“Our two helicopters fly the emergency department to the patient and without us you would be hearing about more loss of life,” says Kay Marter, the East Anglian Air Ambulance’s (EAAA) Bedfordshire area fundraising manager.
The EAAA is a charity which runs helicopter emergency medical services 365 days a year covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, and recently made headlines when it was revealed Prince William will be joining the crews.
With a medical crew of highly trained critical care paramedics and doctors, emergencies can be reached in 25 minutes. But with an average cost of £2,448 per mission, this special charity relies purely on the support of the general public.
Kay said: “Our helicopters fly to incidents in remote areas which are inaccessible to land ambulances to save lives. We have a highly-skilled clinician on board who we can take to the roadside or wherever the medical problem may be.
“We met a woman at Oakley Motorcycle Festival who we had flown out to as she had suffered potentially life-changing leg injuries. She was just so grateful. She gave us a big hug and told us we had saved her life and her legs. My colleague had to leave the area as it was quite emotional. For me it was humbling and re-inforces why we do what we do. Our pilots and doctors are unsung heroes.”
Hard-working mum of three Kay, an NHS nurse for 20 years, added: “I always wanted to be a nurse. Eventually I wanted a change in career but it had to be related to the caring profession.” A chance meeting with the chief executive of the EAAA ultimately led her to become area fundraising manager after learning all aspects of the charity to start with - including helping talk to different organisations and sourcing volunteers.
Kay said: “Public speaking was quite daunting to start with - an early speech I did was to 400 people. Somehow I got through it and I enjoy it now - but the messge remains the same: Our helicopters are a neccesity for the emergency services and help to save lives.”
The EAAA is also due to have a very famous pilot fly for them soon - HRH Prince William. Kay said: “Everyone at the EAAA is absolutely delighted Prince Wiliam has chosen to fly for us next year. It is a huge honour. My kids are very proud of me and they are a great help in spreading the EAAA message to their friends - but they keep asking me if they can meet Prince William!”
The next EAAA fundraising event is Saturday, October 25 - Stamperama at The Rufus Centre in Flitwick from 10am to 4pm.