Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Survivor's wife in charity abseil for Air Ambulance

Photo: Sue Barclay pictured abseiling the Spinnaker Tower on Sunday

A Banstead mother has abseiled a 560ft landmark to raise more than £3,000 for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance that 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 despite being left with life-changing injuries.

On Sunday, (May 25th), his wife Sue scaled down the Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth in aid of the charity helicopter, watched by a group of more than 20 family and friends.

She said: “It was amazing, it really was, and quite un-believable to get there, look up and think, ‘what have I let myself in for’.

“It was a bit un-nerving stepping over the edge and putting my trust in the harness and ropes but I felt very focused, the reason being the incredible amount of money that people have pledged and knowing what the Air Ambulance did for Nigel.

“He kept saying to me that if I didn’t think I could do it he would but there was no way I wasn’t going to do it. The worst bit was the build-up to it but I didn’t feel as scared as I thought I would and I felt sheer elation to get to the bottom.”

Sue was at home when her husband’s accident happened in March, 2012, 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.

Each call-out of the Air Ambulance costs about £2,500 and Sue set herself a target of raising enough to fund one potentially life-saving mission. She has so far raised £3,030 and can still be sponsored at

Sue added: “There were lots of family and friends there on Sunday which just shows what a journey this has been for Nigel since having his accident.

“We have had great support from so many people and I think that is why we have reached what we have with the donations and everybody has been so generous.”

On Monday (May 26th), the Surrey-based Walk-A-Dog team also abseiled the Spinnaker Tower and raised more than £700 for the Air Ambulance.

Note to Editors: Nigel’s story can be found at

Friday, 23 May 2014

Gala donation for charity

Photo: Air Ambulance Director of Communications Jill Playle and Director of Operations Leigh Curtis

More than 750 people gathered to enjoy a Gala Family Day in warm sunshine on Saturday (17th May) and watch the Provincial Grand Master of the Order of Mark Master Masons of Surrey, R.W.Bro Ray Hussey present cheques totalling £250,000 to two charities.

The event was the culmination of a five-year year mini festival launched by the Provincial Grand Master to raise funds for two worthy charities.

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance was one of the charities that benefited from a £125,000 donation and the cheque was presented to Jill Playle, Director of Communications. The air ambulance service launched a 24-hour Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) at the end of last year, making it the only air ambulance in the country to fly at night.

Adrian Bell, Chief Executive of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, said: “This is an incredible donation and we are really grateful to the Mark Master Masons of Surrey for their wonderful generosity and support. The money is earmarked for a new helicopter which the Charity is looking to get next year to support and improve on-going operations.”

Mark Masters Masons, their families and friends were treated to entertainment and music including an Abba tribute band, modern sea shanty group The Salts Morris dancing, a Birds of Prey demonstration, Punch & Judy, Farnborough Wind Band and trips in a Noddy car, ending with a firework display and rousing choruses of Land of Hope and Glory.

R.W.Bro Ray Hussey, who presented the cheque, said: “We are delighted to support the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and members of the Mark Province will continue to support the Air Ambulance and wish them well for the future.”

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance flies two helicopters from their bases at Redhill in Surrey and Marden in Kent with the night service operating out of Redhill. The charity relies almost entirely on donations to raise the £6million a year needed to fund the service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Marathon runner hits Great Wall for Air Ambulance

A Tunbridge Wells runner has successfully completed the Great Wall of China Marathon in a bid to raise £1,500 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Amanda Paver and a friend battled temperatures of 30 degrees to climb all 5,164 steps of the famous landmark on Saturday (May 17th).

The AXA PPP Healthcare worker finally crossed the finish line in 7hrs,15mins to complete her 15th and most gruelling marathon.

She said: “We were up at 3.50am for the race, the gun went off and so did we. It was finally happening after three years in the planning.

“We ran the first kilometre and a goat herd appeared on the course which was quite amusing, then we walked the next four kilometres to the wall.

“We got off the wall in two hours and were then running through all the villages where there were children giving us flowers and high fives.

“Much to our delight we made it to the cut-off point at 35kilometres where we were allowed to continue, then we were back up the wall.”

She added: “To say the first section was hard would be an understatement, you know it’s tough when you see grown men weeping.

“We came off the wall for the last five kilometres through to the finish to find all the guys from our tour group had waited for us so there were lots of hugs, congratulations and happiness that we had all made it.”

Amanda has to far raised £1,073 of her £1,500 target for the Air Ambulance charity and can still be sponsored at

Officer Cadets help save 20 lives with Air Ambulance donation

Officer Cadets at The Royal Military Academy have raised £50,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after a fellow officer’s life was saved by the charity helicopter.

Oliver Thorn, 25, was on his way to meet friends at the Henley Regatta when his motorbike was in collision with a car on the A25 at at Clandon.

He suffered multiple injuries and had to be given emergency life-saving treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and critical care paramedic.

Following the accident, which left him paralysed, Oliver’s colleagues at Sandhurst rallied round and decided to raise funds for the Air Ambulance.

Each flying mission costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum they have raised will help potentially save a further 20 lives.

Oliver said: “This is absolutely phenomenal news because the Air Ambulance did so much for me. By being able to get to the scene so quickly, treating me at the road-side, and then airlifting me to a major trauma centre, it did actually save my life.

“To see Sandhurst recognise that and support this very worthy charity, it means a lot to me personally.”

Oliver, from Dorking, had just started a 44-week commissioning course at The Royal Military Academy following a gruelling two-year application process, when the accident happened in June, 2012.

Air Ambulance doctor Emma Rowland and Critical Care Paramedic Jon Sanders carried out advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

Pilot, Captain Pete Driver, then flew Oliver to the Royal London Hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a total of 36 broken bones including a broken back.

Every year, the Commandant of The Royal Military Academy chairs a committee which selects a number of charities to benefit from the Academy’s help, allowing officer cadets to gain experience in fundraising.

Last year, they held a number of events including charity balls, open days, raffles and sponsored challenges. The funds raised were shared among the Commandant’s chosen charities including the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations.

Oliver is still undergoing rehabilitation at Headley Court and is a member of the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team.

He has already started training for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea and is also planning to hand-cycle from London to Paris.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Estate agents make lofty deposit for Air Ambulance

Photo 1: Howard Cundey’s team of skydivers at Headcorn Airfield

Photo 2: Mark Donohue

Photo 3: Skydivers Sarah Abbey and Frankie Patry

A team of thrill-seeking estate agents jumped out of an aeroplane at 12,000ft in a sponsored tandem skydive for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance on Saturday (April 26th).

Staff at Howard Cundey Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors took the plunge for their 2014 Charity of the Year at Headcorn Airfield in Kent.

Sales Managers Sharon Watkinson (Forest Row) and Russell Alexander (Tonbridge) were joined in the challenge by Sales Consultants Sarka Donohue (Edenbridge) and Felicity Lawrence (Oxted), and their partners Mark Donohue and Tom Wilkin.

The others were Senior Consultant Sarah Abbey (Tunbridge Wells) and her partner Frankie Patry, Sales Consultant David Sutton (Oxted), and Air Ambulance press officer Jamie Cheshire.

Sharon said: “I’ve never taken part in any extreme sports before but having lost my father last year, I decided that now was the time to take the plunge and when a tandem skydive was suggested to raise funds for the Air Ambulance I did not hesitate to accept.  

“My left foot didn’t stop shaking all the way up in the plane but when it came to the jump, I went to the door and thank goodness my body didn’t freeze as I would not have wanted to have missed such a wonderful, exhilarating, calming and surreal experience.

“The whole experience has been incredible and as with the rest of the team, I took days to emotionally come down to earth again. At times, I still don’t quite believe what I have done but it was all worthwhile to support such an incredible charity.”

Sarah added: “I’m absolutely petrified of flying and I was shaking uncontrollably on the way up. I was the last one out and watching my partner jump out was the most terrifying experience.

“My instructor was a calming influence and managed to get me out of the plane. After the initial jump, it was an absolutely exhilarating experience and the most incredible thing I have ever done and I was buzzing for days afterwards.”

Howard Cundey are aiming to raise a total of £4,000 from the skydive and can still be sponsored at

On Friday, September 19th, the firm is holding a black tie James Bond-themed charity ball at the Devere East Sussex National at Little Horsted.

There will be reception drinks from 6.30pm followed by a three-course meal, casino and auction. To book tickets, call Sue Wright on 01732 770588 or email