Playing Christmas carols helped Friary Guildford Band support the Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust with a donation of £1,116 recently. The Band has had a long association with the Air Ambulance dating back nine years, which coincidentally was just four months before one of the players had to be airlifted to hospital following a serious mountain biking accident.
Accepting the cheque from Band Chairman Nigel Stevens, KSSAAT volunteer Kelvin Bossey explained that it costs in the region of £6.5 million per year to keep the Air Ambulance operating, and that almost all the Trust’s income comes from donations, legacies and their own in-house lotteries. The latest helicopter in service, the AW169 has greatly enhanced the service with the ability to treat casualties inside the aircraft, rather than in challenging weather and environmental conditions, since its spacious cabin provides 360° access to patients. Flying further, faster and for longer, they can reach and treat even more patients and deliver them to the best possible hospital faster.
Nigel Stevens commented: ‘Kelvin told us that a typical mission costs in the order of £2,500 so we’ve certainly helped to get a helicopter into the air. We’ll be playing at Christmas time again this year, so hopefully we’ll raise sufficient to bring it safely back to base again! Seriously, though, it’s a fantastic service and one which is very close to our hearts for obvious reasons. We are delighted to be able to play our small part in keeping it running, by doing what we enjoy and by the generosity of those who listen to us.’