2017 – A Year in Highlights
2017 was a phenomenal year for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT), and we couldn’t have done any of it without the support of the public and businesses from the region we serve.
Let’s take a look back at some of the standout moments throughout the past 12 months…
At the beginning of the year we introduced our brand-new Patient Liaison Manager roles. Adam Carr and Tony Stone, two of our Critical Care Paramedics, have since split their flying time with office time to support patients and their families through their recovery period and beyond.
We simply couldn’t operate as a Charity without the support of our dedicated volunteers. In February, we took the opportunity to host a belated Christmas dinner for them – bringing together volunteers from both counties to thank them for their hard work and update them on the Charity’s plans for the future.
This March was a huge month for us. Not only did we rebrand the Charity – unifying Essex Air Ambulance and Herts Air Ambulance for the first time – but we also opened a brand new Charity Shop in Royston. We also witnessed our Critical Care Paramedic Gaynor Wareham lift the Strictly Air Ambulance glitterball after bringing down the house with Tina Turner’s Proud Mary!
We couldn’t discuss April without focusing on the London Marathon. 13 intrepid runners took on the challenge for us, and raised over £37,982! Thank you to our gold bond runners, and those who ran in aid of EHAAT in their own place, for your dedication and generosity. You can find out more about 2018’s Virgin Money London Marathon here.
We welcomed four new Critical Care Paramedics to the fold after a grueling selection process in 2016. Joe Dowsing, Chris Keeliher, James Samouelle and Colin Treece have been wearing their flight suits with pride ever since! Our annual Welwyn Garden City to North Weald Motorcycle Run and Family Fun Day exceeded all of our expectations, attracting over 800 bikers and raising an amazing £13,000 for the Charity.
It felt like our entire year had been pointing towards June. On Sunday 25th, we hosted over 3,000 people at Audley End House and Gardens to unveil our first ever purchased helicopter, the AgustaWestland 169 and to celebrate 20 Years of Saving Lives. This very special event also marked the start of our Year of Celebrations and, the very next day, the Crew and Charity Staff kicked off the Heli Tour, showcasing the AgustaWestland 169 in 20 locations across Essex and Hertfordshire in just one week.
July saw the end of our Heli Tour and, as soon as the AgustaWestland 169 was back in the hangar full-time, it meant that training for our Crew could start. Clinical Operations Manager, Scott McIlwaine reveals how decisions were made, and the differences between aircraft, in our last edition of Flight for Life Magazine.
After a month of training, checks and tests, the AgustaWestland 169 became operational on Thursday 24th August, signalling a new era for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance.
Our newly-branded MD902 Explorer went live on the 1st September, so we knew it would be a good month. We collaborated with other regional Air Ambulances for the first time in history to promote National Air Ambulance Week, we spent a few days making this Charity video with Leonardo, our Ford Dunton to Harwich Motorcycle Run and Family Fun Day raised almost £39,000, you could sign up online to our Flight for Life Lottery for the first time, and our new Chair of Trustees, Jonathan Trower, successfully hosted his first board meeting.
On the 10th October we marked 20,000 missions attended as a Charity – a milestone we could never have dreamed of without your ongoing support. We unveiled our 2018 Trek, Master Mont Blanc, opened a new shop in Buntingford, and started a new project with the help of the Rotary Club of Royston, where we aim to provide defibrillators for the public to access around our Charity Shops.
We were thrilled to walk away from November’s Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence with two coveted awards in hand. EHAAT was recognised for Air Ambulance Paramedic of the Year, which went to our Critical Care Paramedic and Patient Liaison Manager Adam Carr, and was the second year running that the Charity had won the title. We also picked up the Innovation of the Year award, which praised our Aeromedical Conference for providing an insight into mental health in the industry in 2017. After months of deliberating, colour changing, and printing, our rebranded (blue!) Charity collection tins were released and will replace our old yellow and red models going forward.
In December, after a busy year, we finally caught our breath and officially opened our new Church End office. After several happy years in Buntingford, our Hertfordshire Fundraising Team now have a new place to call home, and they couldn’t be happier!
Whatever part you’ve played in our 20th year, thank you. We couldn’t operate without you.