Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Air Ambulance Christmas Draw winners

A teacher is splashing out on a holiday to Malta after winning £5,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s annual Christmas Draw.

The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was wrapping presents when the life-saving charity called to tell her she had won the top prize in Friday’s draw.

The mother-of-one, from Gillingham, bought £20 worth of tickets after signing up to the air ambulance’s lottery in January.

She is now planning to spend her winnings on a two-week break on the Mediterranean island and a giraffe experience for her daughter.

She said: “It’s un-believable to have won, I thought it was a joke. It’s an amazing gift for Christmas and jaw-droppingly wonderful, especially at this time of year.

“The air ambulance is such a worthy cause and any one of us could be affected by it. I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer or die because it wasn’t funded.”

Mrs B Wells, from Addlestone, won the second prize of £1,000, while Mr A Cambridge from Westerham won the third prize of £250.

There were five further prizes of £50 for Mr D Ladbrum from Littlehampton, Mrs M Luck (St Leonards-on-Sea), Mrs M Fowler (Maidstone), Mrs M Curran (Wigmore) and Mrs Jo Woods from Bognor Regis.

Each air ambulance callout costs about £2,500 so the grand total of £224,366 raised from this year’s draw will potentially save nearly 90 lives.

To find out more about the Air Ambulance, or to make a donation, please call 01622 833833 or go to

Air Ambulance lottery canvassers

Photo: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance crew members pictured this week at the Redhill helicopter base

A retired railway worker has become the latest Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance lottery winner to be signed by a door-to-door canvasser.

Former signalman Michael Holmes, 66, joined the life-saving charity’s lottery when a canvasser called at his home two years ago.

He thought nothing more of his £8-a-month subscription until his lucky numbers 2, 24, 35 and 36 came up in last Wednesday’s Superdraw

Michael, from Greatstone in Kent, was shocked when the air ambulance called to tell him he had won a grand total of £13,340.

He said: “I’ve always had a good feeling about the air ambulance and my wife and I feel it is an important part of society. It’s good to have them around so we’ve always supported them.

“When the canvasser came and knocked on our door we didn’t hesitate to sign up. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have joined.

“After we found out we’d won I dug out the paperwork for our membership and I wouldn’t even have chosen the random numbers I was given.”

“We’re delighted because this is the first time we’ve won anything. We usually buy raffle tickets at Christmas time to support various charities such as Animal Aid and the Lifeboats and we’ve won the odd £20 but not this much.”

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.

Air Ambulance Head of Donations and Membership Katie Eeles said: “Some people are quite surprised that we use door-to-door representatives to promote our lottery throughout Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

“However, they do not collect cash or take any donations whatsoever and Mr Holmes is just one of many winners who have signed up to the lottery at their home.”

Lottery canvassers are dressed in yellow high-visibility jackets, navy blue fleeces or navy blue polo shirts with “Air Ambulance” written on them.

They usually operate Monday to Friday between 10.30am and 8pm and sometimes at weekends and all of them carry picture identification cards.

A list of canvassers can be found at If necessary, further clarification can be obtained by calling the Air Ambulance Lottery Office on 01622 833833 during normal office hours.

For information on how to join the fundraising lottery go to

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

That'll do donkey!

Photo: Harry the donkey pictured with cousins Jessica and Isla Greenaway, and pet dog Morag
A Crockham Hill family has raised more than £700 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance by delivering Christmas cards with their pet donkey.
The Greenaway family and award-winning Harry the donkey posted 1,312 season’s greetings around the village at the weekend in return for donations to the life-saving charity.
Villagers were urged to drop off their cards at The Royal Oak pub where a team of Santa’s helpers spent five hours sorting and stamping the mail.
Organiser Sheila Greenaway said: “Each card was stamped with a donkey logo so recipients knew their cards had been delivered by ‘Donkey Post’.
“Harry was adorned in Christmas attire and set off at a steady plod to make the deliveries. We had tremendous support from the residents of Crockham Hill and from well-wishers on our travels.
“We are very grateful to everyone who made donations and to Paul and Dawn at The Royal Oak for their support too. We couldn’t do it without them all.”
In total, the annual fundraising event raised £1,466 for the Air Ambulance, which relies almost entirely on donations, and Hospice in the Weald.
Harry has just completed his fifth year under The Active Donkey Award organised by the Donkey Breeds Society.
Donkeys need to complete eight different activities during the year to raise the profile of the animal among the public. About 65 donkeys take part each year and Harry won this year’s Active Donkey Cup.
* If you would like to find out more about the air ambulance, or make a donation, please visit

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Golfers hit five-figure sum for air ambulance

Photo: L-R, Sandra Roberts, Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, Roy Keirstead and Stephen Wild

Golfers at Mannings Heath Golf Club in West Sussex have raised enough funds to help Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance save four lives.

Each call-out of the charity helicopter costs about £2,500 so the fantastic sum of £10,250 raised will fund four potentially life-saving missions.

Members of the club, near Horsham, handed over their cheque to the pilot, doctor and paramedic at the helicopter base last week (December 4th).

The air ambulance was chosen by Club Captain Stephen Wild, Ladies Captain Sandra Roberts and Seniors Captain Roy Keirstead as their Charity of the Year.

Stephen said: “We’re all really delighted with the huge amount we raised and the generosity shown by members of the club.

“It didn’t seem like a lot of effort because we enjoyed doing all the fundraising. We had tremendous fun doing it, and the money raised is a fantastic by-product of a successful year.”

The funds were raised from a number of events including a Captain’s Day, quiz and supper nights, and raffles.

Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland said: “As a charity we rely almost entirely on public donations so we are extremely grateful for this substantial donation.”

Air Ambulance in town for Win a Car raffle

Photo 1: The Win a Car raffle prize – a Suzuki Splash

Shoppers are being urged to help support Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance by buying a ticket for this year’s Win a Car raffle at Eastbourne Arndale Centre.

Volunteers from the life-saving charity will be selling tickets this Friday (December 12th) for the Grand Draw on Christmas Eve.

Tickets cost £1 and all proceeds raised on the day will go to the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) which relies almost entirely on public donations. There will also be a special visit from air ambulance mascot Dr Dudley.

The first prize is a white MPV five-door Suzuki Splash worth more than £9,000 with ABS brakes, multi air bags, leather steering wheel, remote central locking, MP3 compatible CD/radio plus exemption from road tax for the first year.

Arndale Manager Bill Plumridge said: "We hope as many people as possible will come to the Centre before Christmas to buy their ticket and stand a chance of winning a brand new car!"

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is among 48 charities supported by this year’s Win a Car raffle including Eastbourne Lifeboats, Rotary Club of Eastbourne, Special Olympics, Eastbourne Talking Newspaper, Queen Alexandra Homes, Age Concern and East Sussex CRUSE.

Every penny from ticket sales goes directly to the charities that have benefited from a total of £250,000 since the launch of the raffle in 2000.

For more information about the air ambulance, or to make a donation, please visit

Monday, 8 December 2014

Lions on track to help keep Air Ambulance flying at night

Photo: Members of Tonbridge Lions Club pictured at a cheque presentation to the Air Ambulance at Tonbridge School

Lion-hearted fundraisers have given Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s night flying appeal a £4,404 cash boost from this year’s Tonbridge Triathlon.

Lions clubs across the South East have pledged to raise £250,000 for the Marden-based charity helicopter over 10 years to help ensure the 24-hour service continues.

The funds will be a significant contribution towards the additional £1million-a-year cost of night flying which was launched last year (December 18th).

Tonbridge Lions, organisers of the town’s annual triathlon at Tonbridge School, chose the air ambulance as the sole beneficiary from this year’s event programme and sponsorship monies raised.

Last month (November 28th), they handed over their £4,404 donation to Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland, at the High Street school.

Triathlon chairman Tom Simmons said: “Tonbridge Lions aim is to organise an event that is enjoyed by the competitors and their supporters alike while having the opportunity to raise money for local charities.

After many years of experience we feel justly proud of this event which is well regarded in the Triathlon calendar.

“This year we focused on the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and donated the proceeds from the event programme to boost funds for their night flying appeal. We also encouraged competitors to seek sponsorship to raise further funds for the air ambulance which entrants were happy to do.

“We were very pleased to see members of their fundraising team at our event as were the competitors and their families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended which made the event such a success.”

Tonbridge School’s sports complex was used by the Australian Olympic team as a training base for the London 2012 games.

Competitors in this year’s triathlon were given the choice of a sprint consisting of a 400-metre swim, 25km ride and 5km run or the standard route at double the distance.

Air Ambulance Community Fundraising Officer Michelle Woodland said: “We would like to thank all the runners, swimmers and cyclists who put in such a lung-busting effort, and of course Tonbridge Lions for their continued and much-valued support.”

Tonbridge was the first Lions club launched in the UK in 1949 and has raised more than £275,000 for charity in the last 10 years. The triathlon alone has raised more than £125,000 over 24 years.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Chancellor's gift to Air Ambulance

The Chancellor, George Osborne today announced in his autumn statement that he is awarding a significant grant to the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance. The seven figure sum will go towards the charity’s capital investment programmes based on a new helicopter and future basing needs.

Chief Executive, Adrian Bell said “The Chancellor’s statement today in which he granted the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust £1.5m, is a very clear and ringing endorsement of the critical service this Charity provides to its patients, and, as support to our capital investment programme, eloquent recognition of the need to ensure the long-term resilience and sustainability of this vital emergency service funded as it is through charitable donation rather than NHS finances.

As well as being extremely grateful to the Chancellor for this support, the Charity is also hugely appreciative of his move to exempt all Air Ambulance charity expenditure from VAT. In our case, this will release about £100,000 per year directly to frontline services rather than the Exchequer and equates to over 30 life-saving missions of the 1800 that the Charity undertakes annually.

We still have to raise over £6m annually to provide this life-saving service but I hope our many supporters will, like me, rejoice in the fact that yet more of their generous and so gratefully received donations will support this vital cause so directly.”

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance which celebrates it’s 25th anniversary next year became the first air ambulance service in the country to operate a 24 hours Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) last September. In the first year of its night operations crews have attended over 430 patients as well as about 1,400 patients by day.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Rescued rider's fashion show for air ambulance

Photo: Cass Lillington and Air Ambulance Paramedic Richard Crabb pictured at the Redhill helicopter base

A horse rider swapped her stirrups for the catwalk to help raise more than £1,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after she was airlifted by the charity helicopter.

Cass Lillington, 59, from Cranleigh, was riding in Alfold when she was thrown off her 16-year-old Irish cob Tigger.

She said: “We had a misunderstanding going through a gate – my foot and stirrup got stuck in the gate catch and the next thing I knew I was on the deck.

“No lasting harm was done but I was a bit bashed about and it was very comforting to be whisked off to hospital by such a kind and professional helicopter crew.”

Cass suffered chest and abdominal injuries and had to be given advanced pain relief at the scene by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic.

She was also in a remote and rural location so was flown to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where she spent two days but has now made a full recovery following the accident last year (December 7th)

In June, she was reunited with Air Ambulance paramedic Richard Crabb as she visited the helicopter base at Redhill.

And last month (November 24th), she held a fashion show and clothes sale at Cranleigh Village Hall, in aid of the life-saving charity.

Professional models from fundraising fashion show hosts Travelling Trends and Cass’s friends Paula Hynes, Judith Dunne and Mary Foryeszewski took to the catwalk to show off a range of stylish clothing.

Cass raised a total of £1,245 including £445 on her JustGiving page where friends made donations and left messages of support.

Pat Murphy, a riding friend, wrote: “Cass, well done for raising this money for such a worthwhile cause which benefits many and especially us equestrians!”

If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance, or make a donation, please visit

Three peaks, three lakes...and an 800-mile bike ride

Photo 1: Members of the Hamstreet Ultimate Road Trip (HURT) team pictured at the Air Ambulance base at Marden.

Photo 2: Team HURT pictured at the start of the Air Ambulance’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge at Marden

A group of Hamstreet fundraisers are embarking on a challenge of a lifetime next year to raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The 14-strong team begin their epic journey on July 4th with a 1,344m climb up Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland.

They will then cycle to and swim across Loch Lomond before getting back on their bikes and pedalling to Cumbria where they will scale Scaffell Pike.

The next stage of their quest will see them get back on the saddle and cycle to Lake Windermere before swimming across it.

Finally, they will cycle to Wales where they will climb 1,085m Mount Snowdon before crossing Bala Lake and riding all the way back to Hamstreet.

Organiser Andrew Othen said: “We’ve called our challenge the Hamstreet Ultimate Road Trip, or HURT, and it promises to, but it beats spending the week by the pool!”

The team of keen cyclists were inspired to raise funds for the Air Ambulance because of the number of cycling accidents the helicopter is called to.

To help them with their training, they took part in the charity’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge in September which raised almost £38,000 for the charity.

And to boost their fundraising, they held a Pick Your Own Pumpkin event, pub quiz and golf day at London Beach Golf Club in Tenterden. They are also planning a ball at The Saga Building in Sandgate. on March 28th.

For more information about the challenge, or to make a donation, go to or

Monday, 1 December 2014

Air Ambulance lottery winner

A Windlesham grandmother 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 last Wednesday’s Superdraw with lucky numbers 7, 26, 28 and 31.

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

The retired nurse was shocked when she received a call telling her she had won a grand total of £13,329.36.

She said: “My legs went like jelly and I had to sit down, I can’t quite believe it.

“I’ve never won anything before so this has come out of the blue because I didn’t think I would ever win. I just signed up to support the charity because it’s a damn good cause.

“I thought I’d won about £300 but when I heard it was £13,329, I burst into tears. This win is going to help a lot and we’re going to have a fabulous Christmas, the best one we’ve ever 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.

For information on how to join the fundraising lottery go to or call 01622 833833.