Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Saddle up for Air Ambulance bike ride

Photo: Air Ambulance Paramedics Charles Leahy and Ben Macauley, Dr Emma Rowland and Paramedic Stu Plumbley

Cyclists are being urged to get on their bikes for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s annual Double 100 Cycle Challenge this Sunday (September 28th).

The Double 100 is a 100-mile or 100km ride which starts and finishes at the helicopter bases at Marden in Kent and Redhill in Surrey.

Air Ambulance doctors, paramedics and staff members are among more than 200 riders who have signed up so far with more welcome to enter now or on the day.

This year’s ride will include two new circular routes through the counties covered by the air ambulance and marks the first anniversary of the launch of the life-saving charity’s night flying service.

Last year’s event raised more than £12,000 and the air ambulance is aiming to double its success this year with a new starting point at the charity’s Marden headquarters.

Event project manager Julie Clare said: “We are delighted with the response this year. It promises to be a great ride for the cyclists and with the money raised it will be a great day for the Air Ambulance too.”

This year’s Double 100 has been backed by main sponsor Fidelity Worldwide Investment who have entered a team of 40 cyclists.

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.”

The 2014 Double 100 has also been sponsored by Howard Cundey Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents, and supported by Halfords, 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.

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, 22 September 2014

Garden party in memory of Garry

Photo 1: Garry Jarrett’s family and friends release balloons at a garden party in his memory

Family and friends of a Halstead father who died after a road accident held a garden party in celebration of his life and raised more than £3,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Former Wilderness School pupil Garry Jarrett, 24, was airlifted by the charity helicopter but sadly passed away after a week in intensive care at the Royal London Hospital.

His parents Chris and Roger recently threw open the doors of their Beaconfields home to mark the second anniversary of his passing.

More than 100 family and friends including Garry’s fiancée Sian attended and helped to raise a grand total of £3,018 from an auction and raffles.

They also released Air Ambulance balloons into the sky including one from Garry’s son Alfie, 2, which read: “Dad you’re my hero.”

Chris said: “It was just overwhelming and fantastic because some of the neighbours, who we hadn’t invited, came round and made donations.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone for coming, and to all the local businesses who pledged their support.”

Raffle prizes included signed England and Chelsea football shirts, a spa day for two at Brandshatch Place Hotel and a golf day for four at Nizels Golf and Country Club.

There was also a disco, barbecue, hog roast, Zumba class and a visit from Charlie the Clown.

In 2012, Garry’s family raised more than £15,000 for the Air Ambulance from funeral donations and a bike ride at Bedgebury Pinetum.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Air Ambulance Open Evening

Photo: The life-saving team of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has attended more than 1,700 call-outs across the region so far this year.

On Tuesday, 23rd September, members of the public are invited to an Open Evening to meet some of the pilots, doctors and paramedics from the air ambulance and to find out more about the work and future plans of this vital life-saving charity.

Over the last two years, the charity has taken major steps forward in the advancement of patient care by carrying blood on the aircraft for emergency transfusions and last year becoming the first and only air ambulance service in the country to operate a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) 24 hours a day.

The public will be able to find out more about how these and other changes in the service are saving lives and improving the quality of patients’ survival.

The free event is to be held at Robert Denholm House in Bletchingley Road, Nutfield, Surrey (RH1 4HW), and will start at 7pm.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is a life-saving charity which needs £6million a year to keep both helicopters flying from bases in Marden in Kent and Redhill in Surrey.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) receives no National Lottery funding and relies almost entirely on public donations.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Biker reunited with life-saver

A biker who survived a 60mph road crash has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save his life.

Father-of-two Nigel Quick, 54, from Tenterden, was returning home when he was in collision with a car on the A265 at Broad Oak near Heathfield.

He suffered a traumatic head injury and had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedics before being flown to a specialist London hospital.

Nigel has since made an almost full recovery and recently met Paramedic Karen Clarke for the first time since his accident in April.

He said: “I don’t remember a lot about that day except heading over to a biker’s café at Horam but I changed my mind and was coming back home.

“I was coming out of a 30mph limit into a national speed limit and there were a few cars in front of me and I started to overtake them.

“One of the cars was turning right but I didn’t see his indicator and as I went past he started his manoeuvre and I went down the side of his car and over his bonnet. I flew through the air and landed in his drive.”

Nigel also suffered burst and fractured vertebrae, a Grade 1 spleen injury and three broken ribs.

He had to be anaesthetised and placed in an induced coma by Karen and her colleagues Dr Matt Davenport and Paramedic Charles Leahy, to protect his brain from further injury.

Pilots Roger Sheridan and Nick Bramley flew Nigel to King’s College Hospital in London where scans confirmed he had a potentially fatal bleed in his brain.

The transfer time to the specialist neurological centre was 36 minutes – a journey that could have taken an hour-and-a-half by road.

Nigel spent a month at King’s before he was transferred to his local Kent and Canterbury hospital and was finally allowed home 10 days later.

He is still undergoing physiotherapy but is now back at work as a self-employed fruit importer and is planning to ride again.

He added: “I know how very lucky I am to still be walking and talking because I could have been a real burden on my family with the injuries I had. I do think that a lot now.

“Physically I’m a bit sore and weaker and I’ve lost three stone, something which I needed to do, and this has made me realise how important family is.

“I’m now very aware of the trauma I have put people through, especially my wife. I nearly cried when I met Karen because it’s very emotional meeting someone who has saved your life.”

Nigel briefly met Karen during a visit to the helicopter base at Marden before she was called out to a road accident in Folkestone.

Karen said: “It was fantastic to see that Nigel has made a full recovery from what could have been a life-changing injury. I’m really pleased to have played a small part in his recovery and wish him all the best for the future.”

Nigel’s family and friends have since helped raise more than £600 for the charity helicopter from a parachute jump and 70th birthday party.

Police closed the road and appealed for witnesses following the collision near Baileys Farm but later took no further action.

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

Shipmaster docks in with £25,000 lottery win

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

A retired shipmaster has won the £25,000 jackpot in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, joined the Superdraw just four months ago when a canvasser called at his former Emsworth home.

He was shocked when his £8-a-month subscription paid off and his lucky numbers 9, 20, 30 and 31 came up in last Wednesday’s draw.

The former merchant seaman, now living in Portsmouth, is planning to spend his winnings on an extended vacation to celebrate his recent Ruby Wedding Anniversary.

He said: “You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got the call to say I’d won. I thought it was one of my friends pulling my leg and pretending to be someone else.

“I couldn’t believe it, it’s just amazing because I hardly ever win anything. I won a pub quiz a few years ago but that’s about all.

“I’m now 65 and recently retired so it could not have come at a better time. I won’t be going on a cruise because I’ve been at sea most of my life and I’ve been around the world a few times.

“We’ll probably take a nice holiday and save the rest for a rainy day or for helping our grandchildren with their education. It’s a considerable amount of money and it will help immensely.”

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 http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk/give/howtojoin or call 01622 833833.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Air Ambulance appeals for volunteers

A life-saving charity providing a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in the south East is appealing for more volunteers in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

Members of the public can help out in a number of ways including placing and emptying collection boxes, selling merchandise at fundraising events and representing the charity at cheque presentations.

They can also help raise awareness of the service as public speakers by giving talks to local groups, clubs, schools, societies and other organisations.

Other roles at Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance include store and street collectors, drivers and couriers, and office administration.

Head of Volunteer Resource Amy Hamer said: “As a charity, we cover a region in excess of 3,500 square miles with a population of 4.5million people.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation and absolutely vital to our operation in terms of raising funds and awareness.

“They can give as little or as much of their time as they like, and all new recruits will receive an induction and training in each of their chosen roles.”

Volunteering is an opportunity for people to “give something back” to the community, meet new people and gain work experience.

The air ambulance’s volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and age groups and include former patients, bankers, teachers, pilots and a magician.

Paul Skelley, a former business intelligence manager, said: “I’ve been a volunteer for just over four years and because of my background in training it was an ideal opportunity to use these skills with the air ambulance.

“It’s an exciting role and a superb opportunity to do something worthwhile for a very worthwhile organisation.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/involved/volunteering, call Amy Hamer on 01622 833806 or email amyhamer@kssairambulance.org.uk.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tom and Natasha Richardson

Photo: Natasha and Tom Richardson

Student Natasha Griffiths and apprentice electrician Tom Richardson were married at St Mary’s Church in Battle last month (July 26th).

The bride walked down the aisle to Eva Cassidy’s Songbird sung by her sister Hayley-Jay Graves. Her mother Kirsty and cousin Rebecca Miller were also bridesmaids and her Man of Honour was Samuel Monks.

Natasha, 21, was driven to the church by a representative of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, the charity that saved her life following a road accident four years ago.

She wore an ivory-coloured dress with short train, tiara and veil, and held a teardrop-shaped bouquet of mauve lilies as she was given away by her grandmother Carol Graves.

Tom, 21, is the son of Kevin and Tessa Richardson, from Bexhill, and his best man was friend Brad Standen.

The couple met at Claverham Community College where they were pupils and exited the church to Ellie Goulding’s How Long Will I Love You, before releasing 21 butterflies.

The ushers were the groom’s school friends Ben Thorne and Matthew Budd, and the bride’s younger brother Riley. Her other brothers Henry and Joey were page boys.

A reception was held at nearby Stumbletts Barn and featured a bouncy castle, coconut shy, wellie wanging and hog roast.

Tom and Natasha enjoyed a two-week honeymoon in the Dominican Republic and will make their home in Battle.

50th birthday wing walk for air ambulance

Photo: Julie Wells pictured doing her wing walk for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance

A Bethersden woman celebrated her 50th birthday with a wing-walk for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and raised more than £1,000 for the life-saving charity.

Julie Wells was watched by family and friends as she performed the daredevil stunt at Headcorn Aerodrome last month.

Strapped into a chair on an aerobatic biplane, she was airborne for 10 minutes as the pilot completed a number of manoeuvres including climbs and low passes at speeds of up to 130mph.

She said: “It was totally exhilarating and I felt completely secure and was able to wave to everyone on the ground, although the force of the air was surprisingly strong.

“I wasn’t scared, just a little dazed afterwards, and I felt really pleased that I’d done it. It was a real buzz and my cheeks were glowing.

“I’d seen wing walking teams before when I worked in air traffic control at Lydd and I thought it would be a great thing to do.”

Julie raised £1,035 for the Marden-based charity helicopter which relies almost entirely on public donations. She completed the challenge with her cousin Spencer Rolfe who was raising funds for the RNLI.

She added: “I wanted to support a local charity and the Air Ambulance do such a good job. You never know when you may need them. I’m very grateful to all my family and friends for sponsoring me.”

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