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Top Charity Award For Air Ambulance Seeking Vital Funds With 30 to 30 Challenge

Published on: 9 Sep, 2020
Updated on: 9 Sep, 2020

Aircrew walking away from a Leonardo AW169 aircraft introduced in 2017. KSS was one of the first air ambulance services to operate the new helicopter. The higher speed and enhanced fuel performance offered by the AW169 increases the distances they are able to cover and reduces the time it takes to get patients to hospital.

The life-saving Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) has won the prestigious Charity Times award as Charity of the Year for consistent delivery of outstanding and pioneering service and all-round excellence, particularly over the past year.

The award is a substantial endorsement for the non-profit organisation (present income £10 million) which still faces a financial shortfall in its 30th year and needs vital funds to cover the significant shortfall so they can continue to save lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The KSS present fundraising initiative, the 30 for 30 Challenge, encourages people to take on activities inspired by the number 30 during September. The fundraiser focuses on health and well-being. People of all ages from across Kent, Surrey and Sussex have signed up for the 30 for 30 Challenge and KSS is hoping more will sign up.

Among those involved are:

  • Cary Kwaramba-Downs from Greenhithe, who is running 30 minutes a day for the 30 days in September to thank KSS for saving her boyfriend’s life after a serious motorbike accident;
  • Sam Egbochue from Hadlow Down, whose teenage son is a former KSS patient, is doing 30 squats a day with a 30kg bar for 30 days; and
  • Nine-year-old Scarlett Fuller from Ash who is cycling 30 miles over 30 days, inspired to raise funds for KSS after the charity treated her grandfather when he was thrown from a horse on West Wittering beach.

The KSS team themselves are also getting behind the 30 for 30 Challenge. Employees, volunteers and trustees from across the organisation have been invited to collectively walk 30 million steps to celebrate KSS’s 30th anniversary year.

On another potentially lifesaving mission, KSS aircrew member looks out on the South-East countryside.

The CEO, David Welch, is cycling 30 miles a day and the charity’s chair of the Board of Trustees, Helen Bowcock, will swim 300 lengths of a swimming pool. She was going to be in the two mile Serpentine Swim to raise funds for KSS but this annual event has been cancelled so she will swim the equivalent distance but in less fishy waters.

Mr Welch said: “Winning Charity Times’ Charity of the Year Award, a highly competitive national one, is the icing on the cake for our anniversary year. As always, we must continue to look to the future, and safeguarding the future of KSS remains our priority.

An earlier MD902 Explorer, here pictured recovering a casualty from Shalford in 2015, is still in service acting as a back up to the later Leornado aircraft in KSS’s three aircraft fleet.

“At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic we faced a shortfall of £2.9m but thanks to the immense generosity and dedication of our supporters we have been able to raise £1.5m so far. Despite this success we still need to address our outstanding £1.4m shortfall to ensure we can continue to save lives.

“We are so grateful for the support and kindness we have received to date and we are urging people to get behind our 30 for 30 Challenge, either by doing a Challenge themselves or sponsoring those who are taking part.”

Announcement of the award coincides with Air Ambulance Week 2020, September 7 to 13, which highlights the work of air ambulance charities across the UK, bringing the emergency department to the side of patients who are critically ill and injured. Since its inception 30 years ago, KSS has attended 30,000 life-threatening incidents.

Two more members of the KSS team based at Redhill Aerodrome.

Operating out of Redhill Aerodrome and headquartered in Rochester, KSS provides world-leading pre-hospital emergency care to enable the best possible patient outcomes. Covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex, KSS serves a population of 4.8 million, plus those who travel through the area, one of the busiest in the UK.

The pilots, doctors and paramedics fly more than 2,500 missions a year. KSS was the first (and now the only) 24/7 Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in the country and in March 2020, KSS became the first HEMS to be rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission in all five of its inspection categories. Of the £14m needed to sustain the service each year, 89% is raised by public donation and fundraising.

Princess Anne sees a demonstration of the Air Ambulance’s work.

An Air Ambulance spokesperson explains how to join in the KSS 30 for 30 Challenge

“It couldn’t be easier. Simply make up an activity inspired by the number 30. You could do something for 30 days, a 30-hour run, walk or hop, anything, as long as it revolves on the number 30. You could even test your willpower by giving up your favourite treat for a whole 30 days. Then encourage your friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you for your 30 for 30 efforts and raise vital funds.

“Remember to tag @airambulancekss #kss30for30 on social media with any photos or videos of your challenge. You can email them to us as well at”

For further information about Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex, please visit

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