Association of Air Ambulances Awards of Excellence
The Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence are a celebration of all those that work in the sector. There are eleven categories with awards range from charity staff member of the year to campaign of the year to pilot of the year. We have been lucky enough to be shortlisted for three awards! This year’s ceremony will be held Monday 18th November at the Millennium Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London.
Air Ambulance Doctor of the Year
Pre-hospital Care Consultant, Matt O’Meara has been shortlisted for this year’s award after he was faced with a particularly challenging case. Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) had been tasked to a man that was trapped between two lorries in an industrial yard. His right lower leg was completely trapped between the side of his cab and the underside of an adjacent lorry. Noting he was unconscious, pale and barely breathing, Matt was clear that the man had an immediately life-threatening haemorrhage. He was minutes, if not seconds, away from a cardiac arrest from which it would have been impossible to resuscitate him.
Matt thought ahead, and ‘outside the box’. Realising he couldn’t move the patient to the blood for some time, he asked himself if he could bring the blood to the patient? That sounds like simple question, but doing that in the middle of a stressful situation shows his ability and experience.
When the patient was freed, he went into traumatic cardiac arrest, with no pulse. Matt was unable to obtain intravenous access to intubate the patient because their veins had collapsed. Matt and Jay (EHAAT Critical Care Paramedic) used an advanced technique called a central venous line, something commonly done in hospital but rarely outside it. This involves putting a line into a vein in the neck under the collar bone rather than the arm. It carries more risk but is more likely to be successful in a patient who has lost a lot of blood. Matt managed to do this at the first attempt. At this stage even large veins would have been collapsing down, meaning that millimetre precision was required.
Simon Walsh, Pre-hospital Care Consultant: “I have treated many patients who have been so severely injured they have gone into cardiac arrest, and I don’t think any have survived from this sort of situation.”
Although the patient subsequently required a below the knee amputation on his most badly damaged leg, EHAAT is delighted to say that he made a good recovery and is back with his family.
Fingers crossed for Matt on Monday 18th November.
Charity Volunteer of the Year
As a dedicated volunteer with EHAAT for 17 years, Teresa James made a huge contribution to our charity. Sadly Teresa passed away in December 2018, but we feel putting her forward for the award is a very fitting way to remember her and the huge support she gave to EHAAT as a volunteer. Her daughter Tracy, who is also a volunteer with EHAAT, told us how there were always collection tins in the house and a box of merchandise in the hallway ready for the next event.
“She was absolutely dedicated to it. She would get out her diary and tell you that she couldn’t go on holiday on this date or that because she had to do something for the air ambulance. It was that important to her.”
Teresa was a familiar face at our annual Motorcycle Run, where she played a major part in increasing it’s profile. Every year she and fellow volunteer Ruthie went out in all weathers to wherever bikers gathered to spread the word, sign up participants and sell t-shirts. Teresa developed a fantastic rapport with the motorcycle community, and many of them knew her by name.
Teresa helped enthusiastically with every aspect of the charity’s work. The 100 collection tins around Chelmsford which she looked after brought in an amazing £51,000 over the years. She attended numerous community events and cheque presentations, and was always ready to help office staff with whatever jobs needed doing, from packing envelopes and goody bags for events to counting cash. Teresa didn’t simply respond to requests for assistance. She proactively looked for new opportunities, often suggesting events for the Fundraising Team to attend or putting EHAAT forward to be selected as the main charity to be at an event.
No-one who encountered Teresa could doubt her commitment to the charity. She had a very big heart and a very large piece of that was reserved for EHAAT.
Outstanding Young Person Award
We are privileged to have so many young fundraisers from our communities who raise funds for us with their schools. We thought that by nominating a group of young fundraisers it would help recognise how much support all air ambulance charities receive from schools fundraising up and down the country.
Chauncy School in Ware have been committed supporters of EHAAT for more than a decade. All the pupils at the school get behind the fundraising, which began after the deputy head at the school saw someone airlifted by an air ambulance. More recently, the sister of a staff member was airlifted by EHAAT which also drove the school forward with its fundraising plans.
The passion of the staff has filtered down to the pupils who are all too keen to help and very much aware of what a difference their support makes to EHAAT. Since 2008 pupils from the school have raised over £12,000!
They have enthusiastically supported a range of fundraising activities, including: bag packing at a local supermarket, sponsored walks and a car wash. Each year the school holds a Community Day during which students, staff, governors and parents help with over dozens of community projects today and invite primary school children in to be taught by students and staff.
Jeannie Philip, Fundraising Coordinator at EHAAT said: “I do a lot with schools fundraising in Hertfordshire and am blown away by the spirit, enthusiasm and willingness the Chauncy young fundraisers show us every year, they are a pleasure to work with and very well versed in the fundraising world now. They are fantastic ambassadors for their school and community and we really value the support they have given us over the last 11 years.”
Keep your fingers crossed for us at this year’s awards!
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Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1108989). Registered company in England and Wales (05397840). Registered address: Flight House, The Business Centre, Earls Colne Business Park, Earls Colne, Colchester CO6 2NS.