Air am­bu­lance’s emer­gency ap­peal to keep life-sav­ing ser­vice in the sky

The char­ity has saved thou­sands of lives in its 30-year his­tory and is now call­ing for help in th­ese dif­fi­cult times

West Sussex County Times - - Feature - Juliet Mead www.craw­ley­ob­server.co.uk craw­ley­ob­server@jpi­me­dia.co.uk

The air am­bu­lance serv­ing Sus­sex is on call day and night to give first-class emer­gency med­i­cal treat­ment in the most dif­fi­cult to reach places, be­fore quickly trans­port­ing pa­tients to the most ap­pro­pri­ate spe­cial­ist hospi­tal.

The team is fully equipped to save lives, but 89 per­cent of its fund­ing comes from the pub­lic’s gen­eros­ity and with tra­di­tional fundrais­ing meth­ods on hold amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, Air Am­bu­lance Kent Sur­rey and Sus­sex (KSS) has launched an emer­gency ap­peal to keep its vi­tal ser­vice run­ning.

This is the first time an emer­gency ap­peal has been launched in the char­ity’s 30year his­tory.

Fol­low­ing a gov­ern­ment grant of £140,000, KSS has al­ready raised more than £1mil­lion, just over a third of the to­tal short­fall it was pre­dict­ing.

Many lo­cals are still do­ing their bit to fundraise for the char­ity but more help is needed to keep KSS in the air.

David Welch, chief ex­ec­u­tive at KSS, said: “We sim­ply can­not thank peo­ple enough for the sup­port we have re­ceived so far.

“When we launched our ap­peal, we aimed to raise £535,000 ini­tially to meet the im­me­di­ate ad­di­tional costs of con­tin­u­ing our life-sav­ing ser­vice dur­ing the pan­demic and we have re­ceived an amaz­ing re­sponse.

“It is truly hum­bling how gen­er­ous peo­ple can be. We’ve re­ceived help from a wide range of sources and in a va­ri­ety of forms – from fi­nan­cial do­na­tions from our sup­port­ers and the com­mu­ni­ties we serve, through to PPE from local busi­nesses, the loan of four ve­hi­cles from Jaguar Land Rover and a large sup­ply of oil and AdBlue for our re­sponse ve­hi­cles from Moove.

“Ev­ery sin­gle do­na­tion, ev­ery sin­gle gift has helped, and we are so thank­ful to ev­ery­one who has re­sponded so far.

“Yet de­spite this, and the con­tri­bu­tion from gov­ern­ment, with the con­tin­ued im­pact of the pan­demic, we still face a sig­nif­i­cant short­fall of £1.9mil­lion.”

KSS serves a pop­u­la­tion of 4.8mil­lion plus those trav­el­ling through the area. It op­er­ates three he­li­copters and four land ve­hi­cles with a team of 12 pi­lots, 17 doc­tors, 14 Emer­i­tus doc­tors and 14 paramedics. Its work would not be pos­si­ble with­out the 185 ac­tive vol­un­teers.

Over the past 30 years, KSS has at­tended more than 30,000 life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dents .

Mr Welch added: “Last year, we were called out to help more than 2,500 peo­ple in lifethreat­en­ing sit­u­a­tions across Kent, Sur­rey and Sus­sex.

“We have an out­stand­ing, highly skilled med­i­cal team and we are de­ter­mined to

Let’s work to­gether to con­tinue to save lives in this un­prece­dented time

DAVID WELCH KSS chief ex­ec­u­tive

It was there for us when our fam­ily needed it – I am just so grateful

AMY HARDWICK Wife of Jim, whose live was saved by KSS

con­tinue to de­liver the best pos­si­ble out­comes for our pa­tients and to con­tinue to run our char­ity ef­fi­ciently and re­spon­si­bly.

“To se­cure our fu­ture, we ur­gently need your con­tin­ued sup­port – there are so many ways you can join those in the com­mu­nity who have al­ready sup­ported and got in­volved. Let’s work to­gether to con­tinue to save lives dur­ing this dif­fi­cult and un­prece­dented time.”

One of those fundrais­ers work­ing to help re­duce the short­fall is five-year-old

Mur­ray Miles, from East Sus­sex, who has raised £7,284, af­ter the air am­bu­lance helped save his dad’s life.

In­spired by his dad, a sport­ing en­thu­si­ast, Mur­ray de­cided to run a marathon over the course of five days.

He suc­cess­fully com­pleted his laps on April 30, run­ning more than five miles a day in a field at the back of his house.

He com­pleted the 26-mile run in five hours, 31 min­utes.

Mur­ray’s mum, Emily Miles, said: “Mur­ray’s dad, Noel, is still in hospi­tal re­cov­er­ing from his ac­ci­dent but we can’t thank KSS enough for be­ing quick to the scene and help­ing to save his life.

“Noel has taken part in six Iron­man triathlons and more than 25 marathons so Mur­ray de­cided to do this chal­lenge to be like Daddy who is his hero. We are all so proud of Mur­ray and amazed at his en­ergy, en­thu­si­asm and pos­i­tiv­ity through­out the whole chal­lenge. It truly is an amaz­ing achieve­ment for some­one so young.

“It has been a cathar­tic ex­pe­ri­ence shar­ing what has been a very pri­vate and dif­fi­cult time for our fam­ily to now feeling we are start­ing to emerge from the other side, tak­ing charge of our lives again. With Mur­ray’s mag­nif­i­cent fundrais­ing ef­forts we can give back to the char­ity that has given us so much and hope­fully we can have a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on other peo­ple’s lives.”

Mur­ray said: “I am proud that I ran the marathon and I wasn’t at all tired!”

Lynne Har­ris, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of in­come gen­er­a­tion at KSS, said: “Mur­ray is a de­light­ful lit­tle boy with an in­fec­tious, pos­i­tive spirit.

“We are so hon­oured to have wit­nessed his de­ter­mi­na­tion and car­ing na­ture.”

The air am­bu­lance has saved thou­sands of lives in Sus­sex over the years and fam­i­lies are for­ever grateful for their work, Jim Hardwick, from Hor­sham, was out cy­cling when he fell off his bike and suf­fered a se­ri­ous head in­jury. His wife Amy was nine months preg­nant at the time and at home look­ing af­ter their tod­dler.

Amy said: “With­out the fast re­sponse from this amaz­ing char­ity, I don’t know what kind of brain in­jury Jim could have been left with – or whether he would still be with us at all. It’s thanks to all those peo­ple who sup­port the air am­bu­lance that it was there for us when our fam­ily needed it. I am just so grateful.”

KSS has been rated out­stand­ing by the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion (CQC) in all five of its in­spec­tion cri­te­ria - safe, ef­fec­tive, car­ing, re­spon­sive and well-led.

It is the only air am­bu­lance ser­vice to have achieved this. KSS is the busiest in the UK and is also the only UK air am­bu­lance ser­vice to fly 24/7.

Its world-lead­ing doc­tors and paramedics are highly skilled and can per­form hospi­tal-level pro­ce­dures at the scene of an in­ci­dent, in­clud­ing ad­min­is­ter­ing gen­eral anaes­thetic and open heart surgery, of­ten in chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

Dr He­len Bow­cock, chair of the board of trustees, said: “In this event­ful year, which has brought un­prece­dented chal­lenges for KSS, we have pulled to­gether as one or­gan­i­sa­tion and I could not be more proud to be chair.

“Through­out the coro­n­avirus cri­sis our staff have worked tire­lessly to op­er­ate the life-sav­ing ser­vice and to raise es­sen­tial funds, un­der David Welch’s ex­cep­tional and in­spir­ing lead­er­ship.

“As a char­ity which grew out of the com­mu­nity we are re­liant upon, and im­mensely grateful for, all of the sup­port we re­ceive from local res­i­dents. On be­half of the board I want to ex­press our sin­cere thanks to our very gen­er­ous donors and vol­un­teers through­out Sus­sex and be­yond.”

Visit www.aakss.org.uk/ ap­peal to find out how you can help raise funds for our local air am­bu­lance.

One of the three he­li­copters two mem­bers of the team help­ing to save lives in our county

David Welch, CEO at KSS

David Welch, CEO, and He­len Bow­cock, chair of the board of trustees

The KSS team has con­tin­ued through­out the coro­n­avirus pan­demic

Five-year-old fundrais­ing hero Mur­ray Miles

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