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MBEA Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance doctor today (Friday) received his MBE from Her Majesty the Queen, for services to emergency medicine.

Dr Malcolm Russell was formally invested as a Member of the Order of the British Empire at Windsor Castle after being named in the New Year’s Honours List.

The father-of-two was presented with his award by Her Majesty the Queen at the castle’s Waterloo Chamber, watched by his proud wife and children.

He said: “It has been an amazing day and I felt honoured to have my MBE presented by Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle.

“I felt humbled to be amongst some incredible people and very thoughtful of the work our charity does and the many people we strive to help.”

Dr Russell joined the Air Ambulance as Clinical Lead in 2007, when the Surrey and Sussex helicopter was first launched.

Last year, he was appointed as the life-saving charity’s Medical Director responsible for assuring the quality of care provided by its doctors and paramedics.

Dr Russell served in the British Army for 15 years and has been involved in pre-hospital emergency medicine since 1996.

In 2011, he was part of a 50-strong UK International Search and Rescue Team who helped victims of the New Zealand earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Blood transfusionDoctors and paramedics at Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance have performed nearly 70 emergency blood transfusions since the service was first launched a year ago today (February 4th).

Figures show that during the last 12 months the advanced medical procedure – usually performed after a patient arrives at hospital – was carried out 69 times at the scene of an accident or medical emergency.

The charity’s research shows that a total of 160 units of blood were administered to patients who had life-threatening injuries with 20-29 year-olds being the largest group of recipients.

Air Ambulance Clinical Manager Gary Wareham, who pioneered the launch of the blood transfusion service, said: “The project has gone very much as we expected and we are now seeing patients delivered to hospital who may not have survived the journey before.

“We are now considering using other blood products that may further improve patient outcomes.”

The figures also show that August was the peak period for blood transfusions, the youngest patient being aged under 10 and the oldest over 90.

In one case, a patient suffered chest, pelvis and spinal injuries following a collision with a car. His airway was partially obstructed and he was agitated.

The doctor and paramedic anaesthetised him at the road-side and performed emergency chest surgery to reinflate his collapsed lungs.
They then administered four units of blood at scene and en route to the Royal London Hospital major trauma centre.

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance last year became one of the first in the country to start carrying blood.

Every day, bikers at the Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers (SERV) deliver eight fresh units to each of the helicopter bases from the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford and East Surrey Hospital at Redhill.

SERV secretary Mel Johnson said: “The air ambulance has been a pleasure to work with over the last year. The daily replenishment and emergency re-supply services provided by the SERV groups in Kent and Surrey have helped ensure that both helicopters are always fully stocked and ready to respond.

“We are proud to have played our part using equipment funded by The Henry Surtees Foundation to ensure that the people of the three counties have been able to receive the highest standards of critical care available, provided by a triumvirate of charities working together with a common goal.”

The Henry Surtees Foundation also supplied cars for the blood runs in addition to equipment used to store blood at the correct temperature and warm it to give to patients.

John Surtees, OBE, founder of the Foundation, said: “I spent a lifetime in motorsport where every second counts. The same factor plays a vital part in saving life and injury.

“The Henry Surtees Foundation was very happy to work with all the team at the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance in assisting with the introduction of the blood transfusion service.”

* If you would like to make a donation to the Air Ambulance please call 01622 833833 or go to http://www.kssairambulance.org.uk

Statue of General Gordon (Ron Strutt) / CC BY-SA 2.0 Statue of General Gordon (Ron Strutt) / CC BY-SA 2.0

The annual memorial service for Charles George Gordon is to take place at the Gordon Memorial Gardens on Friday 24 January, 2014 at 11am.

This year marks the 129th anniversary of his death at Khartoum and a small working party have devised a special service to commemorate this local hero.

The service is to be officiated by Rev Graham Herbert from Milton Church and attended by the Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr Derek Sales who along with pupils from Chantry School, members of the Royal Engineers Association and the president of Gravesend and Meopham Rotary Club, will be laying flowers placed at the foot of Gordon’s Memorial.

The Gravesend Borough Band with additional members from the Salvation Army will be providing musical accompaniment to the service and members of the Gads Hill School Combined Cadet Force will be in attendance as guard of honour.

General Charles Gordon 1833 – 1885
British general Charles Gordon became a national hero for his exploits in China and his ill-fated defence of Khartoum against Sudanese rebels. Gordon lived and worked in Gravesend between 1865 and 1871 and during that time showed great generosity and kindness to the poor people of the borough. He was appointed to upgrade the various fortifications along the Thames which included the New Tavern Fort. He lived in Fort House in the grounds of the New Tavern Fort. The building was demolished following an explosion caused by a V2 in 1944.

Charles Gordon was born on 28 January 1833, the son of a senior army officer. He was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1852. He distinguished himself in the Crimean War (1853 – 1856) and in 1860 volunteered for the ‘Arrow’ war against the Chinese. In May 1862 Gordon’s corps of engineers was assigned to strengthen the European trading centre of Shanghai, which was threatened by the insurgents of the Taiping Rebellion. A year later he became commander of the 3,500-man peasant force raised to defend the city. During the next 18 months Gordon’s troops played an important role in suppressing the Taiping uprising.

He returned to England in January 1865, where an enthusiastic public had already dubbed him ‘Chinese Gordon’. In 1873 he was appointed governor of the province of Equatoria in the Sudan. Between April 1874 and December 1876 he mapped the upper Nile and established a line of stations along the river as far south as present day Uganda. He was then promoted to governor-general, where he asserted his authority, crushing rebellions and suppressing the slave trade. However, ill health forced him to resign and return to England in 1880 before travelling once more to places including India, China and South Africa.

In February 1884 Gordon returned to the Sudan to evacuate Egyptian forces from Khartoum, threatened by Sudanese rebels led by Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi. Khartoum came under siege the next month and on 26th January 1885 the rebels broke into the city, killing Gordon (against al-Mahdi’s instructions) and the other defenders. The British relief force arrived two days later.

The British public reacted to his death by acclaiming ‘Gordon of Khartoum’, who had had a strong Christian faith, a martyred warrior-saint and by blaming the government, particularly Gladstone, for failing to relieve the siege.

© Copyright David Anstiss and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

© Copyright David Anstiss and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.

NHS 111 – the service being introduced to provide a single point of access for people needing urgent NHS healthcare, when it is not an emergency – will be fully up and running in Medway from next Tuesday (17 September).

Since March, callers who have wanted to contact their GP out-of-hours have been able to call NHS 111 or MedOCC (the out-of-hours GP service in Medway) directly. From Tuesday 17 September callers wanting to reach a GP when their surgery is closed should dial 111. All callers to GP practices out of usual practice hours, and anyone calling MedOCC direct will be asked to redial 111. Read More

The Corps of the Royal Engineers will exercise their right to parade through historic Rochester this month to remember sappers who have lost their lives in conflicts around the world.

The short march, which follows a service at Rochester Cathedral, starts just after 12.30pm on Sunday, 15 September at the Guildhall end of the High Street. The parade will pass the war memorial before continuing on to Blue Boar Lane. The parade has become an annual tradition with the Corps of the Royal Engineers using the right to march through the High Street bestowed on them after being granted honorary freedom of the borough.

For more on events taking place in Medway this autumn visit http://www.enjoymedway.co.uk

Don’t spend your bank holiday in A&E – that’s the advice from GPs, who are inviting patients to ensure they use the medical service that can help them best over the bank holiday weekend. More

Customers love their local libraries – it’s official. Medway Libraries and Archives has been awarded the Customer Service Excellence Award for the second time in two years. The survey was carried out by G4S Assessment Services (UK). The library service received wonderful feedback for its high standard of customer satisfaction. More

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012. Today’s announcement from the Cabinet Office has given the charity the opportunity to thank all its volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to help save lives at sea.

The charity, which relies on volunteers to carry out its lifesaving work and who form 95% of its workforce, is one of just 60 organisations to receive this one-off award. The category that was added to the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in order to mark the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic year.

In a nomination submitted by long-term RNLI supporters, actor Timothy Spall and his wife Shane, the charity’s volunteers were described as ‘what is ‘Great’ about Britain.’ The Spalls went on to say: ‘They are an inspiration, and have our eternal gratitude and respect.’

Volunteers have been at the heart of the RNLI since its inception in 1824; its 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members are on call 24/7, launching whatever the weather and often in the hours of darkness to help those in danger around the UK and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, volunteer lifeguards work alongside paid lifeguards to help keep beach-users safe and educate those who visit the coast. Specially-trained Flood Rescue Teams are also ready to deploy to any instances of inland flooding. None of this would be possible without thousands more dedicated volunteers who give their time to raise funds and awareness, give safety advice and help out in museums, shops and offices across the country

Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award, and for our selfless volunteers to be recognised for their commitment and dedication in this Diamond Jubilee year.

‘Our volunteers come from all walks of life and are united by one common goal; an unfaltering commitment to help save lives at sea. From the volunteer crews and lifeguards who are at the forefront of rescues to the people who give up their time to raise vital funds. I am not only proud to be part of the charity but inspired by so many ordinary people doing extraordinary things’.

Martyn Lewis CBE, Chairman, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award Committee, said:

“The sixty organisations honoured today with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering have built their success on the dedication and generosity of thousands of extraordinary people, each of whom has devoted their time and energy to the simple aim of making their communities – and their country – a better place.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:

“The list of recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering reads like a Who’s Who of British volunteering and is testament to the enduring strength and immeasurable contribution of volunteers over the past sixty years.”

“2012 brought volunteering firmly, and deservedly, into the spotlight. The stories behind these awards show what people can achieve when they come together and I hope they will inspire more people to come forward to contribute, and to gain from, all that volunteering offers.”

RNLI lifeboat crew member Gavin Steeden and volunteer lifeguard Chris Lewis will be representing the charity at a small presentation being held by the Cabinet Office at Whitehall this evening (12 December).

Gavin said: ‘I have grown up with the RNLI and volunteer alongside my dad, brother and friends – it is part of who I am and what I love. It is a great honour to be recognised for what we do, and I am really proud to be representing not only my own station in Swanage but all the volunteers who are part of the charity.’ More

Pharmacies in Kent already offer a wide range of services to help people stay healthy. Now some of our pharmacies are among the first in the country to become official Healthy Living Pharmacies with a mission to provide even more support to people who want to improve their health. More

A new advertising campaign motivating smokers to quit has hit the big screen in Medway. A two-minute video, ‘Is Your Habit Giving You Hassle?’ features a giant cigarette bothering a women as she tries to go about her day, and is being shown on the large outdoor screen at the Dockside Outlet Centre, on screens inside the centre and at Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester libraries. More

A new bus service will provide a direct and frequent link between Strood, Chatham and the Medway City Estate for the first time. More

An acting taster session will give wannabe actors the opportunity to uncover their hidden talents. More

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