Wednesday, 30 April 2014

White & Sons in 10k run for Air Ambulance

Photo: L-R, Mike Smith, Sarah Lee, Air Ambulance Paramedic Richard Crabb, Ellie Hutchinson and Rob Frayling pictured at the Redhill helicopter base

A group of estate agents will be swapping their For Sale boards for running shoes as they take on this weekend’s Leatherhead Rotary Bluebell 10k, for Surrey Air Ambulance.

White & Sons negotiators Sarah Lee, Ellie Hutchinson, Rob Frayling and Mike Smith were inspired to raise funds for the life-saving charity after visiting the helicopter base at Redhill.

They will be joined by colleagues Andrew Farrant, Tom Witchell, Simon Watkins and Stephen Cullens, and friends of the firm Jerry Webb, Matt Kirsch, Martin Corby and Stephen Farrant.

This Sunday’s TWM Solicitors-sponsored 10k is a two-lap circuit of Headley Heath and it is the sixth successive year that the event has been held.

Sarah said: “The training has been going really well and we’re all looking forward to doing it for a great cause. It was fantastic to meet the Air Ambulance crew and really informative.”

In 2011, White & Sons Partner Simon Watkins raised £2,448 for the Air Ambulance after running the New York Marathon.

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum raised was enough to fund one potentially life-saving mission.

Reigate, Horley and Dorking-based White & Sons are sponsors of the charity’s biennial Air Aid Ball which last year raised more than £60,000.

* To sponsor them in the Leatherhead 10k, go to www.justgiving.com/WhiteandSons where they have so far raised £770.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Lottery winner thanks her lucky stars

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

A Godalming woman is celebrating after winning more than £4,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

Ann Vickery signed up to the fundraising Superdraw after a canvasser called at her home four years ago when the helicopter was based at Dunsfold.

And the mother-of-four was stunned when her £8-a-month subscription paid off and her lucky numbers 6, 12, 17 and 21 came up in last Wednesday’s draw.

In total, she won a grand total of £4,219.02 which she now plans to spend on a new greenhouse and treats for her family.

She said: “I was so shocked I couldn’t believe it when the lady at the Air Ambulance called to tell me I’d won. I’m really chuffed.

“I’d just won a raffle at the WI and I said to my daughter I was going to win the lottery, then I did. The most I’ve ever won before was £60 on the National Lottery.

“I don’t drive but my family do and I just think that when you hear about all these accidents that the air ambulance is called to, we should thank our lucky stars that it’s there.”

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 www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Lottery/join_lottery or call 01622 833833.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride

Photo: Fidelity Worldwide Investment Technical Assistant Manager (Client Services) Ian Smith, Corporate Citizenship Manager Vicki Haxton and Air Ambulance Corporate & Events Assistant Julie Clare pictured at the launch of the 2014 Double 100 Cycle Challenge

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is appealing for cyclists to sign up for this year’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge and help save lives at night.

The 100-mile or 100km bike ride is to be held on Sunday, September 28th, to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the night flying service.

Last year’s annual event raised more than £12,000 and organisers are aiming to double its success this year with two starting points at the helicopter bases at Marden and Redhill.

Both new circular routes will include all counties covered by the Air Ambulance and this year’s Double 100 has kindly been backed by main sponsor Fidelity Worldwide Investment.

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.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance launched its night flying service last September in a move expected to benefit a further 400 to 500 patients a year.

The charity now has to raise an extra £1million a year to fund the cost of a 24-hour service, up from £5million to £6million.

The 2014 Double 100 has also been sponsored by Howard Cundey Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents, and supported by 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. The first 200 riders to sign up will receive a special Air Ambulance jersey.

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

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Survivor reunited with life-saver

Photo: Air Ambulance doctor Steph Tilston, Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, Trevor McBean, his fiancée and children

A tree surgeon who survived a 40ft fall from a cherry picker has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor who went to his aid, as he vowed to raise funds for the charity.

Father-of-two Trevor McBean, from Staplehurst, was monitoring power lines on the A21 at Lamberhurst when the elevated platform he was working on tipped over.

The 38-year-old subcontractor was sent crashing through a clump of trees which luckily broke his fall but he still suffered a fractured skull and broken wrist.

Trevor was taken to a specialist London hospital where he remained for two weeks and has since made a good recovery. He is now planning a tandem skydive to raise funds for the charity helicopter.

He said: “We set up the cherry picker on even ground and had all the stabilizers down but one of them was at an angle to the others.

“When I swung round to work, it un-balanced all the legs and I slipped off. I was working with three other guys and two of them were on the ground.

“The guy that was working with me was about 50 yards away and he saw it happen but there was nothing he could do. I came down and went through a clump of trees which broke my fall.”

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) were first on scene to treat Mr McBean before the Air Ambulance arrived.

Clinical Team Leader Laurence Sopp, Emergency Care Support Worker Alexander Harley and Ambulance Technician Timothy Greagsby were later joined by SECAmb’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).

The Air Ambulance’s doctor, Steph Tilston, helped sedate Trevor at the scene before taking him to King’s College Hospital in London where scans showed he had potentially fatal bleeding on the brain.

He remained in hospital for three weeks before he was finally allowed back home where he lives with his fiancé and two children.

The family recently visited the nearby helicopter base at Marden to meet Dr Tilston for the first time since his accident as Trevor prepares for his skydive on May 30th – his 39th birthday.

He added: “I’m quite excited about it but I’ll probably be more nervous when I get on the plane on the way up.”

* If you would like to sponsor Trevor go to www.justgiving.com/Trevor-McBean/  where he has so far raised £235.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Diamond anniversary couple celebrate lottery win

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

A Broadstairs couple are celebrating after winning more than £4,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

Eric and Norma Ford are planning to spend their winnings on their 60th wedding anniversary celebrations later this year after scooping the jackpot in the Superdraw.

Retired librarian Mrs Ford, 81, signed up to the fundraising lottery when a canvasser called at the couple’s Kingsgate home.

And they were stunned when their £8-a-month subscription paid off and their lucky numbers came up in last Wednesday’s draw, landing them a grand total of £4,148.46.

Mrs Ford said: “It’s un-believable and incredible, I mean I certainly never expected to win, we just treated it as a donation.

“It’s our 60th wedding anniversary in July so our winnings will go towards that. We’re also going on a river cruise along the Danube so we look forward to buying a few gin and tonics.

“We’ve won very little on Premium Bonds and we do play the National Lottery but not with a lot of success so this is the biggest win we’ve 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. To join the lottery go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Lottery/join_lottery or call 01622 833833.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Howard Cundey: selling houses, saving lives

Photos: Cake stalls at Howard Cundey’s Tunbridge Wells and Lingfield offices         

It was the icing on the cake for a chain of estate agents and chartered surveyors when they raised £2,500 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance from a cake and coffee morning.

Staff at Howard Cundey held the dough-raising event last Wednesday (March 26th) at their offices in Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Biggin Hill, Bletchingley, Lingfield, East Grinstead, Edenbridge, Oxted, Forest Row and Reigate.

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

Howard Cundey Senior Partner Tim Foulkes said: “This is the second year we have held a cake and coffee morning for the Air Ambulance after again choosing them as our Charity of the Year.

“The event was well supported by the community including other local other businesses and we’re absolutely delighted to have raised hundreds and thousands from the cake and coffee morning.”

Staff at Howard Cundey are now preparing to jump out of an aeroplane 12,000ft in a tandem skydive at Headcorn Airfield on April 26th.

The firm is also sponsoring the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge - a 100-mile or 100km bike ride which starts and finishes at the helicopter bases on September 28th.

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

 

Ryan's mudbath challenge for helicopter life-savers

Photo: Ryan pictured at The Major Series on Sunday

A mountain biker airlifted to hospital by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance completed a gruelling Army obstacle race in aid of the life-saving charity at the weekend.

Ryan Payne, 20, from Snodland, suffered serious chest and abdominal injuries after he landed on a tree stump when a jump went wrong at an off-road cycling track at Penshurst.

He was treated at the scene by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic before being flown to a London major trauma centre but has since made an almost full recovery.

On Sunday (March 30th), he ran a 10km assault course at Eridge Park including deep stench trenches, balance beams, blockade walls, wobbly bridges and a freezing ice crawl.

Set in 3,000 acres of hills, lakes, open parkland and mud, The Major Series was designed by British Armed Forces personnel and Ryan was 344th out of 1,676 runners, crossing the finish line in 1hr, 37mins.

He said: “The main reason why I wanted to do it was because I was airlifted. That was my incentive to raise money for the Air Ambulance. It was very muddy and a lot of hard work.

“There was one point where I was in a pit up to my chest in boggy mud but despite that it was great fun and I had a massive smile on my face.”

Following Ryan’s accident last May, paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) were first on scene and called in the Air Ambulance due to the severity of his injuries.

The helicopter’s doctor, Mamoun Abu-Habsa, and Paramedic Lewis Price gave him strong pain relief at the scene before flying him to King’s College Hospital in just 12 minutes.

Scans at the hospital showed he had a lacerated liver and broke two bones in his spine. He has since lost the use of one kidney and also suffered nerve damage to his right leg.

His mother Karen said: “If it wasn’t for the excellent care and quick thinking of the medical staff on the helicopter it could have been even worse.”

Ryan spent a month in hospital before he was finally allowed back home. He has so far raised almost £200 for the Air Ambulance from Sunday’s run and is now planning a 60-mile bike ride later this year.

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

James Villas check in with Air Ambulance donation

Photos: Staff at James Villas Holidays pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Marden earlier this month

Staff at James Villas Holidays checked into Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s helicopter base with a £5,000 donation for the life-saving charity.

They raised the funds from a number of events including fancy dress themed days and by swapping their sunny brochures for a mudbath as they completed a gruelling Army obstacle course.

A group of employees recently visited the Air Ambulance headquarters at Marden to present their cheque to the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

The firm, based in Aylesford and Bluewater, has again chosen the Air Ambulance as their Charity of the Year in 2014 and are now planning a fundraising football match.

Customer Relations Executive Shelley Kingsnorth said: “Everyone at James Villas believes in the work the Air Ambulance does and following the visit to the base, we are delighted to support them again.

“It really opened my eyes as it did for the others and we have been touched by the charity. We all seem to know someone whose life has been affected by the Air Ambulance.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance launched its night flying service last year in a move expected to benefit a further 400-500 patients a year. This means the charity now has to raise an extra £1million a year, up from £5million to £6million.

Air Ambulance Corporate & Events Assistant Julie Clare said: “As a charity, we rely almost entirely on public donations so we are enormously grateful to James Villas Holidays for their support.

“We have attended more than 500 call-outs so far this year and each flying mission costs about £2,500 so this fantastic donation will help potentially save two lives.”

Runners on the rampage for Air Ambulance

Photo 1:  A chair jump on the Rampage Run

Runners are being urged to get out of the starting blocks and sign up for the first-ever Reigate Rampage next month (April 6th).

The inaugural run is to be held at Littleton Manor Farm equestrian centre off Flanchard Road and funds raised will go to four local charities including the Redhill-based Surrey Air Ambulance.

The 5km obstacle and adventure run is open to 200 entrants and 150 have signed up so far.

Organiser Jon Rayner told them: “Surrounded by beautiful Surrey countryside, you will set off on leg-sapping sandy gallops before tackling obstacles designed to challenge your speed, strength and balance.

“With your fellow competitors you will run, jump, duck, climb and crawl through many obstacles including stream crossings and rope climbs.”

A donation from each entry fee of £30 will be made to one of the four nominated charities – the Air Ambulance, Old Reigatian Rugby Football Club, Spinal Research and The Patrick Evans Foundation.

Runners can raise further funds for their chosen charity through sponsorship and two more runs planned later this year.

To register go to www.reigaterampagerun.co.uk where Air Ambulance runners can get a £5 discount by entering the voucher code GIVEME5. For more information email info@reigaterampagerun.co.uk or michellew@kssairambulance.org.uk

Photo 2: The balance beam

 

Member of Parliament visits Air Ambulance base

Photo: L-R MP Henry Smith pictured with Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Dan Kitteridge, at the helicopter base at Redhill       

The Member of Parliament for Crawley, Henry Smith, took time out of his busy schedule to visit the base of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Henry spoke to the crew and Chief Executive Adrian Bell to find out how the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operates and how delivering advanced pre-hospital care to the scene of a medical emergency can make a real difference.

The air ambulance’s doctor and paramedic at the charity’s Redhill base were able to tell Henry about the how their early interventions at the scene not only save lives but can make a significant difference to the outcome of patients.

Henry Smith said: “Sussex Air Ambulance has a proud record of saving lives in Crawley, the county and wider area. Launching the night helicopter emergency medical service will be a significant enhancement and deserves our support.”

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is the only air ambulance charity in the country to provide a 24 hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service responding to between 1-2 calls a night and an average of 4-6 calls during the day. The charity is an independent healthcare provider and it costs about £6 million a year to fund the service which relies almost entirely on donations.

Adrian Bell, Chief Executive of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Henry to the base and we look forward to working with him in the future.”

Air Ambulance statement on Budget

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, pictured today (Thursday) re-fuelling the helicopter at its base

Following the Chancellor’s announcement in yesterday’s Budget, here is a statement from Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell.

He said: “The charity currently spends about £180,000 on aviation fuel per year, of which five per cent is VAT, therefore our total VAT bill is about £8,000 a year.

“I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement on VAT but note that it is a five-year grant of £65,000 per year for all Air Ambulance charities throughout the UK. I am therefore unclear as to whether we will get back our full VAT fuel bill each year.

“I am more interested in his decision to provide a new helicopter for London Air Ambulance out of the LIBOR fines fund because if this opens up access for us to that fund then I welcome it because we have some substantial capital expenditure projects as a result of our investment in night flying.

“If it doesn’t open up access to this fund for us then I find the Chancellor’s announcement perverse.”

More than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for Air Ambulances in the UK to be exempt from paying VAT on their aviation fuel.

It takes more than 560 litres to refill each of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s two helicopters which burn 255 litres every hour when airborne.

On average, the helicopters use 500 litres to fly to an emergency and airlift an injured patient to a trauma centre in London.

Doctor helps saves lives by running marathon

Photo: Dr Bhanderi pictured second from right at the Air Ambulance base

A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor is to run next month’s Brighton Marathon to raise funds for the life-saving charity.

Neel Bhanderi, 33, will be swapping his stethoscope for running shoes as he aims to complete his first-ever 26-mile run.

The father-of-one has previously completed the Shaftesbury half marathon in Dorset and has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Neel has been pounding the streets four times a week in training in between 12-hour shifts at the helicopter base at Marden.

He said: “I’m not a long distance runner so I thought I would challenge myself to a half marathon a couple of years ago.

“Last year I didn’t do any marathons because of exams and I’ve just finished my air ambulance training this year so I’ve set myself the challenge of doing a full marathon.

“I’m not really looking to run it in a fast time, I just want to finish it, but it will be great if I can do it in four hours.

“I’ve been training for the last six months and I’m up to about 21 miles now. I’m really looking forward to it and it will be a big achievement if I complete it.”

Neel joined the Air Ambulance last year on a one-year secondment and has previously worked at a number of hospital emergency departments.

Lewes Rotarians support Air Ambulance

Photo: Air Ambulance paramedic Adam Ormrod

Members of the Rotary Club of Lewes have raised enough funds for life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance to kit out one of their medics.

The £563 donation by the club could pay for a new doctor or paramedic’s fire-retardant overalls, underclothing, protective boots and day-glow jacket.

Clinical Manager Richard de Coverly said: “Each time we have a new crew member, the charity has an obligation to kit them with suitable, protective clothing.

“Our doctors are usually with us for about six months and occasionally on a one-year secondment. Our paramedics’ average tour of duty is three years and we have an intake of new crew members throughout the year.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has a team of 14 paramedics and eight doctors who now provide a 24-hour service and Rotary Club of Lewes decided to support the charity following a presentation about its life-saving work at the White Hart Hotel.

Community Service Chairman Brian McCarthy said: “Following the talk given by a representative of the Air Ambulance, the members thought it was their duty to make a substantial donation.

“At a recent club business meeting it was unanimously agreed to show the members support by offering to provide the kit for one of the on-board medics.”

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