Monday, 28 September 2015

Air ambulance cyclists stop to help motorist

Photo: Southeastern Railways team pictured at the start at the Marden helicopter base

A team of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedics taking part in the lifesaving charity’s bike ride yesterday (Sunday) stopped to help a woman involved in a car crash.

Stu Plumbley, Richard Crabb, Lewis Price and Charles Leahy were 13 miles into the Double 100 Cycle Challenge – a 100-mile or 100km ride - when they came across the accident at Dormansland.

The woman, in her 30s, suffered minor chest, abdominal and leg injuries and was assessed at the scene by the air ambulance team who were first on scene.

Richard said: “She was really pleased to see us and couldn’t believe it when we introduced ourselves and told her where we worked. After the ambulance crew arrived we got back on our bikes and carried on.”

The patient was treated by paramedics at the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) but did not require hospital treatment.

The air ambulance team were joined on the ride by a former patient whose life Stu helped save following a cycling accident four years ago.

Andy Curran, 44, suffered multiple injuries after he crashed during a training ride and had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by Stu and his colleagues.

The father-of-one, from Shepperton, spent three months in hospital and missed his wedding but has since made a good recovery.

More than 200 cyclists including teams from SECAmb, Southeastern Railways and sponsors Fidelity Worldwide Investment took part in the ride which raised almost £20,000 for the charity that relies almost entirely on donations.

 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Air Ambulance team gear up for bike ride

Photo, L-R: Air ambulance paramedics Stu Plumbley and Richard Crabb, and Press Officer Jamie Cheshire

A team of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedics are gearing up for the lifesaving charity’s annual bike ride this weekend (September 27th).

Stu Plumbley, Richard Crabb, Lewis Price and Charles Leahy are among more than 170 riders who will be getting on their bikes for the Double 100 Cycle Challenge.

Cyclists can still enter the 100-mile or 100km ride which starts and finishes at the helicopter bases at Marden and Redhill with an alternative 25-mile route to celebrate the charity’ Silver Jubilee.

Richard, from Selsey, will be taking on his first 100km ride after losing two-and-a-half stone in just a year.

He said: “I’ve wanted to ride the Double 100 since joining the charity three years ago but each year I was working. Over the last couple of years, I’ve got into road cycling and recently completed a 50-mile charity ride around Surrey. 

“It’s only fitting that I should do this to support the charity that I have worked for over the last three years. This will be the longest distance I have ever cycled and I hope my legs are up to the challenge. 

“I'm looking forward to riding with my fellow paramedics and charity staff, and the sense of achievement at finishing. I've seen the route and I’m not looking forward to the amount of hills on it.”

Critical care paramedic Stu, from Caterham will be reunited with a former patient whose life he helped save, as they both taken on the 100-miler.

Andy Curran, 44, suffered multiple injuries after he crashed during a training ride and had to be given emergency treatment at the road-side by Stu and his colleagues

The father-of-one, from Shepperton, spent three months in hospital and missed his wedding but has since made a good recovery following the accident four years ago.

Stu will be joined in Team KSSAAT by fellow paramedics Lewis Price from Dover and Charles Leahy, and Press Officer Jamie Cheshire from Polegate.

Charles said: “I was lucky enough to complete the Double 100 two years ago and I'm looking forward to tackling it again this year even though it nearly broke me last time.

“The satisfaction of completing the distance and doing my bit to support the charity I work for is the least I can do. See you all at the start line.”

The Double 100, now in its fifth year, has been sponsored by Fidelity Worldwide Investment, Howard Cundey Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents, and supported by Halfords, Warburtons and Bobby’s Foods.

The ride is open to regular, occasional and sportif cyclists with free lunch and refreshments provided at feeding stations along the scenic routes. The registration fee is a minimum of £15.

Riders will set off between 7am and 9am with free parking, changing and toilet facilities available at both starting points. Motorbike marshals will be riding the course throughout the day and there will also be mobile mechanics and a breakdown recovery vehicle.

To register online go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/involved/Double100 before the Thursday (September 24th) deadline, or sign up on the day. For more information, call Julie Clare on 01622 833833, or email juliec@kssairambulance.org.uk

 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

From Monaco to The Mall for six-challenge Natalie

Photo: L-R, Air Ambulance Pilot, Captain Kevin Goddard, Dr Sarah Honess, Natalie Sparrow and Paramedic Karen Clarke pictured at the Marden helicopter base

A Tunbridge Wells cyclist has successfully completed six challenges in as many months, raising more than £1,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Natalie Sparrow completed a 10k run in Monaco, a 90-mile bike ride in the New Forest and 225km Coast to Coast ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth.

She also accomplished the 26-mile Edinburgh Moonwalk, the London 10k and the 100-mile Prudential Ride in London.

She said: “At the time it was tough and after being knocked off my bike by a car during my second challenge I did start to doubt whether I had taken on too much but I’m so glad I pushed myself to continue.

“Luckily, I wasn’t hurt too badly but as my next event was the Coast to Coast bike ride I was worried I wouldn’t be able to take part.

“Looking back now, I can honestly say it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, so much so that I’ve already signed up to two of the six challenges next year.

“I’ve come away with memories from each event that will last a lifetime. The best part was cycling Box Hill on the London 100 and then finishing on the Mall with the crowds cheering which was an emotional end to my challenges.”

Natalie works for local housing developer Ward Homes who have chosen the air ambulance as its Charity of the Year.

She wanted to boost the firm’s fundraising so came up with six challenges and doubled her target of £500.

She added: “I have known people who have benefitted from the treatments and services the air ambulance provides, which makes their work more real and my determination to raise money for them more strong.”

Cyclists can still enter the air ambulance’s Double 100 Cycle Challenge on September 27th - a 100-mile or 100km ride which starts and finishes at the helicopter bases at Marden and Redhill. This year, there is also a 25-mile route to mark the charity’s Silver Jubilee. To enter, go to  www.kssairambulance.org.uk/involved/double100

 

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Cyclists raise £8,000 for air ambulance in memory of Ray

Photo: The Riding for Ray team pictured at the start

A team of cyclists have raised more than £8,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance by tracing the final journey of a much-loved father and friend.

Ray Yeo, from Goring, was helping a neighbour put up a car port when he fell from a step ladder earlier this year.

He was flown to the specialist neurological centre at St George’s Hospital in London but sadly passed away, leaving his wife Jill and their children Sean, Stephen and Sarah.

Friends Steve Dunlop and Jason Leith, and Ray’s sons, decided to raise funds for the charity helicopter by cycling from Ray’s home to St George’s and back.

Steve, 46, from Littlehampton, said: “Without the air ambulance getting him to St George’s so quickly there wouldn’t have been any hope at all.

“Ray really was such a great bloke who would always help anybody out which was exactly what he was doing when he had his accident – helping a neighbour to put up a car port.

“I, like many others, miss Ray so very much so I decided to try to do something in his memory…tracing his journey by cycling from his home to St George’s and then home – the journey that he wasn’t able to make.”

The team set off on their “Riding for Ray” challenge at 6am last month and completed the 120-mile round trip in eight hours.

In total, they have so far raised £8,161 – 16 times their £500 target - and can still be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/Steve-Dunlop68/

Each air ambulance callout costs about £2,500 so the substantial sum raised is enough to help potentially save three lives.

Community Fundraising Officer Veronica Wiseman said: “We are enormously grateful to Ray’s family and friends for their fantastic fundraising efforts.”

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is appealing for cyclists to enter its annual bike ride on September 27th. The Double 100 Cycle Challenge is a 100-mile or 100km ride which starts and finishes at the helicopter bases at Marden and Redhill. This year, there is also a 25-mile route to mark the charity’s Silver Jubilee. To enter, go to  www.kssairambulance.org.uk/involved/double100

Brave Ken, 79, in skydive for air ambulance

Photo: Ken Bland

A 79-year-old grandfather is to jump out of an aeroplane on Wednesday (September 9th) in a sponsored skydive for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Retired firefighter Ken Bland, from Whitstable, will take the plunge from 12,000ft at Headcorn Aerodrome, watched by family and friends.

The grandfather-of-six is taking on the lofty challenge despite battling prostate cancer for which he is still receiving treatment.

Ken had to get a “Declaration of Fitness to Parachute” from his local GP ahead of the tandem jump with an instructor.

He said: “At the age of 79, I thought it was time to do something like this. I’ve never done anything like it before and I’m getting quite excited because I’ve wanted to do it for such a long time.

“My wife thinks I’m a bit barmy but my grandchildren think it’s fantastic. I’m also hoping to jump on my 80th birthday provided the old knees and hips are OK. I want to do the skydive before I’m too old.”

Ken’s skydive will be filmed as he plummets in freefall for 30-40 seconds at 120mph, but his wife Eileen is too scared to watch so will be staying at their Tankerton Road home.

Skydive Headcorn manager Jane Hopkins said: “We had an 84-year-old skydiver last week and we have had a 90-year-old in the past so 79 is quite young in comparison. We look forward to seeing Ken on Wednesday.”

Ken used to hold a private pilots licence, flying Cessna 152s, and is no stranger to heights having worked for London Fire Brigade for 30 years.

The father-of-two has so far raised £237 of his £500 target and can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/Kenneth-Bland where family and friends have left messages of support.

Daughter Julie wrote: “Good luck Dad, so proud of you. We’ll all be there to support you.”

His grandchildren Nicole and Christian added: “Good luck granddad. Hope you enjoy it!”

 

Monday, 7 September 2015

Lightning strikes twice for lucky lottery winning family

Photo: Joan and Elizabeth Cooper pictured (centre) at the Air Ambulance base at Marden in 2006 when George won the Regular Lottery

A pilot from Dover has won the £5,000 jackpot in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s lottery - almost 10 years after her father also won the top prize.

Administration clerk Elizabeth Cooper, 63, took on her late father George’s Superdraw numbers 10, 18, 23 and 31 when he passed away six years ago.

And she was stunned when the numbers picked from family birthdays came up in the midweek draw last month (August 19th), landing her a cool £5,408.

The windfall comes nine years after George won the £1,000 jackpot in the air ambulance’s Regular Lottery as the charity celebrated its then 10,000th active member back in 2006.

Elizabeth is now splashing out on a cruise with her mother Joan to Guernsey, Cherbourg and Le Havre.

She said: “It’s amazing because when you contribute to these things you never expect to win anything. You always expect it to be someone else. They say lightning never strikes twice but anything can happen.”

Miss Cooper has kindly donated back some of her winnings and will also be making a donation to the Ted Girdler Memorial Scholarship in memory of the pilot tragically killed at the Eastbourne airshow in 2000.

She holds a private pilots licence, flying Cessna 152s, and is also a social events organiser for the East Kent section of the Kent Institute of Advanced Motorists.

Her win comes after a terrible run of luck in which she broke her elbow in a fall at work and was also involved in a car accident.

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.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Birthday skydive for Lesley, 70

Photos: Lesley Banks pictured during her skydive

A retired carer celebrated her 70th birthday by jumping out of an aeroplane in a sponsored skydive for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Lesley Banks, from Horsmonden, took the plunge from 12,000ft at Headcorn Aerodrome, watched by family and friends.

She said: “It was amazing but scary because I don’t like heights, I don’t even like going up a three-step ladder. The worst bit was seeing the pair in front of me disappear out of the plane, knowing I was next.

“The instructors ask you to scream as you jump out, to let them know you’re OK, but I think I just said, ‘Wow’. It was incredible.”

Lesley had to get a “Declaration of Fitness to Parachute” from her GP before she did the jump in July.

She raised a grand total of £1,200 for the air ambulance which she presented to the pilot, doctor and paramedic during a visit to the Marden helicopter base today (Tuesday).

She added: “I saved up all my £2 coins for three years until I had enough to pay for the jump.

“The majority of people in the area support the air ambulance so I thought if I supported them, more people would sponsor me and I’d like to thank everyone who did. It’s such a worthwhile cause and I often see the helicopter fly over my house.”