Twenty Years of the Kent Air Ambulance

Heart's been finding out about some of the people who have been saved by the Kent Air Ambulance which is celebrating its 20th birthday.

As part of the celebrations the charity are holding their first awards night on Saturday (8th May) to recognise some of the people who raise money for them.

The Kent helicopter, which is based in Marden, costs £1.7million a year to keep them flying. The trust also run another helicopter to go to emergencies in Surrey and Sussex.


22 year old Kayleigh Griffiths from Snodland suffered a heart attack, aged just 22.

Kayleigh Griffiths kent air ambulance The kitchen fitter was driving across a field in Hildenborough after rescuing her friend who had fallen off a horse, when she suffered cardiac arrest at the wheel.

Her boyfriend pulled on the handbrake as the car headed for a ditch.

A friend managed to resuscitate Kayleigh before the Kent Air Ambulance arrived and took her to the Royal London hospital.

Her heart was beating at 360 beats a minute - the norm is 60-100.

It too the helicopter just 15 minutes to get Kayleigh to the Royal London, where she spent two weeks before being allowed home.

It was the crucial first aid she received from those first on scene which almost certainly saved her from brain damage.

Kayleigh has visited the crew to thank them for saving her life.

 


Trevor Taylor from Chatham was one of the first patients to be helped by the air ambulance.

His light aircraft crashed with three passengers on board as he took off from Rochester Airport on 11th May 1990.

Trevor Taylor Trevor recalled: "I remember hitting the ground and then the plane turning over. It didn't feel real, at the time it just seemed like watching a plane crash in a film.

"I was worried because it was pretty serious bit it all happened so quickly. It took quite a few minutes to get us out because the plane was upside down."

Although the passengers on the plane hadn't been badly hurt, Trevor had sustained serious injuries and was flown to a hospital in London where he had surgery after a scan showed he'd broken his neck.

Trevor added: "Everyone kept saying how lucky I was to be alive but I thought that if it'd been lucky, I would not have crashed.

"I'd never actually flown in a helicopter before and I always thought they were noisy and vibrated a lot but it was a fantastically smooth journey.

"The air ambulance probably saved me from permanent paralysis as I seriously doubt that I would have safely made it to London by road ambulance.


23 year-old Adam Skinner says if it wasn't for the air ambulance he would be here, after he suffered horrific injuries when the motorbike he was riding crashed with a car on the A28 near his home in Bethersden.

It happened as he headed towards Ashford last summer and the road had to be closed for almost five hours while police Adam Skinner investigated what happened.

Adam was taken to a hospital in London where x-rays showed he'd broken his left arm, smashed his left tibia and fibia, broken his right foot and suffered a cracked pelvis. He also needed a blood transfusion and skin graft and spent five weeks in hospital.

Adam says: "The next thing I remember is waking up in hospital a week later in a drug-induced coma. it was like being re-born because I had to learn to walk again."

A month before the accident, Adam had donated £80 to the air ambulance in memory of a colleague who died, he said: "I think it's an excellent service, if it was not for them I'm 100 per cent sure I would not be here. I can't thank them enough."

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