Thursday, 27 February 2014

Air Ambulance - a cause for celebration

Photo 1: Air Ambulance doctor Neel Bhanderi, Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, Annette, Claude and Robert Harrison, and Paramedic Adam Ormrod

A family from Thanet has raised almost £1,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance from wedding anniversary and birthday celebrations.

Claude and Ethel Harrison celebrated her 80th birthday with a party at their local church hall and guests made donations to the life-saving charity instead of giving presents.

Their son Robert and his wife Annette did the same for their 30th wedding anniversary three years ago after Robert was airlifted by the helicopter in 2000.

Robert suffered burns following a gas explosion at his workplace in Sandwich and was flown to a specialist burns unit but has since made a full recovery.

The family, of Burlington Gardens, have raised a total of £800 for the Air Ambulance and recently visited the helicopter base to present Ethel’s birthday donations to the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

Annette said: “They do an amazing and fantastic job and this just shows the different ways in which people can support the charity.”

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

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Air Ambulance press officer takes the plunge

Photo: Air Ambulance press officer Jamie Cheshire pictured at the helicopter base at Marden

A press officer for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance will be jumping of an aeroplane at 12,000ft in a tandem skydive for the life-saving charity.

Father-of-two Jamie Cheshire, from Polegate, will be celebrating his birthday by taking the plunge at Headcorn Airfield, in April.

The High Street resident will be joining a group of skydivers including staff at Howard Cundey chartered surveyors and estate agents who have again chosen the air ambulance as their Charity of the Year.

They are aiming to raise a total of £3,000 for the helicopter emergency medical service which relies almost entirely on public donations.

Jamie, 35, said: “We recently launched our night flying operation which we estimate will benefit a further 400 to 500 patients a year.

“This means we now have to raise an extra £1million a year, up from £5million to £6million, so fundraising events such as this are even more vital. I also ride a motorbike and I know how many bikers the helicopter is called to.”

Jamie has previously completed the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge – a 100-mile or 100km bike ride which this year takes place on September 28th.

He added: “I never used to have a fear of heights but now just climbing a ladder fills me with fear so I dread to think what a skydive will be like.”

* Jamie has so far raised £240 of his £500 target and can be sponsored at where supporters can also donate by text.

Survivor's wife in charity abseil

Photo 1: Sue Barclay

Photo 2: Nigel Barclay pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Redhill

A Banstead mother is to abseil a 560ft landmark in a bid to raise funds for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance who helped save her husband’s life.

Nigel Barclay, 47, was knocked off his bike by a car just yards from his home and suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull, brain damage, breaks to both legs and a broken pelvis.

The father-of-two had to be given emergency life-saving treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and critical care paramedic before being taken to a London hospital.

He has since made a good recovery following the accident in March, 2012, despite being left with life-changing injuries. His wife Sue is now aiming to raise £2,500 for the charity helicopter by abseiling the Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth, on May 25th.

She said: “If it wasn't for the speed and skills provided by the air ambulance crew my story would be so very different.

“It’s with this in mind that I endeavour to complete this challenge in the hope I can raise money for them to carry on saving lives. As this experience showed me, you never know when you might need them.

“It was a terrible time for me and the girls not knowing what each day would bring. The support we received from family, friends and neighbours helped us through this difficult time.

“Nigel's drive and determination to recover from these horrific injuries has been an inspiration to me and those around us.”

Sue was at home when the accident happened and ran barefoot to the scene after a passer-by dialled the number logged as “home” on Nigel’s mobile phone.

He was taken to the major trauma centre at St George’s Hospital in London where he spent 12 days on life support in intensive care before being moved to a high dependency ward.

Scans showed he had multiple skull fractures, bleeding on the brain, two broken legs, a fractured pelvis in two places and a shattered elbow.

He underwent numerous operations, spent two months in hospital and had to learn to walk again before undergoing extensive rehabilitation, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.

He said: “If it wasn’t for what the Air Ambulance did, I wouldn’t be here today. I had that re-confirmed to me when I went back to St George’s and they said I had defied all odds because they never had me down to make it.”

Each call-out of the Air Ambulance costs about £2,500 and Sue is aiming to raise the same amount to fund one potentially life-saving mission.

She can be sponsored at where family and friends have so far pledged £1,010 and left messages of support.

Neighbours Pete and Mel Robson wrote: “We remember that awful day. Well done for raising money for such a brilliant cause. Good luck.”

Nigel’s story can be found at

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Half price chips at Star of the Sea

A Broadstairs fish and chip shop will be selling chips at half price next week to celebrate National Chip Week and raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

For every portion sold at Star of the Sea in the High Street, 5p will be donated to the life-saving charity helicopter and there will also be a collection tin on the counter.

More than 800 customers have voted for the family-run business in the south east region of the 2014 Choice Chip Awards and the winner will be announced on Monday (February 17th)

Owner Carol Lawrence said: “We just wanted to say thank you to our customers for voting for us and being so positive with their feedback.

“We also wanted to support a worthy cause and help make sure it carries on for years to come.”

The half-price offer at Star of the Sea is available throughout National Chip Week from February 17th to 23rd.

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


Friday, 7 February 2014

Early birthday present for lottery winner

A Worplesdon man is splashing out on a holiday to France after winning almost £8,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

Gerard, a semi-retired finance and legal worker, scooped the jackpot in Wednesday’s Superdraw with lucky numbers 12, 16, 21 and 35.

His windfall of £7,854 came just five months after he signed up to the fundraising lottery when a canvasser called at his home.

He said: “I’m delighted because I’ve held Premium Bonds since they first came out in 1956 and I’ve still not had a win. This is my first win of anything ever.

“By sheer coincidence it’s my birthday on Sunday so that’s probably why it happened, it must be in the stars! My wife chose most of the numbers so I’ll give her a good chunk.

“We’ve already got a holiday planned in France later this year so this will obviously help with the expenditure there. I’m just delighted that the money we are giving is going to a superb cause.”

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.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Emergency blood transfusion service benefits 70 patients

Photo: The Air Ambulance doctor and paramedic performing a blood transfusion in training

Doctors and paramedics at Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance have performed nearly 70 emergency blood transfusions since the service was first launched a year ago today (February 4th).

Figures show that during the last 12 months the advanced medical procedure – usually performed after a patient arrives at hospital - was carried out 69 times at the scene of an accident or medical emergency.

The charity’s research shows that a total of 160 units of blood were administered to patients who had life-threatening injuries with 20-29 year-olds being the largest group of recipients.

Air Ambulance Clinical Manager Gary Wareham, who pioneered the launch of the blood transfusion service, said: “The project has gone very much as we expected and we are now seeing patients delivered to hospital who may not have survived the journey before.

“We are now considering using other blood products that may further improve patient outcomes.”

The figures also show that August was the peak period for blood transfusions, the youngest patient being aged under 10 and the oldest over 90.

In one case, a patient suffered chest, pelvis and spinal injuries following a collision with a car. His airway was partially obstructed and he was agitated.

The doctor and paramedic anaesthetised him at the road-side and performed emergency chest surgery to reinflate his collapsed lungs.

They then administered four units of blood at scene and en route to the Royal London Hospital major trauma centre.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance last year became one of the first in the country to start carrying blood.

Every day, bikers at the Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV) deliver eight fresh units to each of the helicopter bases from the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford and East Surrey Hospital at Redhill.

SERV secretary Mel Johnson said: “The air ambulance has been a pleasure to work with over the last year. The daily replenishment and emergency re-supply services provided by the SERV groups in Kent and Surrey have helped ensure that both helicopters are always fully stocked and ready to respond.

“We are proud to have played our part using equipment funded by The Henry Surtees Foundation to ensure that the people of the three counties have been able to receive the highest standards of critical care available, provided by a triumvirate of charities working together with a common goal.”

The Henry Surtees Foundation also supplied cars for the blood runs in addition to equipment used to store blood at the correct temperature and warm it to give to patients.

John Surtees, OBE, founder of the Foundation, said: “I spent a lifetime in motorsport where every second counts. The same factor plays a vital part in saving life and injury.

“The Henry Surtees Foundation was very happy to work with all the team at the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in assisting with the introduction of the blood transfusion service.”

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

World Cup winner supports Air Ambulance

Photos: World Cup winner Martin Peters

Martin Peters, the England 1966 World Cup hero, will be the star attraction at The Ace Group’s latest fundraising Sporting Dinner for Kent Air Ambulance, in March 2014.

The former England international, who scored in England’s World Cup final victory over Germany, won 67 caps for his country between 1966 and 1974, scoring 20 goals.

He also bagged 220 goals in 882 club games for, amongst others, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Martin’s appearance will help raise funds for the Air Ambulance, The Ace Group’s chosen charity for the event. The occasion will take place on Thursday, 6th March, 2014, at the Roffen Club in Rochester.

The Ace Group's Managing Director, David Henry, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Kent Air Ambulance. They are a fantastic charity and, I think, we all know someone who has benefited from the tremendous work that they do. We are delighted that Martin Peters has agreed to be the guest speaker on the night and we hope that many local businesses and individuals will choose to come and support us."

Kent Air Ambulance is a life-saving charity which recently launched its night flying service in a move which is expected to benefit a further 500 to 600 patients a year.

Director of Communications Jill Playle said; “In order to fund a 24-hour service, we now need to raise an extra £1million a year, up from £5million to £6million, so fundraising events such as this are even more vital and we would like to thank The Ace Group for choosing to support our charity.”

Tickets for a table of 10 at the dinner are priced at £450. Individual tickets are also available, priced at £50. In addition to the entertainment, guests will be treated to a fine four-course dinner.

More details can be obtained from David Henry at The Ace Group on 07831 400479.

Doctor to talk about Medicine on the Edge

Photo: Dr Paul Ransom

An emergency consultant who previously worked for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance will be speaking in Brighton on Wednesday 26th February.

Dr Paul Ransom, who is now working at Brighton & Sussex University Hospital, will be talking about Pre-hospital Air Ambulance Service – Medicine on the Edge at the Audrey Emerton Building as part of the Brighton Science Festival.

He will be talking about some of his experiences during his time with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and some of the more challenging cases that he encountered. Paul will also talk about how the life-saving charity is using the most up-to-date procedures and medicines in the UK and Europe to treat those patients who need time-critical interventions at the scene.

Dr Paul Ransom said: “For those people who are seriously ill or injured, pre-hospital critical care plays a vital part in not only saving lives but also improving the outcome of this group of very sick patients. As one of the doctors with the air ambulance, we delivered this type of care on a daily basis and in my presentation I will share some of these experiences and talk about how the service is developing to benefit more patients.”

The talk starts at 7pm and are free although there are limited spaces. To reserve a place email or call 01273 664936  The Audrey Emerton Building is in Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5BE.

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