Friday, 29 April 2016

From wheelchair to half marathon for brave Julie

Photo: Julie Waters

A Whitstable mother has successfully completed a half marathon in aid of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance after battling a serious back condition which left her in a wheelchair.

Former travel agent Julie Waters, 38, was crippled by a back injury at work when she was 21 and had to learn to walk again as she lost all use of her left leg.

She spent the next 14 years in and out of a wheelchair and on crutches until she was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and facet joint disease and underwent two back operations.

The mother-of-one gradually built up her fitness before completing the North London Half Marathon at Wembley last month, raising £700 for the air ambulance.

She said: "When I look back at how far I've come I still can't believe I've done it but I feel really proud that I've achieved something I never thought I would do.

"At 12 miles, my back gave out but I ran across the finish line which was absolutely overwhelming. All my family and friends were there and it was really emotional.

"There was a time where I wasn't even able to put one foot in front of the other but thanks to an amazing surgeon, I've been able to slowly build up more strength and fitness than I would ever have thought possible.

"On my wardrobe I've got a picture of me in a wheelchair on my 21st birthday and that was my motivation every time I thought I couldn't do it.

"In celebration of my new found hobby of running, I decided to take on my biggest challenge while giving to a wonderful local charity which relies heavily on our support to get off the ground and save lives each day."

Julie has so far raised £700 and can still be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/Julie-Waters2 where family and friends have left messages of support.

Her father wrote: "We are so proud of your achievements and how far you have come. You are amazing."

Another supporter added: "Amazing cause, you are inspiration of determination and commitment."

 

Greenkeeper wins £18,000 in Superdraw

Photo: Robin and Celia Smith

A retired golf course greenkeeper from Hailsham who is battling cancer has won more than £18,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance's lottery.

Father-of-two Robin Smith, 69, who worked at Limpsfield Chart Golf Club in Surrey for 40 years, signed up to the life-saving charity's Regular Lottery and Superdraw when a canvasser called at his home three years ago.

He thought nothing more of his £8-a-month subscription until he received a call from Lottery Manager James Cook telling him he had won the top prize in Wednesday's Superdraw.

Robin won a grand total of £18,270 with lucky numbers 2, 10, 21 and 30 and is now planning to spend his winnings on a new conservatory at his Old Orchard Place home.

He said: "When James called to say I'd won, I laughed and it was quite difficult to take in. Even when he said it wasn't a joke I went on to the air ambulance website to check the lottery results.

"My wife and I were thinking of a 101 things we could spend the money on but I still didn't believe I'd won until the cheque arrived the next day.

"I'm in the middle of cancer treatment so this is a real boost. I've had a big operation on my liver and I'm waiting for another one on my bowel next month.

"I've been given an eight-week recovery period so the way I look at it is that I've got eight weeks to think about how I can spend the money.

"My bowel cancer was picked up by a free screening so I would urge everyone to take up this offer. It's something men can be very blasé about but it can save your life."

Robin is the second Superdraw winner from East Sussex so far this year after Eastbourne District General Hospital neurophysiotherapist Debbie Soave won the maximum £25,000 jackpot in February.

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. To join the lottery go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/lottery or call 01622 833833.

 

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Chairman

Photo: Tony Monteuuis and Dr Helen Bowcock

The Chairman for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, Tony Monteuuis, has stepped down after serving the Charity for nearly 12 years and yesterday officially handed his responsibilities to Trustee Dr. Helen Bowcock OBE.

Tony Monteuuis, a former High Sheriff of Kent, spent most of his business life running his own printing company in London. When Tony joined the board as Chairman in 2004 the charity operated one helicopter, serving Kent, during daylight hours only. During his time as Chairman, there have been many important milestones reached – the introduction of Doctors on board, expansion of the service into Surrey and Sussex with a second aircraft and base at Dunsfold Park, the subsequent move to Redhill Aerodrome, the introduction of blood on board both the charity's helicopters and the implementation of night operation.

The charity has also come a long way in this time and throughout significant operational development and change, has continued to raise the funds needed to support ongoing service delivery under Tony's leadership.

The milestones reached have not only seen more lives saved by the air ambulance but also improved the quality of survival for these patients. The best interests of patients have always been at the fore of Tony's actions and decisions.

Dr. Helen Bowcock OBE served as High Sheriff of Surrey in 2013/14. Through a family charity, The Hazelhurst Trust, she supports a number of local causes, is a member of the Council of Surrey University and a Governor of St Catherine's School. She is author of a report entitled "Hidden Surrey: Why local giving is needed to strengthen our communities", published in 2009. She was a founding di­rector of a family software company and managed its HR through a period of rapid growth. As a mature student she completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of Kent and is originally a graduate of Durham University.

Adrian Bell, Chief Executive of the Trust and new Chairman Dr. Helen Bowcock OBE, along with all at the charity, extend their grateful thanks to Tony and wish him all the very best for the future. Adrian Bell said: "Tony has been an outstanding Chairman and we are all hugely grateful to him for all he has done – especially for patients. We are all sorry to see him go but the Trust is delighted to welcome Helen as our new Chairman and I look forward to the charity developing further under her leadership."

 

Golfers help save seven lives

Photo, L-R: Air ambulance doctor Matt Miller, Effingham Golf Club 2015 Captain Alastair Weight, Golf Manager Steve Hoatson and Paramedic Simon Goodwin

Golfers at Effingham Golf Club have raised enough funds to help Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance potentially save seven lives.

General Manager Steve Slinger raised £2,614 alone by running and walking Hadrian’s Wall in just 24 hours and the rest was raised from the Captain’s Charity Day and various activities.

The club raised a grand total of £18,552 which 2015 Club Captain Alastair Weight and Golf Manager Steve Hoatson presented to the doctor and paramedic at the Redhill helicopter base.

Alastair said: “My brother in law and my friend’s daughter were both airlifted in separate incidents which reinforced my decision to support them.

“As a charity, they rely almost entirely on public donations and receive no statutory Government or National Lottery funding.”

Last year, the air ambulance was called to Effingham Golf Club after a player suffered a cardiac arrest on the 18-hole course.

He was given first aid by club members and staff using one of the club’s two defibrillators. He was then airlifted to the specialist cardiac unit at St George’s Hospital in London and has since recovered.

It costs £6.5million a year to keep both helicopters flying and each callout costs about £2,500.

 

Shoppers raise £1,719 for air ambulance

Photo: Air ambulance volunteers Pamela and Stewart Boyling pictured with the promotional car at The Orchards

Shoppers in Haywards Heath raised more than £1,700 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in a raffle to win a brand new convertible Mini Cooper.

Staff and volunteers for the life-saving charity sold tickets for the draw at the Orchards Shopping Centre last week (April 22nd – 23rd).

A grand total of £1,719.30 was raised in ticket sales and donations for the Win a Mini draw in aid of the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on public support.

The £19,000 three-door Caribbean Aqua 1.5 Mini Cooper, a brand new model, 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, reversing camera and rear sensors.

The charity is very grateful to Barretts of Canterbury, a Kent-based family-run business famous for its motor dealerships in Canterbury and Ashford who are supporting the year-long campaign.

Tickets for the raffle cost £5 each and can be purchased online at www.raffle.me.uk and the draw will take place on March 31st, 2017, making it a perfect present for the summer months.

Last year’s raffle was held to celebrate the charity’s Silver Jubilee and raised more than £210,000 – enough to fund 84 potentially lifesaving missions.

Lottery Manager James Cook said: “We are really grateful to the Orchards Shopping Centre for allowing us to come back for a second year to promote the Win a Mini raffle, and to the public for their support.”

 

 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Crash survivor's epic walk for air ambulance

Photo, L-R: Air ambulance paramedic Caroline Rose, Dr Nicky White, Vicky Day, Kayleigh Cooper and paramedic Jez Harwood

A 999 operator who survived a serious motorway crash is to embark on an 85-mile sponsored walk tomorrow (Tuesday) to raise funds for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) emergency medical adviser Vicky Day, 20, suffered a broken back after the car she was travelling in rolled over four times and smashed into a central reservation.

She was taken by land ambulance to King’s College Hospital in London and spent four months off work in a wheelchair following the accident on the M25, in January.

Last week, she finally shrugged off her crutches as she prepares for the epic walk which is also in aid of The Fire Fighters Charity in what is set to be an amazing story of triumph over adversity.

Vicky and seven friends will set off from the helipad at the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Hospital at Margate along a route taking in all the fire stations to Ashford where they will finish at the William Harvey Hospital helipad.

She said: “I also volunteer for the fire brigade and going out with them and working with SECAmb I’ve seen the work the air ambulance does and the difference they make.

“The doctors and paramedics are so dedicated and have the ability to make such a life-changing difference.

“We planned the walk last year but then I had my accident and called the challenge ‘Pigs might fly’ because there was more chance of that than me completing it.

“I suffered spinal cord damage, temporary nerve damage and paralysis in my left leg but I regained the feeling. I’m still undergoing physiotherapy now.”

Vicky will be joined by friends Kayleigh Cooper, Amber Cooper, Joel Whittaker, Ed Ashby, Hannah Rosewood, Melissa Scott and Rebecca Scoble, all aged 17 to 36 and from Sandwich and Deal.

To sponsor them go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/pigs-might-fly4

 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Shoppers raise £3,266 for air ambulance

Photo: A convertible Mini Cooper

Shoppers at Hempstead Valley raised more than £3,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in a raffle to win a brand new convertible Mini Cooper.

Staff and volunteers for the Marden-based charity sold tickets for the prize draw at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre last week (April 11th – 17th).

A grand total of £3,266.73 was raised in ticket sales and donations for the Win a Mini raffle in aid of the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on public support.

The £18,000 three-door Caribbean blue 1.5 Mini Cooper, a brand new model, 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, reversing camera and rear sensors.

The charity is very grateful to Barretts of Canterbury, a Kent-based family-run business famous for its motor dealerships in Canterbury and Ashford who are supporting the year-long campaign.

Tickets for the raffle cost £5 each and can be purchased online at www.raffle.me.uk and the draw will take place on March 31st, 2017, making it a perfect present for the summer months.

Last year’s raffle was held to celebrate the charity’s Silver Jubilee and raised more than £210,000 – enough to fund 84 potentially lifesaving missions.

Kent Air Ambulance was launched at Rochester Airport in December, 1989, and has attended more than 25,000 callouts since then.

Lottery Manager James Cook said: “We are really grateful to Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre for allowing us to come back for a second year to promote the Win a Mini raffle, and to the public for their support.”

 

Lorry driver wins £1,000 in air ambulance lottery

Photo: Ian and Janet

A lorry driver from Sittingbourne has won the £1,000 jackpot in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s lottery.

Ian Bennett, 65, signed up to the life-saving charity’s Regular Lottery and Superdraw when a canvasser called at his home two years ago.

He thought nothing more of his £8-a-month subscription until he received a call telling him he had won the jackpot in the Regular Lottery draw.

He said: “I’m still surprised because nothing like this happens to me. I’ve never won this much before, only about £25 on the National Lottery.

“I spend a lot of time on the motorways and I’ve seen accidents that the air ambulance has been called to.”

Ian and his partner Janet visited the helicopter base at Marden to collect their cheque and watched as the crew landed following a callout.

The couple’s windfall comes just a week after Sittingbourne security guard Nigel Long won more than £12,000 in the Superdraw.

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. To join the lottery go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/lottery or call 01622 833833.

 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Brighton Marathon runners raise £32,000 for air ambulance

Photo: Stuart Johnstone

A team of Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance patients, crew, staff and trustees helped raise more than £32,000 for the lifesaving charity by running Sunday’s Brighton Marathon and 10k.

More than 100 runners pounded the streets of the city in aid of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) which was an official Charity Partner of this year’s race.

One of them was biker Stuart Johnstone from Peacehaven who was airlifted after a road accident last June. He completed the 10k in 56mins,38 secs.

Nicky Mason, from Hastings, also ran the 10k after the air ambulance was called to her son when he fell from cliffs.

The line-up also included marathon runners Adrian Golding from Crawley whose brother was airlifted after a car accident, and Crawley News reporter Dave Comeau.

Ryan Bingham, from Maidstone, ran his first marathon after his father was airlifted and Adrian Oliver (Sittingbourne) took on his first 26-miler after losing 7 stone, and raised more than £3,500 in sponsorship.

The air ambulance 10k team included doctors Neal Durge, Leonieke Vlaanderen, Nicky White (Maidstone) 1hr,17mins and Duncan Bootland (Brighton) who ran in his flying suit, in a time of 55mins,8secs.

Paramedic runners were David Wright (Reigate) 1hr,11mins, Richard de Coverly (Cranbrook) 1hr,14mins, Craig Prentice (Copthorne) 56mins,41secs, Lewis Price (Dover), and Ben Macauley (53mins,2secs) and Caroline Rose (1hr,1min) both from Horsham.

Executive Director Lynne Harris (Gillingham), Governance Assistant Sophy Dunn (Tunbridge Wells), dispatcher Jess Garland (Sittingbourne), trustee Paul Barratt (Canterbury) and HR & Support Administrator Michael Small, (Rainham) 1hr,14mins, also put their best feet forward.

Marathon runners were Dr David Hunt (Farnham) 4hrs,4mins, Lottery Manager James Cook (Gillingham) 4hrs,58 mins, and paramedic Jo Griggs (Whitstable).

Among the corporate teams were Howard Cundey Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors, market research company Facts International (Ashford) The Holiday Inn (Rochester) and finance company ABN AMRO (Haywards Heath).

With a record number of runners this year, the air ambulance was grateful to Smart Aviation for providing a large marquee for the runners to receive refreshments and a massage after the race.

Each helicopter callout costs about £2,500 and the sum raised so far from this year’s race is enough to fund 12 potentially lifesaving missions.

Head of Charity Operations Bridget Pepper said: “I’m once again humbled by the efforts all of our team have put in this year.

“Whether it be the first time 10k runner or the seasoned marathon runner, they have all been truly amazing and we’ve heard stories to make us weep and tales to make us laugh.

“We’ve heard about and seen the fantastic amounts of money that they have been raising and on behalf of all our patients who will be helped in the future by their efforts, we would like to say a huge thank you.”

Anyone interested in running next year’s Brighton Marathon and 10k on April 9th should call Lauren Elphick on 01622 833833 or email laurene@kssairambulance.org.uk For more information visit www.kssairambulance.co.uk/involved/BrightonMarathon

Monday, 18 April 2016

Air ambulance lifted by £16,000 donation from Freemasons Grand Charity

Photo courtesy of Mark Howells of Photo Team

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance  (KSSA) has received a vital cash boost with a donation of £16,000 from the Freemasons Grand Charity. Freemasons from Kent, Surrey and Sussex recently visited the Air Ambulance at its headquarters in Marden to make the donation. Whilst there, they had the opportunity to look around one of the two helicopters and meet the crew and support staff who keep it flying.

Herne Bay Freemason Paul McKenzie said: "It was an absolute privilege to take part in this presentation and meet the crew. What a worthy cause and a truly remarkable team."

Responding to 999 calls and operating from Marden and Redhill in Surrey, KSSA's helicopters can reach any part of Kent, Surrey or Sussex in under 25 minutes. Since their first mission in 1989 they have responded to over 25,000 incidents and are now able to provide a response 24 hours a day. The charity has plans to improve the service further by establishing a single operational base at Paddock Wood in Kent.

KSSA Chief Executive Adrian Bell commented: "We are extremely grateful to Freemasonry for such a generous donation.

 "The support they have given us over the years is really appreciated, having previously donated many thousands of pounds to the charity.

 "This latest donation comes at a particularly important time for the charity as we commission a new helicopter and address our needs for a new base to allow us to ensure that the service we provide for patients is the best it can possibly be."

Speaking about the donation, Peter Rodd, Head of Charity for East Kent Freemasons said: "It is impossible to underestimate the value of the work the Air Ambulance in saving lives as well as providing emergency care when and where it is most needed. We hope this donation helps keep the service moving forward with its plans for the future."

 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Shoppers raise £2,500 for air ambulance

Photo: A convertible Mini Cooper

Shoppers in Maidstone raised almost £2,500 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in a raffle to win a brand new convertible Mini Cooper.

Volunteers for the Marden-based charity sold tickets for the prize draw at Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre earlier this month (April 1st, 2nd and 3rd).

A grand total of £2,496.31 was raised in ticket sales and donations from the first promotion for the Win a Mini raffle in aid of the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on public support.

The £18,000 three-door Caribbean blue 1.5 Mini Cooper, a brand new model, 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, reversing camera and rear sensors.

The charity is very grateful to Barretts of Canterbury, a Kent-based family-run business famous for its motor dealerships in Canterbury and Ashford who are supporting the year-long campaign.

Tickets for the raffle cost £5 each and can be purchased online at www.raffle.me.uk and the draw will take place on March 31st, 2017, making it a perfect present for the summer months.

Last year’s raffle was held to celebrate the charity’s Silver Jubilee and raised more than £210,000 – enough to fund 84 potentially lifesaving missions.

Air Ambulance Lottery Manager James Cook said: “As a local charity, we are really grateful to Fremlin Walk for kindly allowing us to come back for a second year to promote the Win a Mini raffle, and the public for their support.”

 

Crash survivor in TV medical documentary

A cyclist who suffered serious injuries after colliding with a car in Merstham is to be featured on Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E tonight (April 13th).

The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from St George’s Hospital in London where it follows patients treated in a 24-hour period.

Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras at one of the world’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments, the series captures stories of life, love and loss unfolding every day.

John, 43, suffered serious head and neck injuries after crashing face first into a car on Shepherds Hill.

Redhill-based Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s doctor and paramedic responded by car and gave him emergency treatment at the road-side.

The father-of-three’s injuries were so severe that he had to be put in an induced coma by the charity helicopter crew before being taken to St George’s by land ambulance.

24 Hours in A&E shows John arriving at the Major Trauma Centre where scans revealed he had multiple fractures to his face and spine, and a bleed on his brain.

His wife Suki rushed to St George’s as police closed the road in both directions following the accident last May. The driver of the car escaped unhurt but was “extremely shaken”.

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

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Security guard wins £12,000 in air ambulance lottery

Photo: Nigel and Lynne Long

A security guard from Sittingbourne has won more than £12,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s lottery.

Nigel Long, who works at Sittingbourne Retail Park, signed up to the life-saving charity’s Regular Lottery and Superdraw when a canvasser called at his home last year.

The 61-year-old father-of-three thought nothing more of his £8-a-month subscription until he received a call telling them he had won the top prize in yesterday’s draw.

Nigel won a grand total of £12,015.54 with random lucky numbers 3, 19, 20 and 28 after joining the lottery last June and is now planning a holiday to Canada to see his brother.

He said: “I was very shocked to win, I phoned my wife immediately and she couldn’t believe it. The most I’ve won before was about £70 when the National Lottery started.

“I support the air ambulance because we never know when we may need it in the future. I was at work once when a child got hit by a car on the main road and I helped clear one of the car parks for the helicopter to land.”

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. To join the lottery go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/lottery or call 01622 833833.

 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Air Ambulance lottery winners

Photo: Air ambulance Pilot Captain Kevin Goddard

A retired couple from Hartley have won more than £6,000 in Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance’s lottery.

Mr and Mrs Baker signed up to the life-saving charity’s Regular Lottery and Superdraw when a canvasser called at their home five years ago.

They thought nothing more of their £8-a-month subscription until they received a call telling them they had won the top prize in the midweek draw last month (March 23rd).

The couple won a grand total of £6,025.86 with lucky numbers 10, 14, 16 and 19 picked from family birthdays and the day they got married.

Mrs Baker said: “It’s a fantastic amount to win and a really nice surprise. I still can’t get my head round it, the most I’ve ever won before is £100 in a raffle.

“The reason why I signed up to the lottery is because I had a car accident about 10 years ago and the air ambulance was called.”

The couple celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary in September and are planning a joint celebration with their daughter who will be marking her 25th wedding anniversary.

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. There was no winner last week so the jackpot has rolled over until tomorrow and currently stands at £6,025.68.

To join the lottery go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk/lottery or call 01622 833833.