Thursday, 26 June 2014

Surgeons set off on bike ride for Air Ambulance

Photo: The KSS Wheelers pictured this morning at the start of their bike ride from East Grinstead to Edinburgh

A group of surgeons set off this morning (Thursday) on a 520-mile charity bike ride to their annual conference in Scotland, in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The team of 12 cyclists started their epic ride at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead in a bid to raise £10,000 for the life-saving helicopter which relies almost entirely on donations.

They aim to complete the trip in six days before joining 500 delegates at the three-day British Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons conference in Edinburgh.

The KSS Wheelers are mostly maxillofacial surgeons based at the Queen Victoria and the Royal Surrey County Hospital at Guildford, led by consultant Jeremy Collyer.

Speaking today, Jeremy said: “There’s nothing like working in a hospital to realise how important the work of the air ambulance is, and the trauma care it provides.

“Today is the start of a big day for us, I’m feeling pretty good about the ride but it’s how we feel at the finish that is really going to count.”

Jeremy has been joined on the ride by Paul and Karen Johnson, Ken Sneddon, Paul Norris, Matt Willcocks, Murray Pratt, Ben Gurney, James Sloane, Helen Newman, Nick Leakey and Nikkie Garnham.

Nikkie’s brother-in-law was flown to hospital by the Air Ambulance following a road traffic collision in 2008 and her father Alec is a volunteer for the charity which needs £6million a year to keep both helicopters flying.

Nikkie, a sales consultant at a medical device company, said: “I’m a little anxious at the moment but really excited.

“I’ve done a lot of training and I just hope it all comes together for the next six days. I’m going to have to stand at a stand for three days when I get there so it’s going to be difficult.

“The training has been relentless and every spare moment has been spent on the bike at weekends, pretty much back to back.

“The air ambulance is a cause very close to my heart for personal reasons. My brother-in-law was saved by the air ambulance and if it wasn’t for them, he would not be here today.”

The KSS Wheelers have so far raised £3,709 of their £10,000 target, and can be sponsored at

www.justgiving.com/qvh-edinburgh

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Local Freemasons save lives with donation for Air Ambulance

Photo: L-R, Roland Stokes, Charity Steward of the West Kent Lodge of Charity pictured with Air Ambulance doctor Kevin Fong, Philip May, Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Province of West Kent and Paramedic Lewis Price, at the helicopter base at Marden

Freemasons from the Province of West Kent this week (Monday) presented Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance with a donation of £4,000 from their national charity, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity.

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has been a regular supporter of air ambulance charities in recent years, donating more than £1.5million in total to 22 emergency services since 2007.

Every air ambulance charity in England and Wales has received funding and throughout this year Freemasons around the country will be presenting their regional Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) with donations totalling £192,000.

Air Ambulances rely on voluntary donations to operate and support from grant-makers such as The Freemasons’ Grand Charity means that the pilots, doctors and paramedics can continue to save lives.

Speaking about the donation, Roland Stokes, Charity Steward of the West Kent Lodge of Charity, said: “We are delighted to be able to show our support for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance once again.

“Charitable giving is central to Freemasonry and West Kent Province Freemasons are especially happy to support organisations that help save lives and provide support to people in emergency situations. The Freemasons’ Grand Charity works on behalf of all Freemasons in England and Wales, donating millions to worthy causes every year.”

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

A night of midsummer music and song

Photo: The Christchurch Singers pictured at their Music for a Midsummer’s Eve concert on Saturday

A concert by The Christchurch Singers on Saturday (June 21st) raised £770 for life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The 35-strong choir performed their Music for a Midsummer’s Eve at Christchurch Methodist Church as part of the Bexhill Festival of Music.

An audience of 200 attended the free two-hour concert which included guest artists Gerald Witts playing the organ and linking with Andy Gill and Mette Fisher on trumpets, and Roland Friday on keyboard.

The choir, which represents eight churches, was once again led by conductor Pat Reigh who was joined by accompanist Mavis Foskett and Master of Ceremonies Barry Tunwell.

A representative from Sussex Air Ambulance also gave a brief presentation about the work of the charity helicopter which relies almost entirely on public donations.

The Christchurch Singers secretary Chris Cox said: “The air ambulance is a worthy cause that has touched some members of the choir.

“We were delighted with how well the concert went and how much the audience and choir thoroughly enjoyed the evening.”

Monday, 23 June 2014

Charity drive for Air Ambulance

Photo: Samantha Hill pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Marden

A motoring enthusiast is spearheading a fourth charity car drive and fun day in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Samantha Hill has taken over from friends Richard Grant and James Firth in organising the annual road trip to raise funds for the charity helicopter.

This year’s drive is to be held on Sunday, August 24th, from Shoreham Airport to Tulley’s Farm in Crawley with a registration fee of £5 for cars and £2.50 for motorbikes.

Sky TV motorsport presenter Gemma Scott will be joining the drive to Tulley’s where there will be a fun day including emergency service displays, craft stalls and a hog roast.

There will also be a bouncy castle, face painting and a special visit from the Star Wars Stormtroopers and Air Ambulance mascot Dr Dudley.

Samantha said: “This year, we want to make the event bigger than before. The day isn’t just for the car lover and will be a fun day out for a great life-saving cause.”

In 2010, Richard and James launched their fundraising drive for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance with a whistlestop tour of other Air Ambulance bases around the UK.

Since then, the drive has been held from Shoreham Airport to the Lavender Line and from The Cock Inn at Isfield to the Spa Valley in Eridge, Kent.

To sponsor this year’s drive go to http://www.justgiving.com/KSSAA-2014 or text KSSA70. For more information search for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Charity Drive on Facebook.

To book a craft stall at Tulley’s, text Samantha on 07402 391991 or email Samantha-l-hill@hotmail.co.uk

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride

Photos: Staff at James Villa Holidays pictured at their Aylesford offices during National Bike Week (June 14th – 22nd)

A team of holiday reps will be swapping their sunny brochures for maps as they gear up for a charity bike ride in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance to mark National Bike Week (June 14th to 22nd) .

Staff at James Villa Holidays in Maidstone and Bluewater will be among the riders taking part in the Double 100 Cycle Challenge on Sunday, September 28th.

The firm has again chosen the air ambulance as their 2014 Charity of the Year and are entering a team of 31 riders for the 100-mile or 100km ride.

Customer Relations Executive Shelley Kingsnorth said: “We are all very excited to take part in this ride because team spirit is really important to us at James Villas and we love a challenge.

“What makes it that much more special to us is that we can help raise money for such a worthwhile cause and potentially help save lives.”

Last year’s Double 100 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 the annual event has this year 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.”

Fidelity security worker Arvis Steins will be among the riders after the air ambulance was called to his daughter following a collision with a car in Redhill last year.

She was taken to the regional major trauma centre at St George’s Hospital in London but has since made a full recovery.

The 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

Monday, 16 June 2014

Survivor reunited with lifesaver

Photo: Dr Wood and Liz James pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Redhill

An East Grinstead mother who broke her neck in a car crash has been reunited with the Sussex Air Ambulance doctor who helped save her life.

School administrator Liz James, 34, was driving back to work after having lunch with her family when she was involved in a head-on collision with a lorry on Wilderwick Road.

She also suffered a badly broken leg and a broken foot and had to be cut free from the wreckage of her car after being trapped for more than an hour.

The helicopter’s doctor and paramedic gave Liz emergency treatment at the road-side before flying her to a major trauma centre.

The mother-of-two has since made a good recovery following the accident in November and recently visited the Air Ambulance base at Redhill to meet Dr Simon Wood for the first time since her accident.

She said: “I was conscious throughout and I just felt so lucky to be alive. I remember thinking that I needed to get back to school and help organise the re-sitting of the GCSE exams but when they got me out of the car I passed out.”

Land paramedics were first on scene before calling in the Air Ambulance due to the severity of Liz’s injuries and it took the helicopter just seven minutes to arrive from the nearby base at Redhill before landing in a field next to the scene.

Dr Wood and Paramedic Richard Crabb then gave her advanced sedation and pain relief at the road-side and effectively put her in an induced coma.

This allowed them to apply traction on her broken leg and re-align the bones without causing further distress. They also immobilised her to protect her spine and packaged her in bubble wrap to preserve her body temperature.

Dr Wood said: “I was particularly concerned that the fracture in the leg was cutting off blood flow to the lower parts of her leg – potentially a limb-threatening injury requiring immediate treatment.

“When I saw Liz at Redhill, she was walking with the aid of a stick but she looked so well and cheerful. It was great to have the time to chat with her, fill in some of the gaps and explain the effects of some of our treatment.

“It gives us the rare opportunity to see the long-term value and impact our work has on the patients we treat.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is not just about saving lives but giving patients the best quality of survival and these early medical interventions helped ensure that Liz was later able to walk again.

The pilots, Captain Pete Driver and First Officer Matt Beake, flew Liz to the Royal Sussex County Hospital at Brighton where scans revealed that she had suffered a fracture of the C2 verterbrae.

She then developed pneumonia and spent 10 days in hospital, five of them in intensive care, before she was finally allowed home.

Liz added: “Seven months on, life already feels back to normal and we want to do what we can to support the Air Ambulance. Without other people’s generosity, the air ambulance would not have been able to help me.”

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

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Survivor reunited with lifesavers

Photo: David Allen pictured with Air Ambulance Chief Pilot, Captain Blaine Ashurst at the helicopter base at Marden

A motor enthusiast who was crushed under his vintage Land Rover after it overturned on a country road has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance pilot who helped save his life.

Retired electrician David Allen, 73, was on his way back from a tractor club road run when he swerved up a bank to avoid an oncoming car and lost control at Harvel.

The grandfather-of-seven, from Tonbridge, suffered a potentially fatal broken pelvis and a punctured bladder as he was thrown out of the vehicle and it rolled on top of him.

He spent a total of five weeks in hospital but has since made a good recovery and last week (June 4th) met Chief Pilot, Captain Blaine Ashurst for the first time since his accident.

David presented a cheque for £470 to the air ambulance on behalf of fellow members of The Garden of England Vintage Machinery Club who raised the funds from a charity road run in his name.

He also visited the helicopter base with passers-by Julie Cripps, a senior orthopaedic nurse, and Hayley Ball who managed to lift the 4x4 off David and pull him out before the air ambulance arrived.

He said: “I’m overwhelmed really, this is the only way I could get them all together to thank them for helping me.

“Julie was on crutches at the time, having had an operation just six days earlier to remove tumours from her spine.

“She put them aside to climb under the Land Rover to assess my injuries and when she was helping me, her stitches burst open.

“She returned to hospital the next day where they then found another tumour so in a way we helped save eachother’s lives.”

Following the accident last December, it took the air ambulance just 10 minutes to get to David before land paramedics arrived - a journey that could have taken twice as long by road.

The helicopter’s doctor, Giles Moseley, and paramedic Sloane Philips then carried out treatment at the road-side.

Sloane said: “The air ambulance was first on scene so we were able to start carrying out our advanced treatment straight away. 

“Members of the public had managed to lift the Land Rover off of David so he was clear of the vehicle but he was in a lot of pain and we were concerned about internal bleeding.

“We ensured that David received pain relief and was immobilised and packaged appropriately, which is essential for helping to reduce bleeding and pain.”

David was then taken to the major trauma centre at King’s College Hospital in London where he spent the next three-and-a-half weeks before being transferred to Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

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

Monday, 9 June 2014

Surgeons get on their bikes for Air Ambulance

A group of surgeons are setting off on a 500-mile charity bike ride to their annual conference next month, in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The team of 13 cyclists will set off from Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead on June 26th in a bid to raise £10,000 for the life-saving helicopter.

They aim to complete the trip in six days before joining 400 delegates at the three-day British Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons conference in Edinburgh.

The KSS Wheelers are maxillofacial surgeons based at the Queen Victoria and the Royal Surrey County Hospital at Guildford.

Team leader Jeremy Collyer said: "We are all involved with the care of facial trauma patients in Kent, Surrey and Sussex and passionately support the valuable care that the Air Ambulance provides.

"This is certainly a very novel way of getting to our annual conference and a good reason to go. We decided to support the air ambulance because of its essential part of health care within the Kent, Surrey and Sussex area.”

Jeremy will be joined on the ride by wife Liz, Paul and Karen Johnson, Ken Sneddon, Paul Norris, Matt Willcocks, Murray Pratt, Ben Gurney, James Sloane, Helen Newman, Nick Leakey and Nikkie Garnham.

Nikkie’s brother-in-law was flown to hospital by the Air Ambulance following a road traffic collision in 2008 and her father Alec is a volunteer for the charity which relies almost entirely on donations.

The KSS Wheelers have so far raised £1,865 of their £10,000 target, and can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/qvh-edinburgh

Survivor featured in TV medical documentary

Photo: Max pictured at King’s College Hospital following his accident

An Eastbourne teenager airlifted to hospital by Sussex Air Ambulance after an accident at a skate park is to be featured in Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E next week (June 18th).

Former Willingdon School pupil Max Parks, 16, suffered serious head and facial injuries when he fell 14ft while performing a stunt at Westskates.

Paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) were first on scene before calling in the Air Ambulance due to the severity of Max’s injuries.

Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, landed on the industrial estate before the charity helicopter’s doctor Steph Tilston and critical care paramedic Chris Fudge carried out emergency treatment at the scene.

Dr Tilston said: “When we arrived at the skate park, Chris and I carried out a rapid assessment of Max’s injuries. He had suffered significant facial injuries and fractures which were bleeding heavily.

“He had also sustained a significant head injury and had lost consciousness which was making it very difficult for Max to get air into his lungs.

“In order to protect both his airway and his brain, we performed an emergency anaesthetic. This involved rapidly administering anaesthetic drugs and then placing a tube into in his windpipe, allowing ventilation of his lungs with oxygen.

“We then flew Max to King’s College Hospital, monitoring him all the way, giving medication to try and protect his brain from further swelling and damage.”

Captain Goddard flew Max to the major trauma centre within just 30 minutes – a journey that could have taken an hour-and-a-half by road.

The final episode of the current series of 24 Hours in A&E, called Boys Don’t Cry, shows Max arriving in the resuscitation area where Dr Tilston catalogues his injuries and treatment at scene.

Doctors at King’s needed to ensure that Max was stable before taking him to CT scan as his parents were rushed to the hospital under police escort.

"Head injuries can be so devastating,” said Dr Matt, who treated Max. “I’ve seen people die from falling from their own height.

"You worry about whether or not there’s blood inside the brain or any kind of significant force which could cause a traumatic brain injury."

Three years ago, Max was involved in another scooter accident on Eastbourne seafront which left him fighting for his life. He suffered horrific internal injuries after being impaled by the handlebars and had to be given four pints of blood.

Max was not airlifted then but in February last year the Air Ambulance started carrying blood so that transfusions can be carried out at the scene of an accident and emergency. In the first year alone, the advanced medical procedure was performed nearly 70 times.

24 Hours in A&E used more than 90 cameras to film around the clock at King’s, offering unprecedented access to one of Britain’s busiest accident and emergency departments and the Royal Television Society Award-winning programme is on every Wednesday at 9pm.

King’s College Hospital is recognised internationally for its work in liver disease and transplantation, neurosciences, cardiac, haemato-oncology, stroke and major trauma.

*24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4 on Wednesday (June 18th) at 9pm. If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Tree fall survivor's skydive for Air Ambulance

A tree surgeon who survived a 40ft fall from a cherry picker has jumped out of an aeroplane in a skydive to raise funds for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance that helped saved his life.

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

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

Trevor, from Staplehurst, was taken to a specialist London hospital following the accident in August but has since made a good recovery.

To celebrate his 39th birthday on Friday (May 29th), he and friend Derek Dobie jumped out of an aeroplane at 12,000ft in a skydive at Headcorn Airfield, and raised £1,680 for the charity helicopter.

He said: “Because I have no memory of the fall at work, it gave me the confidence to do the skydive. If I had remembered it, then I might not have done it.”

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

The helicopter’s doctor, Steph Tilston, helped sedate Trevor 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 allowed to return home and in March he was reunited with Dr Tilston for the first time since his accident when he visited the nearby helicopter base at Marden.

Trevor can still be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/Trevor-McBean where donations include £1,000 from Brockwells Forestry where he works.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Tree fall survivor re-united with life-saver

Photo L-R: Jerry Doyle, Dr Will Davies, Paramedic Ben Macauley, Pilot, Captain Roger Sheridan and First Officer Alasdair Auchincloss

A retired civil servant impaled on a fence after falling from a tree has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor who helped save his life.

Father-of-three Jerry Doyle was cutting down branches with a chainsaw at the back of his garden in Cliffe Woods when he slipped and fell 15ft on to the spiked metal railings.

The 62-year-old was stabbed in his back, abdomen, arm and hand by the 8in spikes which amazingly missed his vital organs.

Jerry was flown to a specialist London hospital where he spent two weeks but has now made a full recovery and recently met Air Ambulance doctor Will Davies for the first time since his accident.

He said: “The consultant at the hospital said they wanted to know what my lottery numbers were because I was the luckiest person she had seen in 2013.

“Because of how deep the wounds were, she said that if one of them was another half an inch to the right I would not be here because it would have pierced my heart.”

Jerry, a former director of the Government car service, was clearing an area of land at the back of his garden in View Road when the accident happened last September.

A neighbour he was helping managed to lift him off the fence before paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) arrived.

They assessed and treated Jerry at the scene before the Air Ambulance arrived due to the severity of his injuries.

The helicopter’s doctor and critical care paramedic Charles Leahy then carried out advanced medical procedures usually performed only in hospital.

Jerry said: “I had to rip my hand off the fence to get down which felt pretty nasty but I was conscious throughout. My neighbour was in more of a panic than me, I was reasonably calm.”

Air Ambulance Chief Pilot, Captain Nick Bramley and First Officer Dan Vickers flew Jerry to King’s College Hospital in London in just 13 minutes – a journey that could have taken almost an hour by road.

Scans at the major trauma centre revealed that he had also suffered six fractured ribs but he has now made a full recovery.

The accident happened just a week before the Tothill Fields Masonic Lodge held a charity dinner and dance at The Bromley Court Hotel in Bromley.

As the lodge’s Worshipful Master at the time, the lodge committee decided the funds should go to the Air Ambulance service which relies almost entirely on donations.

They raised a total of £500 from a raffle which Jerry presented to Dr Davies when he met him at the Redhill helicopter base.

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

Teacher wins £25,000 in Air Ambulance lottery

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

A Brighton teacher is celebrating a £25,000 windfall after winning the jackpot in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, signed up to the fundraising Superdraw just two months ago when a canvasser called at her home.

And she was stunned when her £8-a-month subscription paid off and lucky numbers 19, 29, 31 and 36 came up in Wednesday’s draw.

She said: “It’s amazing because I’ve never won anything and there’s so much we can do with that amount of money. We can pay off some credit cards and spend some of it on house improvements.

“We see the Air Ambulance landing in the park around the corner from our house but I never knew it wasn’t funded by the Government. As soon as I found out it was a charity, I decided to support it.”

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.