR2 to 84424 or email or telephone 08450 947958

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust Registered Charity Number 1021367.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Lottery winner's flying start to 2014

A Tonbridge woman has won almost £4,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, scooped the jackpot when her lucky numbers 7, 16, 24 and 30 came up in the mid-week Superdraw.

She won a total of £3,906 just six months after joining the fundraising lottery when a canvasser called at her home.

She said: “I’ve never won anything in my life and I’m now 76 so it’s very welcome. I couldn’t believe it and it still hasn’t sunk in.

“I watch TV programmes about the air ambulance and I think they do a wonderful job. It’s worth signing up to their lottery because every week you have a chance of winning.”

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. To join the lottery go to or call 01622 833833.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Panto stars bring home the beans

Photo: The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk

An all-star cast from Jack and the Beanstalk took time out of their busy schedule to present a cheque for £4,000 to Kent Air Ambulance at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury on Wednesday.

Barretts of Kent, one of the county’s leading motor dealerships, took over the theatre for a special one-night performance in December to raise funds for life-saving charity.

Colleagues and customers of the motor group filled the theatre to watch an all-star cast performing one of the most popular family pantomimes led by EastEnders actress Samantha Womack and children’s favourite Phil Gallagher.

Paul Barrett, Managing Director of the group, said: “It’s the first time we have held an event such as this and, in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, we wanted to be able to give something back. We decided to raise funds for three local charities and are delighted that we have been able to raise so much for them.”

In addition to the Air Ambulance, Pilgrims Hospices and Porchlight also received £4,000 each.

A week before Christmas, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance officially launched a round-the-clock service, making it the first air ambulance in the country to operate a 24-hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).

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

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Air Ambulance doctor awarded MBE

Photo: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Medical Director Dr Malcolm Russell pictured at the launch of the night flying service last month.

A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor has been awarded an MBE for services to emergency medicine in the New Year Honours Lists.

Dr Malcolm Russell joined the life-saving charity as Clinical Lead in 2007 when the Surrey and Sussex helicopter was first launched.

Last year, he was appointed as the charity’s Medical Director responsible for assuring the quality of care provided by its doctors and paramedics.

He said: “I feel very humbled to have been awarded an MBE when I work with so many other well-deserving individuals who are so dedicated to looking after our patients. For me, this represents collective appreciation for the work we all do as a team. 

“I am very proud of the work I do with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust and feel honoured to work with so many amazing people from the senior management all the way through to the committed fundraisers who allow us to do the work we love doing.”

Dr Russell served in the British Army for 15 years and has been involved in pre-hospital emergency medicine since 1996.

In 2011, he was part of a 50-strong UK International Search and Rescue Team who helped victims of the New Zealand earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The married father-of-two is to be invited to Buckingham Palace later this year when he will be formally invested by a member of the Royal Family as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Make it a marathon effort for Air Ambulance

Night-flying Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is appealing for runners to sign up for this year’s Brighton Marathon and help save lives 24 hours a day.

The life-saving charity officially launched its night flying service last month (December 18th) and now needs an extra £1million-a-year to keep both helicopters flying.

The air ambulance still has charity places available for runners who can commit to raising a minimum of £500.

Among this year’s entrants is Kings Hill Properties owner Tony Petty and his colleague Neil Johnson, from Kent, who are aiming to raise a total of £10,000.

Tony said: “I’m 54 and this will be my first marathon. I’m doing it to get fit and to raise money for a worthy cause. 

“For every property that we sell, £250 will go towards my fundraising and I’ve just started training. In 10 days I’m up to six miles so I’ve got another 20 to go which is an awful long way.”

All Air Ambulance entrants will be given an opportunity to visit the helicopter base and meet the pilot, doctor and paramedic - subject to emergency call-outs

They will also receive a fundraising pack including sponsor forms, support and advice from the charity’s fundraising team, a training guide and an Air Ambulance running vest.

Anyone interested in running the marathon on April 6th should call Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland on 01622 833823 or email 

For more information visit

Monday, 6 January 2014

Equestrian accident study published in leading European journal

A study into equestrian accidents by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has been published in The European Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Dr Richard Lyon and Paramedic Ben Macauley carried out a survey of horse riding accidents attended by the charity’s helicopters during a one-year period.
The figures show that from July 1st, 2011, to July 1st, 2012, there were 47 incidents attended by the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) – about three per cent of its total annual call-outs.
In 15 cases (36 per cent), the patient was airlifted to hospital and in four cases the rider was anaesthetised at scene - an advanced medical procedure usually performed only in hospital.
Dr Lyon said: “Equestrian accidents represent a significant proportion of HEMS missions. The majority of patients….do not require HEMS intervention. However, a small proportion have life-threatening injuries, requiring immediate critical intervention.
“Reports of the horse landing on the patient, lack of a riding helmet and the rider landing on their head were associated with the highest rates of direct transport to a major trauma centre.
“Accurate HEMS tasking is important to ensure appropriate use of this valuable medical resource. We sought to review the HEMS response to equestrian accidents and identify factors associated with the need for HEMS intervention or transport of the patient to a major trauma centre.”
A total of 12 patients had suffered a loss of consciousness, eight were noted to be confused during the 999 call while one suffered a seizure.
When asked about their fall, 13 patients were found to have fallen on a hard landing, six had the horse land on top of them and three landed on their head.
The majority of patients were female (71 per cent) aged from six to 72 with the majority of the call-outs in autumn and winter.
According to a survey by the British Equestrian Trade Association, a total of 3.5million people ride a horse each year.
Dr Lyon added: “While recent data has emerged suggesting that the rate of injury is relatively low in the context of the millions of participants involved in the sport, the rate of severe injury is much higher than that of other high risk sports such as American football, motorcycle and automobile racing.”
* If you would like to make a donation to Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance go to or call 01622 833833.

Lions on track to help keep Air Ambulance flying at night

Photo 1: Members of Tonbridge Lions Club pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Marden

Photo 2: Tonbridge Lions President Keith Bourne

Night-flying Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is appealing for runners, swimmers and cyclists to sign up for this year’s Tonbridge Lions Triathlon and help save lives 24 hours a day.

Lions Clubs across the South East have pledged to raise £250,000 for the Marden-based charity over the next 10 years.

The funds will be a significant contribution towards the additional £1million-a-year needed to provide a 24-hour service which was launched last month (December 18th).

The triathlon is to be held on May 5th at Tonbridge School’s sports complex which was used by the Australian Olympic team as a training base for the London 2012 games.

Competitors can choose a sprint consisting of a 400-metre swim, 25km ride and 5km run or the standard route which is double the distance.

Triathlon chairman Tom Simmons said: “This is the second year the Tonbridge Lions Club has arranged for the Tonbridge Triathlon to be linked up with Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

“We once again welcome the opportunity to be able to offer the means for the general public to take part in the triathlon and also raise funds for this much-loved and vital charity.

“The Air Ambulance needs approximately £6m each year to maintain their service in the counties and provide 24- hour cover. The pilots, doctors and paramedics are extremely dedicated to their task and deserve all our 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 and organisers are aiming to raise a total of £13,000 from this year’s event.

There are 500 places available with an entry fee of £46 for the standard distance, £42 for teams of three and £39 for the sprint. To book a place go to or call 07549 949615.

Lottery winner's flying start to 2014

A Lewes father’s New Year celebrations got off to a flying start when he won more than £11,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, scooped the jackpot when his lucky numbers 2, 17, 25 and 36 came up in the Superdraw last Thursday.

He won a total of £11,617 which he now plans to spend on a loft conversion and presents for his three children.

He said: “I was totally stunned and it still hasn’t really sunk in properly. I think I won about £50 on the National Lottery once but that’s about it.

“My wife and I are going to go out to celebrate with a bottle of fizz and we’ve told each of our children they can now have a special treat so they’re now thinking about what that might be.

“I’ve read stories about the Air Ambulance saving peoples’ lives and it’s really compelling. It’s a shame that individuals have to club together to pay for the service and I’d be happy to pay for it through my taxes.

“But in the absence of doing that I think it’s really important for people to make that commitment if they have the means to.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s Regular Lottery costs just £1 per week and there are 12 winners drawn each week and 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. To join the lottery go to  or call 01622 833833.