Lions District 105SE, which comprises of 61 Lions Clubs across the South East, has collectively fundraised for Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) to purchase a new rapid response vehicle for the life-saving charity. The car will be used by KSS to provide its world-leading pre-hospital emergency medical care by road when circumstances such as bad weather prevent it from using helicopters.
Lions Clubs organised a range of fundraising activities to support KSS including street collections, book stalls, sponsored walks and sponsored swims. They raised over £35,000 to meet their fundraising goal of purchasing a Volvo XC90. The vehicle has now been fitted with a blue light bar on the roof, additional blue lights, sirens and ‘Battenberg’ markings in KSS’s corporate colours which are also the reflective strips which make the car visible, especially at night.
The Volvo XC90 is one of four rapid response vehicles used by the charity and replaces one of their vehicles which was funded by the Lions in 2015. It has upgraded brakes and suspension to accommodate the nature of high speed and long distance travel.
Howard Lee, Lions Clubs co-ordinator for the appeal, commented, “We have fundraised for KSS for many years, partly because their geography coincides with ours but largely because of the invaluable role the charity plays in saving lives. Over the last eight years, we have raised more than £360,000 for KSS and we look forward to continuing our relationship with KSS in the future, helping them to save many more lives.”
Lynne Harris, KSS’s Executive Director of Income Generation, Marketing and Communications said: “Many people only associate KSS with helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) but our rapid response vehicles, which we use primarily when the helicopters aren’t available, are vital to our 24/7 service and effectively enable us to deliver A&E hospital level of care to the patient, regardless of where they are and no matter what the weather conditions are like. Over the last year, 66% of all missions were tasked to helicopters and 34% to rapid response cars. Rapid response vehicles attended over 870 incidents.
“Unlike our helicopters, our rapid response vehicles cannot carry patients. However, they enable our medical crews to reach patients at high speed in order to deliver vital life-saving interventions to give enough time for the patient to reach hospital by land. In these situations, our team works closely with the ambulance service and often travels with and cares for the patient while they are transported to hospital.
“It is therefore critical for us that we have a reliable and safe fleet of specially equipped cars. In 2015, the Lions generously donated two Volvos to us, both of which have had very heavy use. On average we drive between 3,000 and 5,000 miles per month, in each car.
“When we explained to the Lions in February 2020 that one of our vehicles needed to be replaced, they generously agreed to make this the focus of one of their major fundraising projects. We are hugely grateful to all fundraisers at the Lions District 105SE for their significant contribution to our service. Thanks to their variety of fundraising initiatives across the region, we now have a new, reliable rapid response vehicle which is invaluable in helping us to deliver our service across the regions which we serve.”
Lions District 105SE is continuing to fundraise for KSS within the Covid-19 guidelines, however fundraising activities are restricted due to the pandemic. For further information about how to donate or to get involved, please visit www.lionsgiving.co.uk
For further information about KSS, visit www.aakss.org.uk