Photo: Dr Malcolm Tunnicliff pictured with a response car donated by the Lions
Lions clubs across the South East have successfully raised a quarter of a million pounds to support the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in its ambition to deliver a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) 24 hours a day.
South East Lions Clubs pledged to raise £250,000 over a 10-year period in June 2012. The charity began operating a 24-hour service just over a year later and the Lions have now reached their fundraising target – five years ahead of schedule.
Some of the club members were given a tour of the Redhill-based aircraft this week, with a presentation by Director of Operations, Leigh Curtis, who told them that more than 1,600 patients had now benefitted from the 24-hour service.
Howard Lee, Chairman of the South East Lions Night Flying Appeal, said: "Lions are all about helping those in need within the community, which is exactly what the Air Ambulance is there for. We are really pleased to have been the catalyst to the development of the night flying service, and we will continue to work with them in other ways to help save more lives."
Prior to night operation, the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance operated two helicopters, with two crews working during daylight hours only. Then, in 2013, the charity replaced one of its aircraft with a newer helicopter, with night flying capabilities, covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex from Redhill.
Recently, some of the £250,000 raised by the Lions was used to buy two response cars to allow the doctor and paramedic team to deliver enhanced care to patients throughout the night.
Lynne Harris, Director of Income Generation for the charity, said: "We are so grateful to the Lions for achieving their incredible fundraising target at this early stage. They should be immensely proud of the difference they have made to those who need us. We are delighted that our partnership with the Lions is set to continue."
Lions Clubs across the South East and South London have been raising funds and providing services and facilities to their local communities for nearly 70 years, helping to make a difference to those in need and in less fortunate circumstances.