Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Highways 101 Club helps save 28 lives

Photo 1: Brian Pettitt pictured (in white shirt, front row) at the Air Ambulance base at Marden

Photo 2, L-R: Brian pictured with former colleague Ian Harrison during the first ever Highways 101 Club draw

A former Kent County Council highways inspector who set up a lottery to raise funds for the air ambulance has reached a £70,000 milestone for the life-saving charity.

Brian Pettitt launched the Highways 101 Club in 1991 after the helicopter emergency medical service was called to a major accident on the M20.

He was involved in clearing wreckage from the crash site and persuaded colleagues to sign up to the weekly draw to support the charity.

With the help of his wife Lesley who does the accounts, the club now has 108 members paying £1 a week for the chance to win cash prizes of £35, £15 and £3.50. 

Each call-out of the helicopter costs about £2,500, so the £70,000 raised from the Highways 101 Club so far is enough to fund 28 potentially life-saving missions.

Brian said: “I initially came up with the idea when I was working for Kent County Council. We were called to assist with an accident on the M20 where a low loader with three diggers on it hit Forstal Road Bridge.

“One of the diggers fell off and blocked the London-bound carriageway and as a result it caused a multiple pile-up involving a coach.

“The air ambulance was called and it must have come back about three times to take patients to hospital. That’s when I thought we needed to support the service.

“I went back to my colleagues and said if I came up with something to raise money, would they be game for it, and they said yes, go for it.”

In 2010, Brian was presented with the Group/Club Fundraiser award at the air ambulance’s 20th anniversary awards dinner at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone.

The 73-year-old, from Aylesford. recently visited the helicopter base with family, friends and former work colleagues to hand over their latest £5,000 instalment from the Highways 101 Club.

He added: “It’s brilliant to have raised £70,000 and the same amount has been paid out in prize money so this is a big thank you to all those who support it and the two people who assist me in collect the money, David Ardley and Ian Chambers.

“One of our members used to be my manager and he moved up north and we lost contact so I took him out of the draw temporarily. He then phoned me up and surprised me, saying he still wanted to support it and that’s how dedicated some of them have been.

“I’m planning to carry on as long as I can and I hope to still be around to get to £101,000.”

Air Ambulance wins research award

Photo: Dr Hudson pictured with the air ambulance’s “Best Research Poster”

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has won an award for its research into the first 10 months of carrying blood on board the helicopters.

Dr Anthony Hudson gave a presentation about the pre-hospital blood transfusion service at the world’s leading aeromedical conference AirMed.

It won “Best Research Poster” and a cash prize of 1,000 euros for the helicopter emergency medical service which relies almost entirely on donations.

Doctors and paramedics at the air ambulance performed 54 emergency blood transfusions in the first 10 months of the service between February and November last year with most patients being males involved in road traffic collisions.

The charity’s research was carried out by Dr Hudson, Dr Richard Lyon, Operational Support Manager Gary Wareham and medical student Steven Isherwood.

It showed that on average blood was given 85 minutes earlier than before the service was launched. Previously, the advanced medical procedure was performed later on in hospital.

Dr Hudson said: “This work is just one example of how the team at the air ambulance are constantly trying to improve and innovate in order to save more lives.

“Our aim is to deliver the best possible care to our patients and also share what we learn at events like AirMed with other Air Ambulance services around the world.”

The research also showed that each patient received an average of 2-3 units of blood and 10 of them were at night following the launch of a 24-hour flying service in September.

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

The Air Med conference is held every three years and was hosted by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance at the Brighton Centre in 2011.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Middlesex lottery winner scoops £9,000 jackpot

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

A prison officer is planning to splash out on the holiday of a lifetime after winning almost £9,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

Mark Millward, 51, from Middlesex, scooped the jackpot in Wednesday’s Superdraw with lucky numbers 1, 8, 19 and 26.

He signed up to the lottery when a canvasser called at his home in June, 2012, and thought nothing more of his £8-a-month subscription.

His biggest win until last week was £83 in the EuroMillions draw so he was shocked when he received a call telling him he had won £8,891.64 in the Superdraw.

Mark, 51, said: “I’ve been a little bit depressed in the last couple of weeks because I had an accident but this has cheered me up no end and I’m over the moon.

“I’ve just come back from New York so this will go towards next year’s holiday which will probably be Canada. I’ll put the rest in Premium Bonds and buy an Xbox One games console.”

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 fundraising lottery go to http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/give/howtojoin or call 01622 833833.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Air Ambulance team run London 10k

Photo 1: L-R, Dr Glinska and Paramedic Sloane Phillips pictured on The Mall

Photo 2: L-R, Gemma Simmons, Terry Simmons and Lauren Elphick

Photo 3: L-R, Martin and Sloane Phillips

A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor who was crippled by back problems completed her road to recovery when she ran the London 10k to raise funds for the life-saving charity.

Hania Glinska, 37, was left unable to walk and needed emergency surgery six years ago after suffering a prolapsed disc. It took a year before she could walk again normally and she eventually started running again two years ago.

And on Sunday (July 13th), she successfully completed only her second 10k run as she pounded the streets of the capital in 1hr,12mins.

She said: “This run was very important to me on many levels and I felt very proud to support a charity with such a good cause, it gave me immense confidence regarding my personal life.

“I thought I would never be able to do all those fun things like hiking, snowboarding and dancing that I had been used to and I wanted to prove to myself that I had recovered enough to enjoy an active life.”

Dr Glinska crossed the finish line with her colleague, Paramedic Sloane Phillips and her husband Martin, from Hastings.

Sloane said: "I had such a great day and the atmosphere and crowds were amazing. Crossing the finish line was fantastic and I was really pleased with my time and overall place which was a personal best. It was a great experience."

The air ambulance team also included Operational Support Manager Gary Wareham, from Chatham, and Collection Box Co-Ordinator Lauren Elphick.

Lauren, from Maidstone, ran the race with partner Terry Simmons and his sister Gemma and crossed the finish line in 1hr,3mins. They raised almost £500 for the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

She said: “The atmosphere was amazing and so many people were cheering us on and keeping us going. I never thought I would be able to run a 10k as I’ve only ever run a 5k before.”

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Lottery winner's lucky number 13

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

An Ifield mother is celebrating after winning more than £13,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, scooped the jackpot in Wednesday’s Superdraw with numbers picked from family birthdays – 1, 6, 13 and 15.

She signed up to the lottery when a canvasser called at her home in May last year and thought nothing more of her £8-a-month subscription.

Her biggest win until last week was £450 on the National Lottery so she was shocked when she received a call telling her she had £13,259 in the Superdraw.

She said: “It’s a wonderful surprise because you support these things, you pay the money every month and you forget about it because you don’t ever expect to be a winner.

“When the lady at the air ambulance called to say I’d won she said I’d need a pen to write down how much.

“I thought, if it’s £200 I don’t need to write it down but when she said £13,259.34, I was shocked. I’m planning to give some of it to my sons and splurge the rest of it on myself.”

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 fundraising lottery go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/Lottery/join_lottery or call 01622 833833

Monday, 14 July 2014

Officer Cadets help to save lives

An Officer Cadet from Sandhurst who was seriously injured in a road traffic accident presented a cheque for £50,000 to medics from the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance on Friday (July 11th).

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 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 The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst rallied round to raise funds for the Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

Oliver and fellow officers Lieutenant Colonel Gavin Jones and Captain Martin Harrison were given a tour of the helicopter base at Redhill Aerodrome as they formally handed over their cheque to the crew.

Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell told them: “Each call-out costs about £2,500 so £50,000 is the equivalent of being able to help 20 patients.

“But then you also have to think about the relatives, family and friends so that £50,000 touches a lot of people who are so grateful for it.”

During his visit, Oliver was able to watch the helicopter as it was called out to a road traffic collision.

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

Air Ambulance Doctor Emma Rowland and Critical Care Paramedic Jon Sanders carried out advanced medical procedures at the scene which are 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, the Academy 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.

Saddle sore surgeons complete charity bike ride

Photo: The KSS Wheelers pictured outside Edinburgh International Conference Centre

A group of surgeons have successfully completed a 522-mile charity bike ride to their annual conference in Scotland, in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The KSS Wheelers spent a total of 45 hours in the saddle as they pedalled all the way from the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead to Edinburgh, in just six days.

Day one saw the dozen-strong team of cyclists tackle the North Downs in Kent before being escorted through the Dartford Tunnel on the back of a Highways Agency pick-up truck.

Team leader Jeremy Collyer said: “Once on the other side, the only way was Essex as we meandered through to the Cambridgeshire town of Saffron Walden.

“After an overnight stop in Saffron Walden we travelled on through Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire to Boston. A lot of this is very flat through the fens, but there were headwinds, thunderstorms and hail.

“After an overnight stop in Boston we set off again through the headwinds to the Humber Bridge which led us into Yorkshire and more rain.

“Day five took us over the Pennines, again into headwinds, stopping briefly for a cup of coffee at Allston before travelling on to Gretna for final overnight stop.

“The last day was arguably the toughest on paper but the good weather smiled upon us and made it easier than the climbing statistics would account for.”

The KSS Wheelers cycled up hills totalling 25,541ft before finally joining 500 delegates at the three-day British Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons conference.

Most of the team are maxillofacial surgeons based at the Queen Victoria and the Royal Surrey County Hospital at Guildford.

Jeremy, from Horsham, was joined on the ride by Paul and Karen Johnson (Guildford), Ken Sneddon (East Grinstead), Paul Norris (Horley), Matt Willcocks (East Grinstead), Murray Pratt (London), Ben Gurney (Esher), James Sloane (Crowborough), Helen Newman (Haywards Heath), Nick Leakey (East Grinstead) and Nikkie Garnham (Great Bookham).

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, said: “After the third day we seemed to be in a routine and although our legs were tired we were encouraged by our support team who looked after us all very well. It was invaluable to have them as I would not have wanted to be carrying all the equipment required. 

“I think the hours of training paid off as I was surprised how well I felt with no real after-effects. I’m really chuffed that I managed to complete the biggest challenge in my lifetime to date.

“I did say that I would be selling my bike once I got back but I have changed my mind on that and I would do it again.”

The KSS Wheelers have so far raised £5,587 of their £10,000 target, and can still be sponsored at


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Paramedic prepares for longest run in London 10k

Photo: Gary Wareham

A Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic will be swapping his stethoscope for a pair of running shoes as he takes on his first-ever London 10k this Sunday (July 13th).

Gary Wareham, from Chatham, will be among a team of 29 runners raising funds for the life-saving charity helicopter which relies almost entirely on donations.

As a former Royal Air Force airman, the father-of-three is particularly looking forward to this year’s historic route to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Gary, 54, will be cheered on by his family, friends and colleagues as he pounds the streets of the capital past the new WW2 Bomber Command Memorial and The Cenotaph.

He said: “I’ve never run this far in my life but I’m happy with the training I’ve done and I feel ready for it. I’ve always done quite a lot of exercise but the most I’ve run before is about three miles.

“I’ve been running about three to four times a week over varying distances and there’s lots of hills where I live which has been good for training.”

Gary will also be joined in the London 10k by colleagues Dr Hania Glinska, Paramedic Sloane Phillips and Collection Box Co-Ordinator Lauren Elphick.

He joined Kent Air Ambulance in 1996 when the helicopter was based at Rochester Airport and has since flown as a Paramedic, Team Leader and Clinical Manager.

Although he still flies occasionally, he is now an Operational Support Manager and was instrumental in the launch of the charity’s blood transfusion service in February, 2013.

Four years ago, Gary trekked to the Everest Base Camp and in 2012, he was among 36 intrepid explorers who climbed Mount Snowdon and raised £13,500 for the air ambulance.

If you would like to sponsor Gary go to www.justgiving.com/Gary-Wareham1 where he has so far raised £154 of his £250 target.

To enter next year’s event call Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland on 01622 833823 or email michellew@kssairambulance.org.uk

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Inner Wheel helps keeps Air Ambulance rotors spinning

Photo: Members of Horsham Inner Wheel pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Redhill.

Members of Horsham Inner Wheel visited the Redhill helicopter base of the Sussex Air Ambulance as they handed over a cheque for £2,200 to the life-saving charity.

The group chose the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) as their Charity of the Year and raised the funds from coffee mornings, a garden party, and a Beetle drive and supper.

Each call-out of the air ambulance costs about £2,500 so the sum raised by Horsham Inner Wheel will help fund one potentially life-saving mission.

On Monday, (July 7th), members visited the base at Redhill Aerodrome to present their cheque to the pilot, doctor and paramedic.

Inner Wheel President Margett McConnell said: “I think what they do is absolutely fantastic and it’s one of those worthwhile organisations that we hope we never have to use.

“As president, I chose the air ambulance because I wanted to raise funds for a local charity that was important to all of us.”

Horsham Inner Wheel was set up in 1947 as part of a worldwide organisation launched in 1924 for wives of Rotarians, but now has an open membership.

The group previously supported Sussex Air Ambulance when it was based at Dunsfold Park near Horsham.

In 2012, the helicopter moved to its current base at Redhill so that the charity could provide a 24-hour service covering all counties.

The other helicopter is based at Marden in Kent and so far this year the crews have attended 1,225 call-outs.

It costs £6million a year to keep both helicopters flying and the service relies almost entirely on public support.

Air Ambulance Director of Communications Jill Playle said: “I was delighted to meet Margett and her fellow members at the base. We are very grateful for their very generous support which really does make a difference to the charity.”

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

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

John Surtees OBE presents £75,000 to local air ambulance charity

Motorsport Legend John Surtees OBE, has presented a £75,000 cheque to local charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, on behalf of the Henry Surtees Foundation. The presentation, which took place at Mercedes-Benz World, Surrey, was made to the Air Ambulance Chief Executive Adrian Bell; the money will be used for ‘High Fidelity Simulators’.

Presented by John Surtees OBE, the £75,000 will be used to fund ‘High Fidelity simulation manikins for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust (KSSAAT). High Fidelity manikins are the very latest in simulation technology, helping the clinical teams to practice their skills, learn new techniques and improve patient safety by creating situations that are as close to ‘real life as possible.

Speaking of the charity, John Surtees OBE, said “With a background in motorsport, I know that every second counts and none more so than for the Air Ambulance Services; I am honoured to present the cheque to such a fantastic charity. The idea that this money will contribute to saving lives is outstanding! The Air Ambulance already offers an exceptional service, but if we can help them reduce risk even further then we have done a good thing!”

Motorsport enthusiast and Hollywood legend Sir Patrick Stewart, said “I am disappointed not to be present this evening. My admiration of John for his dedication to the Foundation goes without saying and I must congratulate them on the marvellous sum raised. Air Ambulances do an outstanding job and this donation will have a significant impact on their ability to respond to emergencies.”

KSSAAT Charity Chief Executive, Adrian Bell said “We are overwhelmed to receive such a fantastic donation; The Air Ambulance Service is a charitable trust and without funding we are unable to deliver the service that’s so sorely needed! The High Fidelity Manikin Simulators will mean we can develop our education and training programme to ensure that our crews are able to provide the highest possible care to our patients, 24 hours a day, in any situation.

Our thanks go to John Surtees for his time and effort, to the Henry Surtees Foundation for their fundraising and to Sir Patrick Stewart for his support.”

As well as raising and donating £75,000 to KSSAAT for the simulators, the Henry Surtees Foundation has also previously supported the provision of a blood transfusion service for KSSAAT. This support included vital equipment such as thermostatically controlled boxes and blood warmers, and the purchase of two Honda CR-V vehicles for SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers) to transport blood, enabling the service to provide nearly 70 transfusions in its first year. The Foundation has also donated £131,000 to Headway to help people with brain injuries.

This year, both John and his machines will be at some of the most prestigious classic racing events and venues across the country, raising funds for the Henry Surtees Foundation. George Barber, owner of the Barber Museum which holds a collection of cars and motorcycles from John Surtees’ life, has made a title-winning Ferrarri 158 available for these events. He has also committed to matching £50,000 with a donation, if the Henry Surtees Foundation manage to raise it.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Martin lands £5,000 Air Ambulance raffle prize

Photos, L-R: Air Ambulance doctor Hanja Glinska, Mid-Summer Draw winner Martin Young and Critical Care Paramedic Richard de Coverly pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Marden.


A Maidstone businessman popped open a bottle of champagne as he celebrated winning the top prize of £5,000 in Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance’s Mid-Summer Draw.


Business consultant Martin Young, 53, was given a tour of the helicopter base at Marden yesterday (Monday) as he picked up his cheque from the doctor and paramedic.


He was already a longstanding supporter of the life-saving charity when he bought £20 worth of tickets for the June 19th draw and also made a £10 donation.


Martin was delighted when his winning ticket was picked by Pilot Captain Kevin Goddard and kindly donated £500 back to the emergency service which relies almost entirely on public support.


He said: “I was really shocked and very appreciative having not won anything before. It came as a very pleasant surprise.


“I was intrigued because the night before I found out I’d won I had a message from the Air Ambulance and I thought I’d won a soft toy, but not £5,000.


“I didn’t even know what the first prize was, I just bought the tickets not thinking I was going to win but it will help pay off a chunk of my mortgage.


“I play cricket and I often see the helicopter flying overhead when I’m standing in the middle of a field, always wondering where they’re going to. I also do a lot of miles in my job and I know how many car accidents the helicopter is called to.”


Mr R Prebble, from Ashford, Kent, won the second prize of £1,000 while Miss M Powell from Egham won the third prize of £250.


Five further runner-up prizes of £50 went to Ms Hayes (Dorking), Mrs S Day (Knighton), Mrs M Holme (Aylesford), Mrs J Samson (Horley) and Mrs J Wright (Uckfield).


This year’s draw raised a grand total of £188,324 in ticket sales and donations for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.


Head of Donations and Membership Katie Eeles said: “People like Martin make it possible for us to continue to provide this life-saving service as we rely on donations and fundraising to enable us to pay for our helicopter, crew, medical equipment, supplies and training – everything that is needed to take an A&E service to those who need it.”