1. Weird Woollies fundraise for Air Ambulance!

    April 14, 2013 by Tracy

    Kenny-McDonald-Andy-Stapleton-from-left-top-Paramedics-Leonie-German-and-Mark-Williams-Annette-Plaistow-Trapaud-and-Pilot-Phil-Merritt-2In 2008 Bus Engineer Andy Stapleton from Verwood was airlifted from Poole to Dorchester by the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance following a motorcycle accident having suffered fractures to his shoulder and arm.  So when he won £200 in a competition with his colleagues at Wilts & Dorset’s Poole depot to design and wear the weirdest woolly jumper, created by his wife and children, he decided to donate his winnings to the air ambulance service.  On hearing of Andy’s intentions, Area Engineering Manager Kenny McDonald agreed that the company would double the donation.

    Andy and Kenny were invited to meet the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance team at Henstridge Airfield where they presented the £400 cheque and were given a tour of the facilities accompanied by fundraising co-ordinator, Annette Plaistow-Trapaud.

    Pilot Phil Merritt was joined by paramedics Leonie German and Mark Williams to explain how the service works to come to the aid of between 3-4 incidents a day.  It’s thought that the current helicopter, an EC-135, was the one that carried Andy to Dorchester hospital.

    Andy said: “I don’t remember a lot about the flight except that I could relax knowing that I was in very safe, expert hands.  I’m delighted to make this contribution to their life saving service.”

  2. Uncle conquers fear of heights for rescued Watchet-baby Sam.

    April 5, 2013 by Tracy

    Despite an absolute dread of heights, Matt Stevens (33) put his own fears to one side and completed a skydive at Dunkeswell Airfield on Sunday raising money for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and Devon Air Ambulance Trust.Matt Stevens and Nephew Sam

    Matt is the uncle of Sam Cooper-Stevens, the six-month old baby whose pushchair was blown by a freak gust of wind into the sea at Watchet Harbour at 8.17am on Sunday 27th January.   As the drama unfolded, and Sam’s mum, Kate, frantically screamed for help, Dockmaster George Reeder, 63, raced on his bicycle to the scene and jumped in to the icy water below.  With waves still crashing, George tied a rope to Sam’s pushchair and onlookers were able to hoist him back up onto dry land. Off-duty psychiatric nurse and neighbour of the family, Tanya Allen, gently started mouth-to-mouth and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the tiny baby.

    Meanwhile, Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance were attending another incident, so Devon Air Ambulance was tasked.  Pilot Dan Smith landed the helicopter on the narrow harbour wall as time was critical.  Little Sam was airlifted to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and arrived only 55 minutes after the first emergency call had been received.

    Miraculously, the family’s prayers were answered as Sam fought for his life and has recovered – blissfully unaware of everything that he has been through.

    After the incident, it was decided to raise funds for both the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and Devon Air Ambulance Trust and the sky dive was planned.  After a four and a half hour delay, which added to the anxiety, the jump took place.

    “Although the delay made me more anxious, going up in the plane I realised I just had to do it.  Lots of family and friends were there including Martyn (Sam’s dad), Kate (mum) and little Sam himself.  As I was waiting I just kept thinking it was all about Sam.  Within half a second of falling, it turned from panic to pure enjoyment.

    “It was absolutely amazing – the word I would use is surreal.  I would recommend it to anyone and I would love to do it again – six months ago, I never thought I would say that.”

    Matt is still collecting sponsorship money, but he is hopefully to make his £1,500 target.  If you would like to show him your support, please visit his Just Giving page and make a donation.

    A big Well Done from us all!