Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Flying instructor thanks team who saved his life

Photo, L-R: Nurses Helen Cunningham and Molly Bartlett,  Phil James, paramedic Craig Prentice and nurse Andy Kyeremeh

A flying instructor has been reunited with the team of medics who saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest at the wheel of his car.

Phil James, a father and grandfather, was on his way to work at Redhill Aerodrome when he suddenly fell ill, veered across the road and collided with another car in South Nutfield.

East Surrey Hospital nurses Molly Bartlett and Andy Kyeremeh, who were also on their way to work, were first on scene and carried out CPR along with Helen Cunningham, a nurse who was also passing by.

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance crew then arrived on scene and their doctor, Jonathan Leung, and paramedic, Craig Prentice, helped to successfully resuscitate Phil at the roadside. Phil was then flown to the specialist coronary care unit at St George's Hospital in London in under eight minutes, where he spent 13 days and had an internal defibrillator fitted.

Phil has since made a good recovery and recently met the people who had worked together to save his life, at the air ambulance base at Redhill.

He said: "Before the accident, I remember driving very slowly and just not feeling right. After that, the next thing I remember was waking up in St George's Hospital. I'm so grateful to Helen, Molly and Andy for acting so quickly, and to Jonathan and Craig for their subsequent response and further treatment – I really do owe them my life."

Phil and Craig (Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance paramedic), already knew each other through their connection in flying light aircraft. Phil said: "I bumped into Craig just the day before. He was with his colleague, Dr Jonathan Leung and introduced us. I had a good chat with them and ended the conversation by saying that I hoped I never needed them. The very next day, I did need them."

Phil had no history of heart trouble prior to suffering a cardiac arrest. He is unable to drive or fly for six months but is expected to make a full recovery.

Craig said: "When someone has a cardiac arrest, it is very much a team effort within the chain of survival from the initial first aid, to the ambulance service arriving, to the onward treatment at hospital. It was great to see Phil back on his feet and looking well so soon."

Fiona Allsop, chief nurse at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, added: "I am so proud to know that the selfless actions of Molly and Andy made such a significant difference to Phil and I am delighted to learn that he is on the road to recovery."


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Borstal Bowls Club raises enough funds to save 4 lives

Photo: Air ambulance volunteer Simon Hancock pictured with members of Borstal Bowls Club cheque presentation

Members of Borstal Bowls Club have raised enough funds to help the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance save four lives.

Last month (15th July), they once again held their annual charity match in memory of a founding member.

They gathered at the Wouldham Road club again last weekend (5th August) to present £1,258.27 to the charity, taking their total funds raised to £11,852.90.

Each incident attended by the charity costs in the region of £2,500 so the substantial sum raised over the years is enough to fund 4 potentially life-saving missions.

John Platt, President and Chairman of Borstal Bowls Club, said: "The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance is a life-saving charity we can't do without. It's an essential service and you never know when you may need it.

"It's a marvellous cause that we do this for because they make a real difference to the community. I'm so pleased that we have raised this amount, which is tremendous for a small club and deserves recognition."

Nick Turrell, Community Fundraising Manager at the charity, said "We are so grateful to Borstal Bowls Club for their continued outstanding efforts in raising funds for us. We couldn't continue our vital work without the wonderful support of local groups."

Borstal Bowls Club was founded in 1990 and the green was opened by the Mayoress of Rochester who bowled the first wood.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Millbrook Garden Centre complete 60-mile Charity Walk for air ambulance

Photo, L-R: The Millbrook Walkers: From left to right: Tracey Bowler, Liz Dowling, Tammy Woodhouse, Ben Woodhouse, Kerry Smith, Louise English, Christy Briley

Congratulations to the Millbrook Garden Company staff members who managed to walk between all three of their Garden Centres, from Millbrook Gravesend in Kent, to Millbrook Crowborough in East Sussex via their Staplehurst, Kent, centre this weekend.

The team made the epic 60-mile walk over 3 days - Friday 4th to Sunday 6th August with the aim of raising money for the company's chosen charity Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

Each journey made by the life-saving Air Ambulance costs £2,500 and they receive no Government funding, relying almost entirely on charitable donations and fundraising. Millbrook therefore set a fundraising target of £5,000 - enough for launching the Air Ambulance twice. The money is still coming in but so far the total is nearly £4,564 – a fantastic achievement - and the team are confident that those aching legs, blisters and sore feet will take them to their £5,000 target and possibly beyond!

Millbrook at Crowborough was the original Garden Centre in the Millbrook stable. Millbrook owners, Dick and Sue Allen, bought the Gravesend site in 1994 and realised it would be possible to walk between the sites using part of the Weald Way, but nobody had taken up the challenge until now.

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), responding to patients who have suffered trauma or serious medical emergencies. They operate 24 hours a day, ensuring they can be there for the most critically ill and injured people in the region.

They operate two aircraft – one from their Marden base in daylight hours, and the other from their Redhill base 24 hours a day. This means that no matter where you are in Kent, Surrey or Sussex, you are never more than 20 minutes away from the life-saving care that only they can bring directly to your side.

The Millbrook team hopes that their walk will inspire others to support this charity and visit their Just Giving page at to donate.