Monday, 26 January 2015

Switch, save and give as you live

Energy customers can save more than £140 by switching their suppliers and help raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Householders can visit shopping and price comparison website Give as you Live and compare every available tariff from all UK suppliers to ensure they get the best deal.

By changing their gas and electricity provider they can make a free £17 donation to the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations.

Just switching one utility supplier will result in an £8.50 donation for the life-saving charity which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Director of Income Generation Lynne Harris said: “While energy costs may be going down, the cost of our operation has increased significantly in recent years with major developments of the service we provide.

“We therefore have to come up with new income streams and Give as You Live is simple and easy to raise funds for the air ambulance. It doesn’t cost you anything and it actually saves you money.”

A £17 donation to the air ambulance would buy almost two doses of a drug essential to suppress adverse heart rhythms. An £8.50 donation would pay for eight sheets of bubblewrap which is used to keep patients warm.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Air Ambulance trustee awarded an OBE

Photo: Helen Bowcock OBE

Former High Sheriff of Surrey, Dr Helen Bowcock has been named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Dr Bowcock has been awarded an OBE for services to Community Philanthropy.

Last May, Helen joined the board of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and also chairs the charity’s county board in Surrey. She had visited the air ambulance’s Redhill base during her year of office as High Sheriff to find out more about the work the charity does and also attended the launch of the air ambulance’s night flying operation in December 2013.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance (KSSAAT) was the first air ambulance in the country to begin operating a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) 24 hours a day. The highly skilled crews respond to an average of 1-2 emergency medical calls every night in addition to the 4-6 calls they respond to during the day.

Dr Bowcock said: "I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit KSSAAT twice during my time as High Sheriff. I was immediately struck by the way the organisation is driven by its charitable mission with much emphasis upon continuous improvement. The launch of night flying confirmed to me what an innovative organisation it is, striving for improvements in patient service and outcomes. I was delighted to be invited to join the main Board and to Chair the Surrey Board." 

Helen is actively involved in a number of local Surrey projects and in addition to being a trustee for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance; she is a Governor of St Catherine’s School and a Member of the Council of Surrey University. She researched and wrote Hidden Surrey and is a member of the Watts Gallery’s Limnerslease Appeal Committee and an alumni of The Philanthropy Workshop.

If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Student reunited with lifesaver

Photo 1, L-R, Front Row, Kristian Berry and Gary Wareham

A Hawkinge student who survived a road accident was reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic who helped save his life as his college handed over a donation to the charity helicopter.

Former Brockhill Park Performing Arts College student Kristian Berry, 18, wept as he met Operational Support Manager Gary Wareham for the first time since his accident last summer.

He visited the helicopter base at Marden on Friday (January 16th) with fellow students and his mother Sally to present a cheque for £1,634 which was raised from a concert and non-uniform day.

Kristian suffered a head injury and fractured ribs after he collided with a car as he crossed the A260 at Densole

He was resuscitated by a passing GP before the air ambulance arrived and he was assessed at the road-side by the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic.

The teenager was then flown to King’s College Hospital in London where he was put in an induced coma for two days.

He spent two weeks at the Major Trauma Centre before he was finally allowed home and has since made a full recovery.

He said: “It was amazing to meet Gary because I owe my life to him and all the team who helped me. If it wasn’t for them I would have died and I’m just so thankful to them.

Kristian is now studying commercial music at Canterbury Christchurch University and is planning a career in music therapy.

Gary said: “It was really good to see Kristian and hear that he is now going on to further education. The air ambulance helps keep families together and allows them to continue leading the rest of their lives.”

If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation please go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Tree fall survivor featured in TV medical documentary

Photo 1: Bill Ovenden points to the hedge he fell from
Photo 2: Bill arriving at St George’s
A retired engineer from Horsham who survived a 15ft fall while pruning trees at his home is to be featured on Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E next week (January 28th).
The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from its new home at St George’s Hospital in London – one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.
Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras, the series captures dramatic and emotional stories of love, life and loss on the frontline of the NHS.
Next week’s episode tells the story of 69-year-old Bill Ovenden who fell from a ladder while pruning a Leylandii hedge at his home in Brooks Green.
His sister Margaret, an ex-nurse, called 999 and the air ambulance was sent because he had suspected multiple fractures and difficulty breathing.
Margaret said: “He prides himself on doing everything himself, saying, ‘Don’t spend money on that, I can do it’.”
The air ambulance landed in Bill’s field and the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic treated him at the scene before flying him to St George’s.
24 Hours in A&E shows him arriving at the Major Trauma Centre where scans reveal he has a collapsed lung. He luckily avoided more serious injury after landing on a pile of grass cuttings.
Bill was one of the first patients to be airlifted to St George’s following the opening of its rooftop heli-pad in April.
He has since made a full recovery and is now planning an afternoon tea party at his home to raise funds for the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.
* 24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4 on Wednesday (January 28th) at 9pm. If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Air Ambulance launches WIN A MINI raffle

Photo: L-R Air Ambulance doctor Fiona Reardon, Pilot Alasdair Auchincloss and critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley pictured at the helicopter base with the prize Mini.

Life-saving charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance has launched a raffle to win a brand new car worth £15,000, to celebrate its Silver Jubilee.

The red 1.2 Mini One three-door hatchback has been kindly donated by Barretts of Canterbury and boasts tyre pressure monitoring, a Thatcham 1 alarm system, ISOFIX child seat system, front foglights, on-board computer, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth hands-free function with USB radio.

The car will go on show at shopping centres and community events throughout the counties this year as the air ambulance celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The charity has helped thousands of people and saved many lives after attending more than 25,000 call-outs over the last quarter of a century.

Air Ambulance Head of Promotions Katie Eeles said: “The service we provide today would simply not be possible without the kind support of the public.

“The need for our life-saving service will never go away, and your support will help to ensure that we can continue helping patients who need us for many years to come.”

Tickets for the WIN A MINI raffle cost £5 each and can be purchased online at www.raffle.me.uk. The draw will take place on December 15th, 2015, making it a perfect Christmas present for one lucky winner.

The charity is very grateful to Barretts of Canterbury, a Kent-based family-run business famous for its motor dealerships based in Canterbury and Ashford. It currently boasts six car franchises including Broad Oak Mini from where the prize car has kindly been donated.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Rye hotel checks in with donation for air ambulance

Photo:  George Clooney pictured leaving The George in Rye following filming of war-time thriller Monuments Men

Guests at a Rye hotel have helped donate more than £1,000 to Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

The George in Rye has introduced a scheme in which overnight guests are kindly asked to pledge £1 to one of two chosen charities when they check out, which the hotel then matches.

A total of £1,100 was raised for the Air Ambulance last year following a £1,316 donation in 2013.

Each callout of the charity helicopter costs about £2,500 so the sum raised so far will help fund one potentially life-saving mission.

Alex Clarke, Director at The George in Rye, said: “We are delighted to continue to support the great work that the air ambulance does in the local area and we are all so lucky to have them looking out for us in our daily lives.”

The George in Rye is the only 4-star hotel in Rye and has played host to top Hollywood stars including George Clooney and Matt Damon who visited the town to film the war-time thriller Monuments Men.

Last summer the Grade II listed hotel, which dates from 1575, hosted many of the cast and crew of Mapp & Lucia, the BBC1 mini-series which was broadcast over Christmas, featuring Rye as the fictional town of Tilling.

Survivor featured in TV medical documentary

Photo: Air ambulance patient Alan Evans arriving at St George’s Hospital

A rail worker airlifted by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after he was struck by a train at 90mph, is to be featured on Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E next week (January 21st)

The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from its new home at St George’s Hospital in London – one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.

Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras, the series captures dramatic and emotional stories of love, life and loss on the frontline of the NHS.

Next week’s episode tells the story of 61-year-old Network Rail worker Alan Evans from Gossops Green who was hit by a train as he worked on the tracks at Redhill.

More than 20 emergency service personnel spent two hours rescuing him from the top of a steep embankment.

He was treated at the trackside by the Redhill-based air ambulance’s doctor and paramedic before being stretchered out under the train and flown by the charity helicopter to St George’s.

24 Hours in A&E shows Alan arriving at the Major Trauma Centre where a CT scan reveals that he has suffered multiple fractures and loss of blood flow to his right arm.

Without circulation he could have lost his arm and the medical team tried everything to save it including complicated emergency surgery.

As Alan’s son waited at the hospital for news, he talked about how he and his father became closer after his mother’s death.

St George’s Team Leader Daryl said: “People hit by trains generally don’t get to us because that’s never going to end well.

“If you’re hit by a car it’s bad enough, if you’re hit by a bus that’s another thing. But hit by a train? You might as well have a plane land on top of you. The chances of you surviving that are very, very rare.”

24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4 on Wednesday (January 21st) at 9pm. If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Monday, 12 January 2015

Survivor reunited with lifesavers

Photo 1, L-R: Air Ambulance doctor Clint Jones, Dr Malcolm Tunnicliff, John Wingate and critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley

A Ditton carpenter who was almost crushed to death in an industrial accident has been reunited with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance team who helped saved his life.

Father-of-two John Wingate, 45, suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and a lacerated liver after he became trapped in a two-tonne woodcutting machine.

Firefighters from the Technical Rescue Unit spent 40 minutes freeing him from the machinery using specialist lifting gear as he remained conscious throughout.

He said: “I could feel my ribs breaking. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t scream and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to die.

“I thought that was my lot and it was going to be a horrible ending but luckily enough I managed to stop the machine.”

A fellow worker at the site in Laddingford raised the alarm and paramedics from South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb) and their Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) were first on scene.

The air ambulance’s doctor, Clint Jones, and critical care paramedic Stu Plumbley arrived and gave him advanced pain relief.

John was then taken to the Major Trauma Centre at King’s College Hospital where he suffered a potentially fatal cardio respiratory attack two days later.

He underwent three operations before he was finally allowed home after three weeks following his accident in October and was recently reunited with the Air Ambulance doctor and paramedic as he visited the helicopter base at Redhill with his wife Lizzie.

He said: “I just found it very inspiring and I’m extremely glad that the air ambulance exists. A week later I saw the helicopter go over my house and it actually bought a lump to my throat.

“I just feel totally indebted to the air ambulance and the other emergency services. I’ve been to see the firemen as well and they were really pleased to see me as they said I was one of only a handful of people in 25 years to go and say thank you.

“It was one of those accidents that stuck in their minds and I’m here now because of the first aid I received and the care I got in hospital. I’m just happy to be alive.”

John, a former motorbike racer, is planning to return to work in the New Year once he has made a full recovery.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Air Ambulance lottery winner

Photo: Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard

A health worker from Epsom was given an early Christmas present when she won more than £4,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s charity lottery – on Chirstmas Eve.

Nuffield Health IT Sourcing Manager, Maria Harrison, scooped the jackpot in the midweek Superdraw with lucky numbers 13, 17, 32 and 34.

She signed up to the lottery when a canvasser called at her home two years ago but thought nothing more of her £8-a-month subscription.

The mother-of-two thought it was a hoax when her husband Jon emailed to tell her she had won and even then she thought it was a Christmas hamper.

The couple won a grand total of £4,494.96 which they are planning to spend on an extension to their home after giving £500 back to the air ambulance.

Maria said: “It was a lovely surprise to win but that was never our motivation for joining the lottery, I just saw it as a monthly donation.

“The lottery canvasser called at about the time there was a TV programme on in which Richard Hammond from Top Gear was talking about how he had been saved by the air ambulance. 

“The programme brought into sharp focus the key service that the air ambulance provides. Our daughter has a heart condition so my husband and I have first-hand experience of how important speed is to survival and to minimising long term damage.”

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

Monday, 5 January 2015

Schoolboy featured in TV medical documentary

Photo 1: Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance arriving at St George’s Hospital with patient Will Watson on board

A schoolboy airlifted by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after a baseball accident is to be featured in Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E on Wednesday (January 7th)

The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from its new home at St George’s Hospital in London – one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.

Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras, the series captures dramatic and emotional stories of love, life and loss on the frontline of the NHS.

This week’s episode tells the story of 13-year-old Sevenoaks School pupil Will Watson who was knocked unconscious after colliding with a fellow pupil during a game of baseball. 

The air ambulance landed at the High Street school and the charity helicopter’s doctor and paramedic were concerned that he may have sustained serious internal head injuries.

They flew him and his mother Vicki to a specialist neurological unit at St George’s Hospital in London in just 11 minutes – a journey that could have taken more than half an hour by road.

Vicki said:  “Will’s school had been trying to get hold of us to tell us to get to the school quickly. They put him into the helicopter and he was tied down to the stretcher. You feel that it must be a lot more serious than a normal sporting injury.”

While they awaited the results of a CT scan to reveal the extent of Will’s injuries, the medical team were concerned that he had not spoken since the incident and tried to get him to talk.

Will has since made a full recovery following the accident in June.

* 24 Hours in A&E  is on Channel 4 on Wednesday (January 7th) at 9pm. If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Newsagent racks up £20,000 for air ambulance

Photo: Deepak and Usha Myanger

A Maidstone newsagent has raised enough funds from running marathons to help Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance save eight lives.

Each call-out of the charity helicopter costs about £2,500 so the £20,000 raised by News Rack and Grove Green Post Office owner Deepak Myanger will fund eight potentially life-saving missions.

Deepak, a 2010 Pride of Maidstone winner, has been running half marathons for the air ambulance for 10 year and he and his wife Usha have run the Grove Green post office for 24 years – almost as long as the charity has been in operation.

He said: “It’s my customers and my wife who get all the credit for this, I just do the running. Every year they ask when I’m running for the air ambulance and look forward to sponsoring me.

“It is a vitally important charity and one which my customers don’t hesitate at all in donating for. I’m quite staggered that they give so generously.

“My wife won’t let anyone leave the shop without making a donation and that is why the amount is so high. I’m humbled to have helped raise so much.”

Deepak, 57, has completed 25 half marathons locally in Maidstone, Headcorn, Paddock Wood but also abroad in Prague, Budapest, Madrid, Dublin, Brussels, Switzerland and Cannes.

He added: “I like running and I go out three times a week whether I do it for charity or just to keep fit. My best half marathon was Maidstone three years ago when I recorded my fastest time. My worst was also the Maidstone last year when it rained non-stop.”

The father-of-one is planning to carry on running and raising more funds for the air ambulance which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Air Ambulance Director of Income Generation Lynne Harris said: “We are enormously grateful to Deepak, his wife and all their customers for raising such a phenomenal sum, and for their continued support which is much valued.”