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Fitz Celebrates

at South Devon Railway

Birthday Visitor Sam (aged 8) thrilled!

Michael Jecks Devon author

the official magazine of DEVON AIR AMBULANCE

summer 2019 |


Top of the Towns

- it’s official!



Exeter-Born War Hero

Elsie Knocker Shopping reminiscences

in Plymouth

OUR PATIENTS tell their stories...

Volunteering “It's a great way of giving something back”

Enjoy the great outdoors this summer

FREE MAGAZINE Find out more about: Our Service Our Patients Our Fundraisers & Your Beautiful County!

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LOTTERY See inside

Community Landing Sites

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Devon Air Ambulance’s very own Community Magazine

Stunning gardens and amazing events Including: Themed family school holiday activities Rose Festival in June & July Garden Flower Show (August), sponsored by AFWM Apple Festival (October) Glow – Winter Illuminations (November – January)

Open every day except Christmas day Great Torrington, Devon, EX38 8PH For tickets and promotions visit Book online and save 10% Every visit helps support the charitable work of the RHS RHS Registered Charity No: 222879/SC038262

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summer 2019 | WELCOME


WELCOME Heléna Holt Chief Executive Officer At Devon Air Ambulance, we love being given the opportunity to promote careers in aviation, engineering and clinical services to the next generation and were delighted therefore to host a stand at the recent ‘Big Bang Fair’ held at Exeter Westpoint. The fair is the largest celebration and promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in the South West, aiming to inspire young people who are interested in all forms of science and technology based careers. A small delegation from Devon Air Ambulance including our Flight Operations Director, Fundraising Director, our own helicopter engineer and a number of critical care paramedics, along with our colleagues from Airbus Industries, had a really enjoyable day and were encouraged by how engaged and

Ali Simpson Helipad Editor In this summer issue of Helipad, we turn the spotlight on the estuary town of Topsham. Not only voted no. 1 place to live in the South West, but also the home of our newly refurbished Vintage and Variety shop. If you thought all charity shops were the same, Topsham will make you think again. Turn to page 29 to find out about the creative process our talented staff go through to bring this unique retail format to life. As always, we have some truly incredible stories from people who have been helped by Devon Air Ambulance, which really inspires all of us who work for the charity, as well as our fundraisers, supporters and volunteers. We also meet acclaimed medieval thriller

interested the young people who came to speak with them were. Our Senior Pilot also brought the duty helicopter for a visit to the event, which was very popular. Positively promoting science and technology careers to young people will be vital for all air ambulance services in the future, as we continue to seek out highly skilled and trained pilots, engineers, paramedics and doctors. The team were particularly pleased to speak with a number of young girls thinking about this as a career option. We look forward to welcoming our first female pilot to the service in September and hope her arrival will promote DAA’s commitment to making all careers in the air ambulance service open to everyone.

writer Michael Jecks, take a nostalgic trip down memory lane in 1950s Plymouth, learn about the incredible and fabulously named Elsie Knocker and help South Devon celebrate its designation as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I love to hear your thoughts about Helipad magazine, and suggestions for future articles or Devon places and people you would like to know more about. Just email me at

GET IN TOUCH! Devon Air Ambulance Unit 5 Sandpiper Court Harrington Lane Exeter EX4 8NS ( 01392 466666 8  Registered Charity No 1077998 Registered Company No 3855746

Fundraising & Events Lottery Volunteering Cara Jones Patient Contact Debbie Gregory PR Sarah Burden Community Landing Sites Toby Russell Operations Nigel Hare Magazine Advertising and Inserts

Gaynor Garton Square7 Media

( 0203 283 4055

© All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or used in any form without prior permission of the publishers. All material is sent at the owner’s risk and whilst every care is taken, Devon Air Ambulance Trust will not accept liability for loss or damage. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content but the publishers cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors or alterations or for the consequences of any reliance on these details; neither can they vouch for the accuracy of claims made by any advertiser. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers.


helipad |

CONTENTS | summer 2019 16

Beautiful South Devon

44 xx

PHOTO: © South Devon AONB/Sarah Sweet

The Offical Magazine of Devon Air Ambulance Celebrating the best in Devon 40,000 copies covering the whole county. 35,000+ delivered direct to our supporters Also available online at

Contributors Sarah Chesters David FitzGerald Neil Devons


Photographers Neil Devons RHS Rosemoor South Devon AONB Publisher Heléna Holt 01392 466 666 Editor Alison Simpson 01392 466666 ext 147 Sub Editor Debbie Gregory 01392 466666 ext 135 Advertising Sales Gaynor Garton

Devon People

30 The Angel of Pervsye


… STOP PRESS … STOP PRESS … A round-up of Devon Air Ambulance news and views.


Inspired by Design With the reopening of our Topsham Vintage and Variety shop, Retail Operations Manager Chrissie Peel explains how she goes about creating this unique shopping brand.


Junior Crew We celebrate some of our younger supporters and see how their inspired fundraising ideas help raise money for the charity.

39 Fundraising Focus

Proudly ‘doing their bit’ for Devon Air Ambulance, Stafford Moor

020 3283 4055 / 07801 592067 Advertisement Copy Design & Print Management Silver Foxes Publishing 07455 206470 Distribution & Mailing Silver Foxes Publishing 07455 206470 ISSN (Print) 2055-2343 ISSN (Online) 2055-2351

Fishery owners, Jo and Paul Coombes, have lots of simple but effective ways to raise money for the charity.


Business on Board DAA will be holding its sixth Dragon Boat Festival at Exeter Quay this September. We learn from some of the businesses who have supported us by entering their own team of intrepid paddlers why it is such a great fun event to get involved in.


Devon People Thank you to everyone who fundraises money for Devon Air Ambulance from fun runs and bike rides to coffee mornings and sponsored swims - and everything in between.


Your Community Needs You! You can now find over 120 Community Landing Site across Devon, but we still need more. If you live in an area that hasn’t yet considered having their own site, find out about the many ways Devon Air Ambulance can support your community.

Next issue Winter 2019


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summer 2019 | CONTENTS






Volunteering It is always very special for us when ex-patients join the DAA family of volunteers. Four such supporters tell us why volunteering enables them to ‘give something back’ to the service that treated them.


Lottery A lot has changed since the Devon Air Ambulance lottery started as a weekly draw back in 1999. Lottery Administrator Jane Raddon explains how it has developed over the years.

Paid to daydream That’s how acclaimed author Michael Jecks describes his life, creating his popular medieval whodunnits full of authentic characters in interesting Devon locations.

16 Beautiful South Devon

It’s 70 years since legislation was passed to allow the creation of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Explore South Devon this summer by foot, bike or boat.


Quite Contrary Our gardens have been through a mixture of weather later, so Sarah Chester offers us some helpful suggestions for planting in rain or shine, and regardless of aspect and soil type.


Top Town Topsham With its quirky, independent character, the lovely estuary town of Topsham ticked all the boxes when it was named as The Sunday Times ‘Top Place’ to live in the South West.


The Angel of Pervsye Exeter born Elsie Knocker was a remarkable woman, a pioneering nurse of the First World War who helped create a first aid post to treat injured soldiers just 100 yards from enemy lines.


A trip down Memory Lane DAA volunteer Jill Sweet takes us on a humorous, nostalgic trip back to 1950s Plymouth, remembering her grandparents corner shop and the thrill of being likened to a Dingles Girl!


From garden to plate If you grow your own fruit and veg, enjoy our two summer recipes, ideal for making sure none of it goes to waste.


Dr Clare Bosanko Devon Air Ambulance is privileged to have many amazing doctors working with the service. Dr Clare Bosanko tells us how she came to specialise in emergency medicine and about her family connection to the charity.


Back Chat We accompany Fitz as he follows in the footsteps of the infamous Dr Beeching when he was asked to open the South Devon Railway. As Fitz explains, he also has a history of being involved with stations that have closed down!

On The Cover Issue No.23 Summer 2019 Devon Patchwork ©Nick Shepherd


Hit from behind


Unconscious in the waves When Laura Negus was thrown from her horse while riding on the beach, she was knocked unconscious, face down in the water. While friends started CPR, the air ambulance raced to treat her.


Gone with the wind Paraglider Clive Roberts suffered horrible leg injuries after crashing to the ground on Dartmoor when he was caught out by a sudden and unexpected change in the wind. DAA came to the rescue and Clive recounts how it could have been so much more serious.


Hit from behind Sam Lewsey and his colleague were on their way to their next job for Western Power when their car was hit from behind. Sam was trapped and suffered such terrible back injuries that it was feared he would never walk again.


Back on her feet When little Lydia Perraton’s leg was badly crushed in a freak farmyard accident, her family were grateful that the air ambulance was able to get her to hospital so quickly. Lydia hasn’t let her accident hold her back and organised some fundraising events that raised over £1,000 for the charity.


Holiday nightmare Jim and Rebecca Hinsley were enjoying a holiday in Devon when their toddler Grace scalded herself badly with boiling water. The air ambulance was able to treat her at the scene and get her to hospital in Bristol in under half an hour, helping her get quickly on the road to recovery.


It’s a hazardous business There was real concern that farmer John Dullam would have to have his leg amputated after it got trapped in a threshing machine so Devon Air Ambulance rushed one of its critical care doctors to the scene.


helipad |

The latest news from Air Ambulance HQ

We are ‘out and about’ this summer... We always love to say hello to our friends – old and new – and our supporters and volunteers, so why not pop along to meet the team on the DAA stand at one of many shows and fairs across the county this summer:

« Mid Devon Show

27th July

« Totnes Show

28th July

« Woolsery Show

29th July

« Yealmpton Show

31st July

« Honiton Show

1st August

« North Devon Show

7th August

« Okehampton Show

8th August

« Exford Show

14th August

« Chagford Show

15th August

« Christow Show

17th August

« Holsworthy Show

22nd August

« Kingsbridge Show

7th September

Or why not join us at one of our own events this autumn. Check out our website if you want to take part or help support us.

« DAA Dragon Boat Festival

Exeter Quay 22nd September

« Commando Challenge

Woodbury 12th & 13th October

We’ll see you there!

summer 2019 | NEWS


Celebrating our outstanding staff Every year, Devon Air Ambulance celebrates its amazing staff by holding a special awards ceremony. At the event in May, we recognised a number of individuals and teams for their outstanding contribution to the Charity over the last year. All the nominations were reviewed by a cross-department panel chaired by one of our trustees, and we are delighted that the prestigious award for ‘Employee of the Year 2019’ went to Jeff Glover, our Licensed Helicopter Engineer. Jeff was described as hard-working, conscientious, incredibly skilled in his role and a great ambassador for Devon Air Ambulance.

Congratulations to Jeff, all our Winners, those who were Highly Commended and everyone who was nominated.

Jeff receives his award from DAA Patron David FitzGerald

Re-opening of Devon Air Ambulance’s ‘Vintage and Variety’ Shop in Topsham After suffering a damaging flood last year, we are delighted to announce that our newly refurbished ‘Vintage and Variety’ shop in Topsham officially reopened on the 18th May. Flight Operations Director, Ian Payne, cut the ribbon and it was great that so many staff, supporters, volunteers and members of the public were able to join us on the day.

Nice to see you! Young Sam from Topsham was excited to see our helicopter G-DAAN land on the field next to his house and particularly thrilled when pilot Richie invited him to take a look inside. It was Sam’s 8th birthday that weekend and his helicopter experience really made his day. He and his mum were inspired to go shopping at our DAA shop in Topsham and Sam sent us a lovely drawing and letter to say thank you.

Locks chopped for charity As well as our incredible supporters organising a wide range of activities to raise funds, sometimes our own staff do as well. In May, our Volunteer Manager, Cara Jones made the monumental decision to cut off her long locks, donating the hair to the Princess Trust, who make real hair wigs for children and young people with hair loss, and raising over £400 for DAA in the process!




helipad |

“No COG is too small” Some former patients explain in their own words why they now volunteer for Devon Air Ambulance and how their contribution plays a vital part in keeping your air ambulances flying David Brock “It’s a blessing to be alive” Former Patient and current volunteer David Brock featured in our 2016 Winter Helipad. David was airlifted on the 23rd July 2016 having collapsed with severe chest pain at the Mid Devon Show. Following initial treatment from St John’s Ambulance and an attending NHS paramedic crew, a heart attack was diagnosed. As time was of the essence the Devon Air Ambulance was requested to convey him to hospital as quickly as possible. After surgery at R&D&E Hospital, David made a great recovery and subsequently offered his time as a Devon Air Ambulance Volunteer. David said, “Being accepted as a volunteer was an immense privilege for me. To realise how large and professional the organisation is – countywide – from furniture collectors, shop workers, donation collectors, office people, air crew, administrators and many others – all dedicated to providing a growing, cutting edge service to the people of Devon, with one aim – to save the lives of patients and their families from heartbreak. “In my role as a volunteer speaker at various events I can really see how Devon folk react to meeting someone saved by the Devon Air Ambulance. I feel my small efforts bring the service that DAA provide right into the hearts of the listeners. It is a real blessing to be alive and to use my time to motivate and thank groups of Devon people who have raised or are raising funds. It is also my opportunity to thank the very same people for my life because without their support I may not be here! “I can thoroughly recommend volunteering to help DAA

because by joining the team you are every bit as responsible for saving the lives of our fellow Devonians as the very air crew and paramedics that work at the coal face itself. The service is the sum of its parts for sure and all the cogs need to be in place and working. To butcher a saying ‘ no cog is too small’. Volunteer. Help save lives.”

summer 2019 | VOLUNTEERING


VOLUNTEERING Profile: Cara Jones - Volunteer Manager Email: Cara is responsible for coordinating volunteering across Devon Air Ambulance, including the recruitment, induction, training and support of our volunteers working in our shops and in the community.

Karen Bryant “It’s a great way of giving something back” Former patient Karen Bryant and her husband Bob were airlifted to Derriford Hospital following a road traffic collision near Modbury, Plymouth in 2014 and ended up on side by side trollies. Following a gradual recovery, Karen has become a volunteer box collector for Devon Air Ambulance. Karen shares her thoughts on volunteering with us. “I love the feeling that, by volunteering, in some small way I am able to repay DAA for helping to save my life. Time is a valuable commodity and volunteering is a great way of giving back. As a volunteer I feel extremely welcomed and a valued member of the team. If you’re thinking of volunteering, please don’t hesitate, no matter how small the task you carry out, it’s important and appreciated by everyone that has had, or will have need of, the wonderful service that DAA provides. All us little cogs working together, are what help to keep the helicopters in the air!”

Colin Kneeshaw “It’s called volunteer satisfaction” Former patient and volunteer photographer Colin Kneeshaw was airlifted from North Bovey to the RD&E hospital on the 6th May 2018. He and his wife Diane were on his motorbike enjoying a pleasure ride to Dartmoor. They came up to standing traffic and Colin put his foot down to steady his bike. But the road had such a steep camber that ‘there was no road’ and the bike over-balanced, crushing Colin’s leg and breaking his femur in two places. Upon his recovery Colin was invited to the airbase to meet some of the staff and crew. He came away from the experience with a new appreciation of the air ambulance and the behind the scenes staff. This was when Colin decided he had to do something in his own way to help and give a little back. Colin kindly offered his photography skills to Devon Air Ambulance. He hoped that the photos he shared would improve public engagement, give people something to think about and raise awareness that the DAA needs volunteers to help keep its helicopters flying.

Colin says “To anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer, I would say definitely do it. Firstly you never know when you may need their services. I did not think I would but I was wrong. There is a satisfaction knowing when its flying overhead you had something to do with it, even in a small way. It’s equivalent to job satisfaction but it’s called volunteer satisfaction. In hindsight I wish I’d done this earlier.”

We currently have 600 volunteers throughout Devon – and they all have their own personal reason for volunteering for DAA. If you feel you could offer a spare hour or two here and there, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Your time really does count! To find out more about how you can help, please contact our Volunteer Manager Cara Jones on: 01392 466 666 /



helipad |

Laura with Murphy just before the accident

Rising tide adds to the danger Laura Negus and her husband Tom from Gloucestershire had been enjoying a holiday in North Devon last spring when events took a very dramatic turn


fter a leisurely picnic lunch on the beach, Tom took their dogs for a walk and Laura, riding her horse along with fellow riders from Warwickshire Hunt Riding Club, was on one of nearly 20 horses walking over the beach at Saunton Sands. Riding at the back of the group, Laura’s horse stumbled on a wet sand pocket and she was thrown into the sand, ending up face down and unconscious in the shallow water.

Sam Austin and her partner Richard, also from the Riding Club, were ahead of Laura’s group when she fell and the first they realised was when Laura’s horse cantered past them. Riding to catch the riderless horse, they looked back to see Laura lying on the sand. Adding to the danger for Laura, the tide was coming in fast and she was in danger of drowning. With her horse safely caught, Sam and Richard could see

that Laura wasn’t moving and they turned to retrace their steps, galloping back along the beach. Reaching Laura, they went into the water to drag her from the waves, surprised at just how much the water and sand added to her weight. Sam immediately called 999 for help and, thankful for her first-aid training, commenced CPR, stopping only to move Laura further up the beach again as the tide continued to rise. First

Responders were swiftly on scene and continued the work Sam had started. Soon after, Devon’s Air Ambulance arrived, stopping to drop off critical care paramedic Dave Huyton and Dr Emily Foote, an observer on the aircraft that day, before landing a little further up the beach. Dave Huyton explained: “I remember this incident really well. Laura was clearly very unwell and needed urgent medical help. She

summer 2019 | PATIENTS

Laura in hospital with her dog


Laura’s reunion with Murphy

“ It was a real team effort with great initial assistance from Sam and the Community First Responder and the local Coastguards ” had obvious physical injuries from the fall, but it was also apparent her brain had been starved of oxygen as she was caught by the incoming waves. Our priority was to stabilise her for the flight to North Devon District Hospital just as swiftly as possible. It was a real team effort with great initial assistance from Sam and the Community First Responder and the local Coastguards.” Later that day, Laura was transferred from North Devon

District Hospital to Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital where she remained in Intensive Care for a week before finally turning the corner and beginning the lengthy journey of recovery, including intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Sam was delighted to catch up personally with Laura several months later back in Gloucestershire, and was impressed with her determination. “It was really great to see Laura again

and she looked so well! She really is very driven and was completely focussed on getting better.” Learning that Laura and Tom were planning to visit Devon again in April this year, paramedic Dave Huyton was delighted to organise a reunion with some of the emergency personnel involved in her rescue. Meeting Laura at DAA’s Eaglescott airbase, Dave said, “We were all really relieved to learn that, despite serious injuries and possible long-term

consequences, Laura has made a remarkable recovery; it’s fantastic news and really brilliant to see her again.” Laura explained, “It’s only down to my incredible team of rescuers, including those at DAA, that I am here today; thanks to their rapid response after my freak horse riding accident last spring. The aircrew and all emergency crews are amazing, they literally are saving lives. I will be forever grateful.”o

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summer 2019 | PATIENTS

Caught by a change of wind speed... When someone falls from the sky in a paragliding accident, it’s easy to imagine the worst. Clive Roberts from Ivybridge, however, considers himself to be one of the lucky ones.


live was airlifted after a paragliding incident on Dartmoor back in March this year, when he was caught out by a sudden change in wind speed as he was trying to get more uplift on a thermal. He crash-landed back to the ground and suffered impact injuries to his knees, hips and lower leg. Fortunately for Clive, he had the OS coordinates in his mobile phone and was able to let the emergency services know exactly where he was. He realised that he was unable to feel his foot but could see that it needed ‘straightening’! Following his 999 call, Devon’s Air Ambulance was swiftly dispatched, with pilot Craig Bisset dropping the aircrew off on King’s Tor as close as possible to Clive so that aircrew medics Nick Ratcliff, Paul White and Dr Dave Potter could assess the patient and administer pain relief. The aircrew then carried Clive back to the waiting helicopter, which had lifted and re-landed further up the Tor, and prepared him for the flight to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Despite his lower leg needing surgery including pins and plates, Clive recognised how fortunate he had been

not to suffer a broken back. He was strong-minded in his approach to recovery and, although he spent some weeks using a wheelchair, he was determined to be back walking as soon as possible. Explaining the incident to Helipad’s Debbie Gregory, Clive said, “I am a fairly new pilot, so currently fly with a red ribbon (a bit like a learner plate and easily recognised by all fellow paragliders), and that particular site was new to me. I’d had a site brief and a coach was flying behind. It was a really unfortunate accident; I was caught out by my inexperience, but I’m aware that things could have been a whole lot worse. I was really thankful to see the helicopter arrive and I’m very grateful to the aircrew for helping me at the scene and getting me to hospital so swiftly. Now, 3 months down the line and following physio and hydrotherapy, I am back walking and I’m hoping to take to the skies again later this year. Thanks to your crew for all that they did on that day in March. Also I would like to thank the South Devon Hang Gliding and Paragliding club members for their support, during and after the accident.” o

“ He realised that he was unable to feel his foot but could see that it needed ‘straightening’! ”



helipad |

Paid to daydream

An unlikely combination of war, religious persecution, famine, plague and a love of Devon set local author Michael Jecks down a career path of writing medieval whodunits. Helipad’s Neil Devons visited him to find out more.

summer 2019 | DEVON PEOPLE



says Michael. “There are too many circular references which here is something mildly chaotic about a conversation only serve to verify each other, and I can’t put anything in my with Michael Jecks. It’s not just the interruptions from the books that is wrong or I can’t verify - even though they may booming chimes of the grandfather clock in his kitchen nor the prove to be true. Research must be accurate or produce distraction of frequent friendly fire from his boisterous dogs. It’s reasonable scenarios, but over-concentrating on the detail or more about the pace and change of direction as he answers everything you throw at him with informed exuberance whether becoming self-indulgent and smug about your discoveries will only serve to clog up the narrative. You have to be disciplined it’s about his career, his daily work regime or his books. about what you put in and what you leave out.” What does shine through is an unconcealed fascination with Being disciplined is an important quality in a writer and belies history and a desire to explore it in ways that will educate and that “air of chaos” encountered at the outset of our conversation. amuse both himself and his readers. I asked about a typical writing day. Michael is best known for his prolific Templar series of novels “I get up around 6.30am, see the family out the door and at which he started to write before moving to Devon in 1998 and eight o’clock or so I’ll take the dogs out for an hour and do my is still going strong after 32 titles. Largely set in 14th century emails when I’m walking. Back home, I’ll do the correspondence Devon with locations around Crediton, Exeter, Belstone, with a cup of tea and I’ll hit the keys in earnest by ten-thirty. I’ll Gidleigh, Sticklepath, Dartmouth, Tavistock and Dartmoor, take a half hour for lunch and an hour for the intricate stories do occasionally venture as something to eat around teatime then often far as London and France and one even saw a “ What does work through to midnight. murder investigation in the Cornish village of shine through is “I don’t have a target, but tend to write Cardinham! around 5,000 words a day. When starting a The main characters are Sir Baldwin de an unconcealed book I only manage a few hundred words Furnshill, a former Knight Templar and fascination with each day, the same when I’m finishing a crusader who escaped the persecution and history and a desire book. As the work comes to a finish it slows: dissolution of his order and settled near Crediton to become Keeper of the King’s to explore it in ways you have to start looking back and ensuring that what you are currently writing doesn’t Peace, and his friend and investigating that will educate and alter what you have already written. I’ll do companion, Bailiff Simon Puttock of Lydford. Michael says, “Baldwin makes a great amuse both himself as much research beforehand as I can but day there’s something new to find out. investigator. He would have seen battle and his readers. ” every “My aim is to keep the reader guessing to and witnessed plenty of dead bodies, been the very last minute and ensure that it’s going involved in politics and would have travelled to be really difficult to spot who the actual across the world. He would understand the criminal is. Therefore, I have to have at least church although he would have hated it – a six potential suspects, each one of whom has wonderfully conflicted character. He was also a seriously good motivation and opportunity probably an awful investigator of local crimes. to be the killer. So, if you are looking at every He knows all sorts of stuff and has loads of event from six different angles, it tends to experience, but he hasn’t the faintest idea make the book that bit longer.” about the local people or their customs. That’s Although he started his working life selling why I invented Simon Puttock, a Bailiff who has word processors, later moving to become a all the local knowledge and who can explain computer salesman, Michael always wanted things to Baldwin that he wouldn’t otherwise to be an author. He began writing while he understand.” was still employed but it wasn’t until he got Other characters and criminal scenarios came rid of the trappings of gainful employment, Michael’s way when he discovered “Crown and the burden of schedules and meetings, Pleas of the Devon Eyre of 1238” (Devon and that he could focus on writing and then “it Cornwall Record Society, 1985), which listed all became surprisingly easy.” the felonies of the previous 10 years complete Nowadays, he will walk the ancient tracks of Dartmoor with with authentic names and different types of murder – clearly a a book, researching and reading while he walks (with the must-have resource for a medieval thriller writer. unfortunate result that he was once witnessed walking into a The 14th century provides rich pickings for an imaginative telegraph pole). author with a love of history. It began with losing the Crusader A chat with Michael Jecks is a joy not the least because he Kingdoms and was followed by famine, starvation, civil war clearly loves what he does. “It is the only career for which and the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War. The big canvas, I am paid to daydream,” he says. “Being able to write and however, is not the focus of Michael’s stories. Without ignoring entertain other people - and earn a living at the same time - is a the major political influences of the time, the Templar stories marvellous way to live. I wouldn’t change anything.” o relate to ordinary people going about their business and facing the everyday challenges of their time. As Michael says, “They Note: weren’t so much interested in what was happening to the King Michael Jecks writes, on average, two books a year. In addition as they were worried about rain that day and whether their to the 32 titles in the Templar Series, he has authored the crops will get swamped.” Vintener Trilogy (set during the outset of the Hundred Years’ A lot of time goes into research. If plants are mentioned, they War); Jack Blackjack series (a humorous mystery series set in must be authentic to that time. If clothes are described, the Tudor times); the Scavenger Series (a modern day spy series); colours must have been available then. Was that a real family and co-wrote the Medieval Murderers novels. Pilgrim’s War is name? If a dagger is used, what sort of blade was it? the first in a new “Crusades” series. The Dead Don’t Wait, fourth So just how do you verify the facts? “I don’t trust the internet,” in the Jack Blackjack series, is published on 31 July 2019.


helipad |

Outstanding Natural Beauty in South Devon Diane Lethbridge, Communications Officer for South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty tells us what makes this area of the county so special, some of the current projects they are supporting and ways in which we can all enjoy the great outdoors this summer What is an AONB? An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is exactly what it says it is: an outstanding landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious that it is safeguarded in the national interest. South Devon is part of the

family of protected landscapes across Britain. One of 46 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a member of the National Association of AONBs, these protected landscapes are managed through local Partnerships on behalf of the nation. It is one of five in Devon!

What makes South Devon special? There are a number of special qualities that make South Devon nationally important and give it a strong ‘sense of place’. Different people have their own opinions on what is special about the area, and

no definition can claim to be absolute, but there is no doubting that South Devon has an abundance of elements that contribute to this ‘specialness’ - from its wild and rugged coastline, network of water ways, rolling farmland and hidden valleys, to its diverse wildlife, long-lived in landscape

PHOTO: © South Devon AONB/Anna Potgieter

PHOTO: © South Devon AONB/Anna Potgieter

summer 2019 | BEAUTIFUL DEVON 17

and natural tranquillity. Our 70th Anniversary In 2019, we’re excited to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the legislation that led to the creation of National Parks and AONBs in England and Wales. Significantly for our countryside, the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949 provided powers for protecting the natural beauty of some of our finest and most loved landscapes. AONBs will be celebrating this milestone with a ‘National Moment’ – at 2pm on Saturday 21st September, we would like thousands of people across the country to form heart shapes on key locations chose by their AONBs. These will be captured by each participating AONB

in photographs and on film. It will also provide an opportunity for loads of others to help celebrate the date using #♥L4L with their own special heart-themed messages and images. This anniversary year is the perfect opportunity to celebrate what is so special

makes for a happy and healthy body and mind. There are lots of ways you can do this. With 60 miles of coastline and hundreds of miles of rights of way criss-crossing the area, why not enjoy our beautiful AONB by foot, bike or boat! The AONB website has

“ There are a number of special qualities that make South Devon nationally important and give it a strong ‘sense of place’. ” about the cherished landscape of the South Devon AONB. Make this year your year to discover what the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer. Take a walk on the wild side There is lots of evidence that being outdoors and enjoying a bit of exercise in the fresh air

over 40 circular walks, with distances varying from 2 to 12 miles. Details can be downloaded free and provide lots of interesting information about wildlife, archaeology and history as well as on facilities and access. So, whether you fancy a town trail or a route that

will incorporate rugged coastline and chocolate box villages, then there is something for you. Other walking trails include: The Dart Valley Trail which links Dartmouth to Totnes and Greenway to Kingswear offering 17 miles of fabulous walking linked handily to buses, ferries, and steam trains. • Circle the lower Dart from Dartmouth to Dittisham and Greenway to Kingswear using the ferries – 9 miles • Use the Dartmouth – Dittisham ferries and walk just one side of the route – 4.5 miles • Walk from Totnes to Dittisham - 9 miles and catch the ferry to Dartmouth then catch a cruiser back. The Avon Estuary Walk links Bigbury to Bantham via Aveton Gifford making a 9 mile walk if you use the River Avon Ferry.

helipad |

The Greenway Walk links the National Trust’s Greenway Estate to areas of nearby Paignton. The 7 mile trail can be joined at Broadsands, Galmpton and Churston, offering some of the best views of Torbay’s coastline and the spectacular Dart Estuary in one walk! Cycling - The green lanes of the AONB make for great off-road cycling as well as some easier paths around

Dartington and Totnes. If some of the hills are a bit daunting you can always hire an electric bike from outlets just outside the area. On the water - there are lots of opportunities to explore and enjoy the AONB on the water. If you’re out and about walking the Coast Path, the ferries form an essential link across the estuaries (but best check timetables before setting out as they’re dependent on tides

What we’re up to... At South Devon AONB, we take a proactive approach to supporting our local communities and wildlife and encouraging people to visit our beautiful landscape. Here are just a few of our current projects: • Connecting Actively with Nature Wildlife walks for the over 55’s in Kingsbridge. • Avon Valley Farmers’ Group Working with land managers to access Countryside Stewardship schemes and running workshops to help them farm in a more environmentally friendly way. • Explore South Devon New app-based walking routes in conjunction with the South West Coast Path Association. • Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project Helping deliver community events in South Devon. • Brixham-Kingswear Delivery Partnership Helping to deliver improved recreation and access routes on the peninsula.

and weather). Water sports – Canoeing is a year-round activity with guided canoe expeditions exploring the waterways of the AONB. Other activities include kite surfing, kite buggying, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and more. Speak to an Information Centre to find out what’s on offer locally. New for 2019 - we are currently working with South

West Coast Path Association to provide 12 new local walk information points supported by 19 downloadable maps and walk descriptions, all available via a mobile phone app. Events – Have a look at our website to find events ranging from beach cleans and rockpool safaris to guided walks, all helping you get to know the area better. To find out more, visit us at o

PHOTO: © South Devon AONB/Nick Shepherd

PHOTO: © South Devon AONB/Jim Brown


summer 2019 | PATIENTS


Airbase visit brings back memories Sam Lewsey from Brixham contacted Devon Air Ambulance last autumn via our website, to say ‘thank you’ for airlifting him.


ollowing up the message, we learned that Sam had been involved in a road traffic collision three years earlier – and it was touch and go at the time whether he would ever walk again. At the time of the incident, Sam was employed by Western Power and was passenger in a works Land Rover vehicle on his way to their next job at Cheriton Bishop. The vehicle had pulled up at a junction and was indicating to turn right on to a busy road, when they were hit from behind at such speed and with such force that the Land Rover flipped and rolled over before landing on its side. Sam sustained significant injuries and was trapped in the vehicle. When paramedics from Devon Air Ambulance joined the land ambulance crew at the scene, they knew there was a risk that Sam might

have spinal injuries and needed to be kept as still as possible. The aircrew worked alongside the other emergency services to ensure Sam’s safety; he was finally released from the Land Rover and conveyed to the land ambulance. It was recognised that, with the injuries sustained, it would be safer for Sam to travel to Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital by road with aircrew paramedic Mark Hawley in attendance. Once at RD&E, it was ascertained that Sam had an exploded T11 fracture of his vertebrae and needed surgery to insert two 6-inch rods to stabilise his spine. To his surprise, following his surgery, Sam was encouraged by the physiotherapy team to start exercising straight away and, having been fearful that he might never

Sam vists the airbase (left) and the x-ray showing his spine supported by titanium rods after the incident.

walk again, he was keen to prove otherwise. Sam was elated when, the following week, his wife Lija saw him standing and ‘her face was just a picture of pure relief’! It was not entirely plain sailing, however, and Sam remained off work for a whole year. “My job involves climbing electricity poles for a living,” he explained, “and there was no way I could have done that until I was completely better. My injuries meant that I lost a lot of strength in my back and my legs and had to rebuild that up from scratch.” The accident had an impact on his whole team. “We are such a close-knit unit and I knew that everyone was really worried when the accident happened. We learned after the accident that we’d been hit by a young, uninsured driver in a vehicle with three bald

tyres! My employers were brilliant and, fortunately, my colleague who was driving sustained only minor injuries in the accident – I’m really grateful that everyone was so supportive.” Sam came to visit the Air Ambulance team in April this year and seeing the helicopter brought back many memories. “It’s quite emotional seeing everyone here today. Although my accident was three years ago and I know that my rehabilitation is still ongoing but I’m just so relieved that I’m now well enough and able to play with my young son, Toby. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for the help I received by everyone that day; it’s still so overwhelming. And thanks for the opportunity to visit the airbase; it’s a really important part of the process to full health to do such things.”o

“ They were hit from behind at such speed and with such force that the Land Rover flipped and rolled over before landing on its side. ”

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summer 2019 | LOTTERY


Then and Now... Lottery Administrator, Jane Raddon, joined Devon Air Ambulance in 2006 so has seen a lot of positive developments in the lottery since then. Tracy sits down with Jane to take a look back. When did Devon Air Ambulance’s lottery start? Well, I’ve only been at the charity for twelve and a half years, but I know our very earliest weekly draw took place in September 2001 when we were granted an operating license from the Gambling Commission. How has the membership grown over the year? There were about 4,000 members for the initial draw, which was a great achievement. When I joined the charity, that had reached about 11,500 and we now have nearly 40,000! What’s really lovely is that some of the members who were with us on day one are still playing every week. In your time as lottery administrator, what have been the positive changes? It is a lot more streamlined now, with much less paper! It used to involve a lot of administration like completing membership cards and keeping them up to date, as well as printing labels and letters. The banking process was also very labour intensive. Now I may have to make 2 or 3 corrections to the membership information that is downloaded but, in the early days, this was sometimes as much as 12 pages of changes! How has the way members pay changed over the years? This can be done in a number of ways. Standing Order used to be our preferred method but, over the last two years, all our new members sign up by Direct Debit which is a more cost effective method for the charity. If a member wants to pay by cash, though, they can still do this every week by popping into one of the small shops across the county who act as our agents. How is the draw actually made? Running any lottery is strictly regulated by the Gambling Commission so we use a company called Tower Lotteries who operate the automated system which randomly selects the winning numbers from the membership database.

Jane Raddon & Tracy Owen

How do people find out if they’ve won a prize? We send out a letter of congratulations with their cheque, that’s why it is important for our members to tell us when they move, otherwise their winning cheque may go to their old house! I always telephone the winner of the first prize soon after the weekly draw, normally around lunchtime on a Friday. What do people normally say when you tell them you’ve won? There’s a lot of squealing with delight, which is lovely. What most people say is “Are you joking?!” Sometimes people really don’t believe me, and on very rare occasions I’ve had the phone put down on me! I hope those winners realise why I was calling when they get the cheque in the post! What question do you get asked most often? Why are the top prizes £1,350 and £135? I tell people this is because we operate EC135 helicopters! I know we are due to take ownership of a new EC145 helicopter next year, any plans to do something special for the lottery? I couldn’t possibly say, but just watch this space... And finally, what do you like most about your job as Lottery Administrator? Everything! People are really happy to be members of our lottery. They know their membership fee goes towards supporting a vital local service, but they also have the added bonus of perhaps winning a great weekly prize. It’s a ‘win win’ for everyone!

YOU CAN JOIN OUR LOTTERY BY: • Completing the Lottery Membership Application Form (overleaf) or printing a copy from our website, or • picking up a form at any of our 19 shops • via a DAA lottery canvasser at events and destinations around the county


Profile: Tracy Owen - Fundraising Manager Email: Tracy has been with DAA for over 10 years and oversees all aspects of fundraising, including working with those who have nominated us as their Charity of the Year, business supporters and our own in-house lottery.

Lottery Membership Application Lottery Membership Application

Thesum sum of of (tick only) The (tickone onebox box only)

2 Numbers 2 Chances £8.68 £8.68 Monthly Monthly ❑ £26.00 Quarterly ❑ £26.00 Quarterly £52.00 Half Yearly ❑ £52.00 Annually Six Monthly £104.00 ❑

1 Number 1 Chance

❑ £13.00 Quarterly ❑ £13.00 Quarterly £26.00 Half Yearly ❑ £26.00 Six Monthly £52.00 Annually ❑ £4.34 Monthly Monthly £4.34

DAATLottery Lottery Office, Office,55 Sandpiper SandpiperCourt, Court,Harrington HarringtonLane, Lane,Exeter ExeterEX4 EX48NS 4NS DAAT The address is all is youallneed us by by post. Thepostal above postalabove address youwhen needcontacting when contacting Staff I/D Number


Official Use Only

Payments to be paid on either 6th or 20th of each month First payment due immediately and thereafter on 6th or 20th of each month.

HP 07/19 HP1116

Your Details

£52.00 Annually NB: Monthly subscription first£104.00 paymentAnnually is £5 per number


Mr / Mrs / Miss / Other First Name Surname Date of Birth

Instruction to your bank or building society to pay by Direct Debit Please fill in the form and send to: DAAT Lottery, 5 Sandpiper Court, Harrington Lane, Exeter EX4 8NS.

Name and full postal address of your bank or building society To: The M anager


Service user number







B a n k / b u ild in g s o c ie t y



Postcode Telephone

Name(s) of account holder(s)

Email I Confirm I am 16 yrs of age or over

Branch sort code

Cheque Payment - Amount Received £.................. For

entries @ £1 per week per entry

Lottery promoted by Devon Air Ambulance Trust. Devon Air Ambulance Trust is licensed by the Gambling Commission, Number 000-0005032-N-308657-001. Responsible person: C. Creer Please gamble responsibly. For advice visit DAAT is a member of the Lotteries Council and is committed to promoting a responsible approach to gambling. Contact us at : T: 01392 469 886 E:

Administration Office: DAAT Lottery Office, 5 Sandpiper Court, Harrington Lane, Exeter EX4 8NS. You will shortly receive a letter from us showing your lucky number/s. There is no need to claim as all prizes are paid automatically.

All proceeds go to support the Devon Air Ambulance Trust Charity No 1077998. Your subscription is greatly appreciated as last year it cost £6.4 million to keep both helicopters flying. We receive no funding from either the Government or the National Lottery. We rely on your support, to help us to continue our essential lifesaving service. Results are printed in the Plymouth & Devon Sunday Independent and published every Friday afternoon on our website at Thank you for your support - you are truly making a difference.

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Instruction to your bank or building society Please pay DAAT Lottery Direct Debits from the account detailed in this Instruction subject to the safeguards assured by the Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand that this Instruction may remain with The Air Ambulance Lottery Society and, if so, details will be passed electronically to my bank/building society.



• All customer funds intended for the use in future gambling and or lottery subscriptions will be held in a separate bank account or accounts relating to the relevant affiliated charity lottery and will be completely separate from the Charity’s trading income. • We are required by our licence to inform customers about what happens to funds which we hold on account for you, and the extent to which funds are protected in the event of insolvency. We hold customer funds separate from Charity’s funds. This means that steps have been taken to protect customer funds but that there is no absolute guarantee that all funds will be repaid. This meets the Gambling Commission’s requirements for the segregation of customer funds at the level: medium protection. • The licensee operates a strict no ‘cash policy’ to prevent the risk of crimes such as money laundering, to avoid the giving of illicit credit and to provide assurances that gambling activities are being conducted fairly. Banks and building societies may not accept Direct Debit Instructions for some types of account.

By signing this form you agree to the lottery terms and conditions. For a copy of the terms and conditions please call 01392 469886.

This Guarantee should be retained by the payer.

The Direct Debit Guarantee

• This Guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits. This Guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to • If there are any changes to the amount, date or pay Direct Debits frequency of your Direct Debit DAAT Lottery will notify you five (5) If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit PSL re working dayswill in advance of5your account debitedoforyour as otherwise agreed. If DAAT Lottery notify you working daysbeing in advance account being debited you request DAAT Lottery to collect payment, confirmation of the amountaand or as otherwise agreed. If you requesta The PSL re DAAT Lottery to collect payment, confirmation date will be of given to you at the time of the request. the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request • Ifananerror errorisismade madeininthe thepayment paymentof ofyour yourDirect Direct Debit, Debit, by by PSL DAATreLottery your If DAAT or Lottery bank building society, you areyou entitled to a fulltoand immediate or youror bank or building society, are entitled a full and immediate refund of refund of the amount paidbank from or your bank or building society. the amount paid from your building society -IfIfyou youreceive receiveaarefund refund you you are are not not entitled entitled to, to, you you must – must pay pay itit back back when when PSL re DAAT DAATLottery Lotteryasks asksyou youto. to. • You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or buildingWritten Society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also society. confirmation may be required. Please also notify us.notify us.

DAA would like to keep you informed about our work, how your support has helped keep our helicopters in the air and how you can be involved in the future. We take the protection of your personal information very seriously and don’t share your data with any third party. If you would like to hear from us, please tick the relevant boxes below:

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summer 2019 | helipad



Regular Valuation Days held throughout Devon St. Edmund’s Court, Okehampton Street, Exeter EX4 1DU T: 01392 413100 W: E:

Abbotsham | Bideford | Devon | EX39 5BE

A beautiful country home dedicated to outstanding care at a realistic cost Wet Rooms ● Walk-in Baths ● Wash & Dry Toilets Seated Showering ● Level Access ● Grab Rails Raised Toilets ● Adapted Taps ● Accessible Ovens Rise & Fall Hobs Worktops & Cupboards Open Mon - Fri: 7.30am - 5pm Sat: 8am -12pm RGC Collingwood Road Dartmouth TQ6 9JY t: 01803 834622 E:

● Residential and dementia care ● Respite stays welcome ● Beautifully landscaped gardens ● Safe, friendly and homely accommodation ● Daily activities programme Feel free to pop in for a chat with Home Manager Rae or call 01237 470060 for more information

Registered Charity No. 1014697


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ow has your garden grown this year? I started my last column with dark clouds, a cool wind and showers of rain…several months later and the picture was very similar, before the recent hot spell. Our poor gardens really have had everything thrown at them so far this year, no wonder I’ve seen gardens with camellias and roses blooming together, they don’t know where they are. This year, I’ve been particularly struck by the beauty of Cornus, the dogwoods, of which Rosemoor has a national collection. It is a varied genus, ranging from the stunning coloured winter stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ and C. alba ‘Kesselringii’ which set off snowdrops, hellebores and heathers so well and have colourful autumn leaves too, to the delightful ground cover of Cornus canadensis, and the showy layers of coloured bracts from the small trees of Cornus kousa var. chinensis and its ilk, with the added bonus of autumn colour from leaves and fruits. They can all be planted on a cool day, anytime from now until the autumn and in the spring, in any soil, and with a good layer of well-rotted mulch on top. The Cornus trees and shrubs are happiest in sun or partial shade, and the groundcover will spread best in more moist, partially shaded ground under trees and shrubs. If you have to keep plants in their pots for a few weeks before planting, always make sure you feed and water them well.

Quite Contrary

With such a mixture of weather so far this year, it’s no wonder Sarah Chesters thinks our gardens could be a bit ‘confused’. To help combat this, Sarah offers us some helpful suggestions for planting suitable in rain or shine, and regardless of aspect or soil type. Cornus kousa var. chinensis

summer 2019 | GARDENS For a really sunny or partially shaded spot with good drainage, look out for Phlomis plants, with flowers of yellow, pink or lilac, and foliage of silvery grey-green, or richer green leaves. They flower through the summer and into autumn, and if you leave the seedheads they look really beautiful and the

birds will be delighted. For extra vertical lines coming up through your borders, plant the large bulbs of Fritillaria imperialis, the crown imperial, on their side in autumn as recommended by bulb specialists, to flower in April/May. I grew rich orange and yellow forms

Fritillaria imperialis

Lilium martagonense var. album

Cornus alba Sibirica

for the first time this year and will be planting more this autumn. Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ bulbs planted in late summer, flower between your plants next May/June, and if you love lilies, try Lilium martagon, more understated than the large, showy regal lily, but having delicate flowers with

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’


reflexed petals in a wide range of colours. These tall bulbs will be happy in any soil and aspect, just give them a little shelter between plants to prevent wind damage and add a few handfuls of coarse grit around the bulb when planting, to improve drainage and discourage slugs. o

Cornus kousa ‘Miss Satoni’

TOP TIPS... • July – visit gardens, plant late summer perennials for extra colour, check for Clematis wilt – prune any collapsed stems right down underground • August – visit gardens, prune long Wisteria stems, leaving just 5-6 buds of each stem • September – visit gardens, plant daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs • October – prune climbing roses to prevent strong gales ripping off stems, move tender plants into pots in the greenhouse/conservatory.

Cornus canadensis

GARDENS Profile: Sarah Chesters - Education and Learning Manager at RHS Rosemoor, near Torrington, North Devon


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To p

of th e

To w ns IT’S OF FICIAL !

Excellent Excellent estuary estuary

eccentricity eccentricity It will have come as no surprise to the 5,000 residents of Topsham that their little part of Devon was named as the ‘Best Place to Live in the South West’ in The Sunday Times guide for 2019


hat’s no mean feat when you consider the wealth of beautiful places to choose from throughout the region, from country villages, harbour towns and fishing ports, to trendy city enclaves and gentrified historic quarters. Or, as the Sunday Times put it, the choices could have encompassed a ‘proseccotinted village’, ‘arty shops with on-trend cafes’ or ‘bargain bagging’ at an artisan dominated market. However, when you look closer at the criteria applied by The Sunday Times judges, you begin to understand

why locals would consider Topsham such an obvious winner. The survey assessed a wide range of factors, from employment, schools and broadband speeds, to culture, community spirit and local shops, and overlaid this with the sense of identity and community they witnessed. And they found bucketloads of this in Topsham, with the town ticking all the right boxes and impressing the judges with its ‘excellent estuary eccentricity’. Topsham is certainly an attractive place – located on the east side of the tidal Exe

estuary facing Exmouth, the town once prospered as a port and ship-building centre and amassed considerable wealth through the export of wool and cotton mostly to the Low Countries. At one time it was the country’s second busiest port. A legacy of this trade can still be seen in the 17th century Dutch gabled buildings that remain alongside rows of dock workers’ cottages. A waterside setting with lovely views across the estuary helps to create a marine ambience, but it is that hint of quirkiness in

Topsham’s character that makes it so enduringly memorable. A walk along Fore Street reveals an eclectic collection of independent retailers. There are plenty of gift shops and galleries to peruse and a lively Saturday market at Matthews Hall selling fresh produce as well as books, antiques and curios. Topsham also boasts a mouth-watering array of restaurants and eateries, an award-winning patisserie and one of the UK’s best cheese shops. With a top class butcher, fishmonger, bakery and

summer 2019 | BEAUTIFUL DEVON greengrocer, residents have the widest range of food choice on their door step. There are also pubs and bars of every kind on the quay and along Fore Street while, on the road to the

renowned and award-winning Darts Farm Shop, you’ll pass the Bridge Inn, reputedly the only pub ever visited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. There is also the Turf Locks pub - which can only be

Devon Air Ambulance is part of the Topsham mix Topsham is also home to two Devon Air Ambulance shops, one being the Charity’s longest established retail outlet and so firmly rooted in the Topsham community. Originally established to sell books and furniture, the second shop was converted to its specialist ‘Vintage and Variety’ model back in 2012 but closed temporarily last year due to severe flooding caused by a burst water pipe. It has since undergone a full refit and make-over and, happily, reopened for business in May this year. The resurgence of Topsham as a highly desirable residential location has attracted a lot of high-end buyers and their relative affluence has helped DAA’s Topsham shops be among its best performers across its entire retail portfolio.

reached on foot or bicycle or via a passenger ferry from Trout’s Boatyard – and where you’ll find the start of the first ever ship canal dug in Britain. A must visit location is Topsham’s Quayside Antiques


Centre, a former warehouse on the waterfront, boasting 65 dealers in 9,000 square feet spread over three floors, a visual feast and a great source of antiques, curios and collectables.

Beer, Bacon and Bands...

There’s plenty going on all year round in Topsham. You can take a guided walk or a boat trip, perhaps catch a live performance at the comedy and folk clubs or take in a classic car show. Many locals and visitors particularly love the August Town Fayre, with its Allotments and Garden Show, children’s events and carnival procession. In 2018, the popular Food Festival welcomed an artisan food and drink market, street food, live music and the ‘fire and spice’ cookery theatre. The highlight was Nello’s Longest Table where the community came together to dine from some 350 tables stretching the length of Fore Street, around the quay, down Ferry Road and passed the Underway to the Passage Inn. The quayside Beer & Bacon Festival in September is also proving a smash hit with visitors and residents alike. The event has live music and street food, along with a chilli eating competition. Local ales, beers and wine abound and you can even sample a bacon cocktail! Parking can be a challenge in Topsham, but it does have a railway station on the Avocet Line which is accessible from either Exeter or Exmouth and the town is well served by buses.


helipad |

Community Spirit The positive and optimistic character of Topsham can be seen by taking a stroll around Fore Street and chatting to the traders. You’ll find a real sense of community and a desire to help each other to succeed, which culminated in the launch of the ‘Love Topsham’ card, a loyalty scheme aimed at preserving the independence of businesses and boosting the local economy. Eating and drinking locally clearly matters a lot to the residents of Topsham, as well as the traders, who go out of their way to champion the belief that local consumption has a range of beneficial and sustainable outcomes. Meals are fresh, food miles are minimised and produce has impeccable provenance. It is economical, convenient and provides an enjoyable

and personal experience. Money spent within the community stays within the community – so what’s not to love? This sense of identity can be seen most acutely in worries that the ‘gap’

Editor’s note - and let’s not forget Chagford .. A picturesque market town, Chagford was placed third in the Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live in the South West’ guide and described as ‘Dartmoor with creature comforts’ – another outstanding achievement for our beautiful county.

between Topsham and neighbouring Exeter is irrevocably narrowing through new housing developments and urban sprawl. Many locals dislike being thought of as a suburb of the big city –

Topsham was designated a town by Royal Charter 719 years ago, so it is understandable that those who call Topsham home feel fiercely protective, and proud, of their independence.o .

summer 2019 | RETAIL




When Retail Operations Manager, Chrissie Peel, was tasked with designing Devon Air Ambulance’s innovative Vintage and Variety retail shops, she needed to use all her powers of creativity


here are so many factors to consider whenever you think about planning any new shop, starting with choosing the appropriate location and, it goes without saying, finding the right premises in the right place at the right time (which is often easier said than done!). When I was first asked to design our new Vintage and Variety format (our first shop opened in Dartmouth in February 2018) I had a completely blank drawing board. Devon Air Ambulance had never attempted this before, and I was sure that none of the other charities had either. I was very familiar with the format of our standard shop layouts, from the colours and branding we use, right down to the position of shelves and displays. While our different shop premises are not identical, we have a tried and

tested blueprint which helps us achieve the same high standard of consistency for each of our shops. But this was a new concept, so I started by doing a lot of research into what the words Vintage and Variety actually mean so I could translate that into the look and feel I wanted to achieve for the shop. The internet was great, as there are lots of sites like Pinterest where I was able to search on words or themes to give me lots of ideas. Another important part of the process was in developing a unique branding for our Vintage and Variety shops. We have a palette of specific colours and lettering styles that we use at Devon Air Ambulance but these didn’t exactly fit in with the mood we wanted to achieve. I therefore worked with Sarah Burden, our Marketing & Communications manager,

to create a secondary palette of more appropriate colours, such as turquoise, teal and sepia. I also had to think about the materials we use, such as bleached wood on the floors and vintage style panelling. And while being creative is extremely important, there is also quite a lot of science behind getting the design to fruition. While I do sketch out the early drafts by hand, I then use ‘smart draw’ software when I need to start putting some figures and measurements on to plans. This also helps me manipulate the shop fittings and the layout and work out how to best use the space for the changing rooms and storage. And of course, as with any shop planning, there are many, many other more practical considerations that have to be included in the mix, from health and safety, heating

and lighting to installing the appropriate I.T. and phone line to operate the till. When it comes to what we sell, we make sure that everything fits in with our vintage or variety theme. This could be anything from vintage style clothing, classy accessories, jewellery or homewares. We are lucky at DAA because our other shops are really supportive. If they receive a donation that they think would be more appropriate for our Dartmouth or Topsham shop to sell, they send it over. Thankfully, having been through the process with Dartmouth, it was much more straight-forward when I came to redesign our second shop in Topsham. I was extremely proud when it opened its doors to the public on the 18th May this year and it has been very rewarding that it has been an instant hit! o



Elsie Knocker The Angel of Pervyse

Elsie Knocker was, in every sense, a remarkable woman. Born in 1884 at No. 1 Barnfield Crescent in Exeter, she was the daughter of a local surgeon Dr Lewis Shapter and granddaughter of the eminent Dr Thomas Shapter, whose account of the 1832 Cholera epidemic in Exeter helped to fundamentally change public sanitation policy. Mairi Chisholm (left) driving Elsie Knocker


lsie trained as a nurse and became an early pioneer of motorcycle racing where she met Mairi Chisholm and together they volunteered to become despatch riders at the outbreak of World War I. It soon became apparent that their nursing skills would be far more valuable and, against the odds, the two set up a dressing station in a cellar of a bombed out building in Pervyse, Belgium. Soon, they realised too many wounded soldiers were dying because of the distance and time between where they were injured and where they were treated. So, they moved their operation closer to the action and were able to provide ‘golden hour’ treatment to some 23,000 casualties over a four year period, working and living just 100 yards from the enemy front line. They lived in terrible conditions under constant bombardment and the threat of snipers but showed incredible calm, determination and fortitude. They even rescued a wounded pilot from no-man’s land, Elsie carrying him to safety on her back. For their bravery, King Albert of the Belgians made them Chevaliers de l’Ordre de Leopold in January 1915, and the intrepid duo became known as ‘The Angels of Pervyse’. By 1916, the first aid post – which cost about £60 a month to operate – had two ambulance vehicles, a lorry and a converted Wolseley. It was around this time that Elsie and Mairi embarked on a fund-raising tour of England and Scotland, visiting Exeter

where they addressed an audience at Barnfield Hall (now the Barnfield Theatre) opposite the house where Elsie was born. The people of Exeter donated enough to keep their operation going for three months – a not inconsiderable sum at that time. In 1918, the Angels were both invalided out of the services after being gassed and Elsie ended her war as an early volunteer for the embryonic Women’s Royal Air Force. Elsie’s first marriage to Leslie Duke Knocker - by whom she had a son – ended in divorce. Sadly her second marriage, to dashing Belgian pilot Baron Harold de T’Serclaes, did not last when the devout catholic aristocrat found out she was a divorcee! Now a Baroness in name only, Elsie went on to join the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force when war began again in September 1939, working with RAF Fighter Command and twice being mentioned in despatches. Tragically, her only son, Wing Commander Kenneth Duke Knocker was killed when his plane was shot down in 1942 . When Elsie left the service, she undertook voluntary work for the Royal Air Forces Association and Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. On 4th November 2017, a commemorative Blue Plaque was unveiled at her former home in Barnfield Crescent by Paul Baker, the regional director of the Royal Air Forces Association. Elsie Knocker, Baroness de T’Serclaes, Angel of Pervyse died in 1978 aged 94 – a truly inspiring and remarkable woman. o

summer 2019 | PATIENTS 31

Lydia raises funds to say Thank You T

he school summer holidays had just started last July and the Perraton family of Frogmore, near Kingsbridge, were full of anticipation about the weeks to come. All their plans changed, however, on Sunday 22nd July when 6-year old Lydia was involved in an accident that needed urgent medical attention and a helicopter flight to Bristol Children’s Hospital for specialist surgery. The family were all outdoors that afternoon, with Lydia playing on her bike in the farmyard while brothers, Henry aged 4 and Lewis aged 9 were riding on the tractor with their dad. Suddenly, Lydia toppled from her bike and her left leg was run over by the wheels of the trailer behind the tractor. An urgent call came in to the South West Ambulance control centre and Devon Air Ambulance was dispatched immediately. As the helicopter landed in a neighbouring field, aircrew paramedics Mark Hawley and Alex Sanders-Page rushed to the farm. It was clear that Lydia had Lydia with family and paramedic Mark Hawley

suffered severe damage to her leg, which was also at risk of infection from the dirt on the farmyard ground. As Lydia was being attended, her mum Vicci, was grateful to learn that she could travel in the helicopter with Lydia as they prepared for the flight to Bristol Children’s Hospital. With a flight time of just

Children’s Hospital just two weeks later, already propelling herself around in a wheelchair. Lydia spent the rest of the school holidays using her wheelchair and even returned to school in September still using it, grateful that her school had been adapted for wheelchair use some years

“ Incredibly, Lydia was discharged from the Children’s Hospital just two weeks later, already propelling herself around in a wheelchair. ” 45 minutes, the helicopter arrived at Bristol and Lydia was rushed through A&E for the first of two major surgeries. Within three hours, she underwent a six and a half hour operation, with a priority of removing all the dirt before taking a vein from Lydia’s right leg to restore the blood flow in order to save Lydia’s left foot. The following day, little Lydia had a further 12 hours of surgery to rebuild her calf, using skin and muscle tissue from her shoulder. Incredibly, Lydia was discharged from the

earlier – and Lydia was the first pupil to need it! When Helipad’s Debbie Gregory caught up with Vicci earlier this year, she expressed her absolute pride in her young daughter. “Lydia was amazing all the way through. She was always so strong about everything and just got on with it. She used the wheelchair initially before progressing on to crutches for a further few weeks. She still can’t fully bend her knee but has been gradually rebuilding her strength with physiotherapy. She’s been

left with some significant scarring down the whole of her left leg, and she still wears surgical stockings at the moment; we’re hoping with scar management, they’ll lessen over the years and that they won’t worry her too much as she gets older. Her limp is now barely noticeable and she really doesn’t let it bother her, she’s just been great.” Chatting with her family back on the farm in spring this year, Lydia decided that she would like to raise money for Devon Air Ambulance and set about organising a book and toy sale, along with an Afternoon Tea in Chillington Village Hall. The event, which was held on 6th April, was so successful it raised a magnificent £1,100! Lydia and her family were delighted to be reunited with paramedics Mark Hawley and Alex Sanders-Page at a visit to Exeter Airbase. Mark was full of praise for the little girl, “Lydia was incredible,” he explained. “She was so brave and didn’t complain once. It’s fantastic to see her today; and brilliant to see that she has made such a remarkable recovery.” o


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Retail Tales

The corner shop in Patna Place

Jill Sweet takes us on a witty and nostalgic trip down memory lane as she remembers shopping in 1950’s Plymouth


love shops, not just the acquisition of “things” but the shops themselves. They are a microcosm of all human life. The good, the bad, the quirky and sometimes downright strange. As a child of the fifties, a trip to the city centre of Plymouth was a grand adventure. Bomb damage from the blitz had left huge craters in the town, which you had to navigate your way over on makeshift wooden bridges. However, once there, you felt that you had crossed into another world full of warmth and anticipation as the city flickered back into life after

six hard years of war. My fascination with shops began in early childhood. My grandparents ran a corner shop in Patna Place (does anyone remember it?). Talk about ‘Open all hours’,

the shop bell rang and they frequently had to abandon their food altogether to serve customers with a loaf of bread, a tin of beans or a box of matches. We never thought much

“ It was okay for a few creepy crawlies in the goods, but for heaven’s sake don’t cheat on the weight! . ” Grandad had a brown linen coat just like Ronnie Barker! He and Gran opened up at 6.00am to catch the Dock Yardies going to work and did not close until 10.00pm. They never took more than a few bites of a meal before

about health and hygiene back then, so dried goods were weighed in the back parlour and put into brown paper bags. However, the weighing scales were regularly checked for accuracy. It was okay for a

few creepy crawlies in the goods, but for heaven’s sake don’t cheat on the weight! They also ran a tap and barrel behind the counter so you could bring in a jug and have ale dispensed. A certain Miss “J” - who was frail with a quavery voice - came in every evening at 8.30pm for a jugful of medicinal stout. She didn’t hold with drink, of course, and didn’t enjoy it! In those days, ‘ladies’ didn’t imbibe but the odd tipple was allowed if only to treat ailments (real or imagined!). I loved the suppliers who came into the shop. One such was a terrifyingly loud farmer called Archie. I can

summer 2019 | NOSTALGIA still see him now with his weather-beaten face. If I was in the shop he would roar out “where’s the little maid?” and I would be lifted up onto the counter like an ornamental doll in my frilly frock. Archie brought in fowls and eggs for the shop. The chickens were described as “rough pluckers” - be careful how you say that! They were not the lovely smooth oven-ready chickens of today, so needed more enthusiastic cosmetic attention before cooking. Another great milestone in shop life came with the acquisition of a Kelvinator refrigerator. Gran made penny lollies in ghastly shades of red or blue colouring. Your tongue was stained for a week after eating them so there was no denying it if you pinched one. Even though Gran was a shopkeeper herself, she loved going to town. It was always an occasion which required hat, coat and formal gloves. It would have been the height of ignominy to be seen improperly clothed, after all, you never know who you might meet. Whatever Gran bought, she left the label on in case she changed her mind.

“ In those days, ‘ladies’ didn’t imbibe but the odd tipple was allowed if only to treat ailments (real or imagined!) ”

Poor Grandad said that, if she could have, she would have left a ticket on him! At the time, there were two major stops on any trip to town. Griggs the deli for a quarter of ham cut off the bone and a packet of Liptons tea, and then to E. Dingle & Co. (now House of Fraser). It’s hard for us now to imagine how posh this department store was. The ground floor was a high-class grocery department, a bit like a mini Fortnum & Mason. The rest of the store was really only open to first class customers with money to spend, but you could still browse and pretend you could afford to buy. The lady assistants in Dingles were famously a cut above normal shop staff. Beautifully made up with a black and white outfit, and absolutely no trousers allowed. As a customer you were addressed as “Modom” or ”Sir”. My dear Dad paid me a huge compliment when I was looking smart, he said you look lovely darling “all done up like a Dingles girl” - I was thrilled. Are there any Dingles girls still out there? Things were very different when I was young - safer (perhaps?) and certainly less

traffic. From the age of 9 or 10, I was entrusted with shopping “errands” to the local stores for my Mum. A pound note to be taken to the co-op butchery for a joint of beef, instruction given, no more than 7 shillings and six pence for the joint plus three pork chops and some sausages. On the way home, call in for Mum’s ciggies, 10 Nelsons and finally a quarter of a stone of potatoes at the greengrocer, to be put in an old shopping bag lined with newspaper … no plastic bags in those days. At all costs, I must remember to give Mum’s coop membership number for the Divi 82747! I think if you cut me open 82747 would be tattooed on my heart. Local independent shops abounded, like Spooners and Yeo’s, with no thought of multi-nationals or High Street chains. While waiting to be served, you would hear little fragments of conversations, salacious gossip and scandals to intrigue you, if only you could dally a bit longer to know how every story ended. You can’t get this experience and fun online! More trips down memory lane another time.o


Jill Sweet Jill was born in Plymouth in 1950. She spent much of her working life at British Telecom and moved to Exeter in 1999 with husband Mike. Jill volunteers at DAA Head Office, helping out on reception and with the lottery team.

Jill, ‘back then’


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FROM GARDEN TO PLATE Like many people, Helipad Editor Ali Simpson loves to grow her own fruit, veg and herbs so is always looking for ways to make sure none of this great summer produce goes to waste I was once an avid exponent of the ‘The Good Life’ with a prolific kitchen garden but, when I moved to a suburban house with a sloping garden more suited to flowerbeds and lawns, I thought I would have to give up growing my own produce. However, I’ve recently discovered how easy it is to grow all sorts of fruit, veg and salad crops in tubs, pots and

Mediterranean tomatoes baked with chillies, garlic and black olives

Serves 4 12-14 large ripe tomatoes, quartered One crushed clove of garlic A large red or green chilli 2 or 3 large spring onions A handful of pitted black olives Olive Oil or Chilli Oil Balsamic vinegar Basil leaves

planters, so have managed to create a mini ‘allotment’ on my patio. The only problem is that, in the summer, I can get a bit overwhelmed by the volume of fruit and veg being produced, so I love recipes which make the most of what I grow. Here are two of my favourites.

I love this recipe – with lots of tomatoes ripening at the same time, it can be a chore to eat them all raw. It takes about five minutes to prepare and is really versatile. I add crumbled feta and chorizo and eat it with crusty bread if I want a light lunch or serve it as an accompaniment with white fish or steak. You can even stir it into home-made or canned Bolognese sauce for some added piquancy, and it freezes well too. Method: 1. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with a crushed clove of garlic, a chopped deseeded red or green chilli and 2 or 3 finely chopped spring onions. Add a slug of balsamic vinegar (about a tablespoon) and the same of olive oil. If you want to add an extra kick, use chilli oil instead. Mix well and tip into a large, shallow overproof dish. 2. Heat your oven to 185 degrees c/365F/Gas Mark 4. Bake for about 30-40 minutes then remove and sprinkle over a handful of whole pitted black olives. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. 3. Serve straight from the oven, garnished with lemon wedges and basil leaves, parsley or snipped chives (all home grown, of course).

summer 2019 | FOOD & DRINK

Strawberry Pavlova

Serves 8-10 5 egg whites 300g/10 ½ oz caster sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 300ml/½ pint double cream 6 tablespoons of natural yoghurt Halved washed strawberries A small bar of plain dark chocolate A handful of fresh mint leaves


This is one of my summer favourites. It is simplicity itself to make but has a real wow factor, so is a perfect ‘crowd pleaser’ for a large outside party or barbecue. Home-made meringue is far superior to shop bought, combining a crunchy crispy outside with a soft, marshmallowy inside. You can use any other sort of fruit that you grow yourself, like raspberries, but I also like to ring the changes with mango or passionfruit. Method: 1. Preheat your oven to 130 degrees c/275F/gas mark 1. In a clean dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff then add the vanilla extract and sugar (1 tablespoon at a time), continuing to whisk until the mixture is thick and shiny. Lay a piece of greaseproof paper or baking silicone onto a large baking sheet and spoon on the meringue mixture – it should form a rough circle about 30cm/12 inches wide. Make a dip in the middle and bake for 1 hour until the meringue is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Don’t worry if it looks broken and crumbly, this is part of its charm. 2. Whisk the cream and yoghurt until thickened, then spoon into the middle of the meringue and top with piles of fresh fruit. In a small bowl over a barely simmering pan of water, melt the chocolate and, using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate all over the fruit, cream and meringue. Sprinkle with mint leaves before serving.

Chef Richard Hunt will return in the winter issue.


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Junior Crew

We love hearing what the young people in our county get up to in order to raise funds for Devon Air Ambulance The eagle-eyed among you will have seen in Stop Press that DAA Volunteer Manager, Cara Jones, lopped off her long locks in aid of DAA this spring and donated the 13” plait to the Little Princess Trust. And it’s not just Cara who has gone for a new look this summer...

One year after we airlifted Matt Hannam from Chulmleigh, his son 14- year Kieran had his hair shaved for DAA and raised £185! Kieran was also involved in another fundraising activity when he played the cornet in a concert given by the Torrington Silver Band, of which his dad is also a member. The event raised over £600!

6-year old Katy Lewis from Hatherleigh was inspired to raise funds for DAA when the Air Ambulance attended her grandad, Roger McAndrew. Katy raised £65 in sponsorship by having her hair cut short in April this year; like Cara, she AFTER then donated the hair to the Little Princess Trust.




p Many thanks go to the 1st Pinhoe Guides who, for the third year running, gave up an evening to come to our Head Office and help pack nearly 500 t-shirts for this year’s Motorcycle Ride Out – thanks everyone! t 36 students from Teign School in Kingsteignton took part in this year’s Ten Tors Challenge. As part of their training, they did a 28-mile sponsored walk over Dartmoor’s rough terrain and raised a magnificent £1,360. The walk, known as the Esh Challenge was founded in memory of a much-loved former science teacher, Esh Rampuri, who had helped train students for Ten Tors for nearly 20 years before his retirement in 2007. Sadly, Esh passed away not long after he retired but is still fondly remembered by all who take up the Ten Tors Challenge. This year’s funds were split between DAA and Dartmoor Rescue Group, two emergency services vital to the safety of all participants.



If your youngster would like to get involved in a fundraising activity, or you would like to book a school talk, please contact Louise on

summer 2019 | PATIENTS

Unexpected end to a holiday


Jim and Rebecca Hinsley from Reading were enjoying a West Country holiday in July 2018 with their 13-month old daughter, Grace, when their plans changed dramatically.


reparing breakfast in their holiday accommodation in Westward Ho! Rebecca had just poured boiling water into the mugs for their coffee and turned to get the milk, when toddler Grace reached up and grabbed a mug, tipping the contents all down her chest and tummy. Rebecca quickly pulled off Grace’s vest and, with her screaming in pain, dad Jim grabbed her and ran to the shower to hold his daughter under the cold running water. Despite never having had any formal first-aid training, they knew that cooling the

skin was vital but, as they watched, the pressure of the water coming from the shower was taking the skin from Grace’s tummy. Rebecca soaked a towel in cold water and cuddled her daughter to her instead. As Jim ran to the owners of their accommodation for help, Rebecca got into a bath of cold water with Grace, then the room suddenly filled with emergency service personnel; a land ambulance crew, first responders AND an aircrew from Devon Air Ambulance, including paramedics Dave Huyton

and Mark Hawley with Dr Lucy Obolensky. With morphine administered and Grace wrapped in a specialist film, Rebecca was relieved to learn that she could go in the helicopter with her young daughter. Strapped on to the stretcher with Grace on her lap, Rebecca’s thoughts were with Jim, left on the ground to make the journey to Bristol by road. In the week they stayed at Bristol Children’s Hospital, Grace was treated with sterile baths to remove the damaged skin. Rebecca was so proud of her little girl, explaining, “She was such a little trooper. Once

s ute n i m 27

s 2h rs 10 minute

the morphine had started to work, she calmed right down and, other than hating the three sterile baths she had to have, she was brilliant throughout. She made such a remarkable recovery, we couldn’t believe it. We are so grateful to everyone who helped us at that time.” Fortunately, Grace has been left with very little scarring and is now completely back to her usual, happy self. She is also enjoying being a big sister as the family have since celebrated the safe arrival of baby John, born on 12th November, and completely unaware that he’s already been in a helicopter! o


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Family Ties Critical Care Doctor Clare Bosanko has a very personal connection to Devon Air Ambulance and the county she used to visit as a child Clare and her grandad Brian


lthough born and raised in neighbouring Somerset, Dr Clare Bosanko has many very fond memories of visiting her grandparents – Brian and Gladys - after they retired to Frogmore in the South Hams. As the eldest of 14 grandchildren, Clare still remembers the excitement of family holidays to the coast, particularly the times she and her cousins spent messing about on Frogmore Creek, sailing and catching fish. Clare’s grandad Brian had glaucoma and, at a time when treatment was less effective than it is today, this eventually led to him becoming blind. While he remained as independent as possibly, one day, in 2005, he took a tumble after misjudging a step at home. This minor trip would normally have been instantly forgotten with perhaps nothing more than a few bruises to show for it, but Brian fell through a plate glass window, cutting an artery in the side of his face. Given the potentially serious nature of his injury, Devon Air Ambulance was dispatched and he was flown to Derriford where he was successfully treated. After his accident, Brian was extremely supportive of the air ambulance, which he believed had saved his life that day. When he sadly passed away, he even left a gift in his will to the Charity – never forgetting what they had done for him

back in 2005. At the time of her grandad’s accident, Clare had been qualified for four years and was working in the West Midlands. She had

as volunteering for the prehospital service care team in Birmingham. Her first experience of flying with an air ambulance was in 2009 when she flew with Midlands

“ She makes sure that all the procedures that the clinical team undertake are safe and of high quality, by reviewing cases, highlighting any issue and, importantly, celebrating good practice. ” always been interested in emergency medicine so started training in that specialism, at the same time

Air Ambulance. But, having such a strong attachment to the South West and Devon in particular,

Clare had always wanted to ‘come home’. Clare eventually relocated with her young family, taking a job at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, one of the few specialist trauma centres in the UK. It was here she met DAA’s Senior Consultant Dr Tim Nutbeam and eventually joined the team at Devon Air Ambulance in January 2016. As well as being one of DAAs operational Clinical Care doctors, Clare also has the additional role of Clinical Governance Lead. She makes sure that all the procedures that the clinical team undertake are safe and of high quality, by reviewing cases, highlighting any issues and, importantly, celebrating good practice. Clare enjoys the challenges of delivering pre-hospital trauma and medical care, and loves being part of the helicopter crew – she still finds it a thrill to fly over Frogmore Creek which brings back so many happy memories of her childhood, and of her grandad Brian. o Editor’s Note We are extremely fortunate to have Critical Care doctors like Clare and her colleagues working alongside our Critical Care Paramedics. As well as providing invaluable support in terms of training and education, they can also help deliver an increasingly complex range of advanced treatments, interventions, anesthesia and life-saving surgical procedures on scene.

summer 2019 | FUNDRAISING


Proud to do our bit When Jo Coombes and her husband Paul made the decision to move from Essex to Devon in November 2014, they left behind busy careers in the clothing retail industry to buy a fishery!


life-long love of fishing and the great outdoors, and an enthusiasm for a complete change of lifestyle, lead them to become the new owners of Stafford Moor Fishery; a hidden gem of a business nestling in heart of the mid-Devon countryside in Dolton, near Winkleigh. With its 67 acres of verdant well-kept grounds and 35 acres of well-stocked fishing lakes, the estate is where the Coombes family now call home. When they first took over the business, Stafford Moor Fishery held a collection box for Devon Air Ambulance. Not long after Jo and Paul had taken residence, they met an angler who regularly joined them for competitions. Chatting with him, they learned that he had been airlifted by the service and that ‘without them, I wouldn’t be here to fish today’. Recognising the importance of such a service, especially given their location and the network of rural lanes and roads surrounding the estate, Jo decided that fundraising for Devon Air Ambulance would become part of their business. As keen organisers of many competitions and festivals throughout the year, Jo encourages the anglers to dip into their pockets at every opportunity, often adding different elements to the competitions to boost donations. Another simple way to raise money is, when fishermen come

into the shopt or office asking to charge their phone or battery pack, the answer is always ‘Yes of course, we just request a donation to Devon Air Ambulance in return.’ No-one has ever said no! Further funds are added when thirsty participants make a donation for their coffee and tea. And, when they have polo shirts left at the end of a competition, anglers are always encouraged to buy them. In addition to the fishing lakes, Jo and Paul also have a number of Canadian Lodges available to rent, all very well-appointed and boasting lakeside views. Or, if you’re looking for a campsite, they have nine touring pitches with electric hook up, suitable for tents, motorhomes or tourers. Jo and Paul have done a sterling job of promoting the Devon Air Ambulance service to holiday-makers, locals and fisherman from near and far. “Our fishery is situated quite close to the DAA Eaglescott airbase and we often see the helicopter go over. We know that the service is absolutely vital throughout the county and we are really proud to do our bit to help keep it flying. We will continue to raise much needed funds for the service that we are so passionate about.” o

“ Jo and Paul have done a sterling job of promoting the Devon Air Ambulance service to holiday-makers, locals and fisherman from near and far. ”

One that didn’t get away!


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Business On Board! One of the most interactive ways that businesses have supported Devon Air Ambulance in recent years has been to take part in our annual Dragon Boat Festival. This fun-packed event takes place on Exeter Quay each September and draws crowds of onlookers and participants alike. Since our first festival in 2014, the event has raised an impressive £80,000! Feedback from attending companies has been entirely positive with comments after the event such as “fantastic team-building”, “surprisingly competitive”, “a great day out” and “fun for all the family.” Here are just some of the reasons why YOUR company might like to take part…

dragon boat festival 2019

Sunday 22 September 1ST

BT (based at Middlemoor) - Team BT Phone Home

PLACE 2018

“We have entered this event for the last two years. It is superbly organised and great fun to take part in even if your team have no experience. All our team really enjoyed taking part and surprised ourselves by actually winning this year. The icing on the cake was the money we raised for a fabulous local charity.” Tony Wells – Team Captain

Exeter Nissan – Team Innovation “The reason why we decided to take part was because it provided us with an activity outside of the workplace, where we can all get together. We also like to support local charities and this is a really deserving cause. The event is extremely well organised and everyone at DAA from staff to volunteers are so friendly and helpful. I would highly recommend this team building day as it’s great fun and the competitiveness really adds to this.” Team Captain – Matthew Holcombe


PLACE 2018

summer 2019 | BUSINESS SUPPORT


Arconic - Team In It For The Beer

PLACE 2017

“Thank you for such a great day. Winning isn’t everything but it did feel good especially having taken part for the past 3 years! Devon Air Ambulance is a magnificent charity and hats off to you all for doing such a good job Marc Davies – Team Captain

Salcombe Rowing Club – Salcombe Oarsomes “We never know when we may need the support of the Devon Air Ambulance; one of our supporters had a dreadful car crash near Modbury three years ago and had to be airlifted to Derriford. We loved the Dragon Boat Race, boy did you give us all a good day out. Thank you.” Jill Bremer, team organiser for Salcombe Oarsomes


RAISED £5,599.7 7 in 2016 & 2018

to reserve your dragon boat book today! email

Burts Potato Chips Limited Main sponsor by Paula Howarth, representative of the Charity Committee

“Burts are incredibly proud to be main sponsors of this year’s Dragon Boat Festival. After members of our employee forum visited the airbases recently, we have an even greater understanding of the incredible work the service does and that has spurred us on even more in our preparations for the festival. Admittedly, preparation is difficult, but that hasn’t dented our enthusiasm and excitement for taking part and to raise money for such a fantastic cause.” You can read why Paula is so keen to support Devon’s Air Ambulances in the blog on our website - news/burts-snacks . When you realise that her grandfather has been airlifted not just once, but twice – and both times from Dartmoor – it’s easy to understand why Paula feels duty-bound to encourage her colleagues to take part in the Dragon Boat Festival.

COFFEE MACHINE PROMO Bean & Leaf are supporting Devon Air Ambulance, as well as our neighbours in Cornwall Air Ambulance, through a coffee machine initiative. The machines offers 12 different hot drinks at £2.00 each, with 75p from every drink sold in Devon going to DAA. If your business would like to host a hot drinks machine, and raise money for DAA with every hot drink sold, please contact Chris Robinson-Brown of Bean & Leaf on 07565 385278 or 01579 347732

Paula and her grandparents



If you would like to discuss ways in which you or your company could support DAA, please contact Tracy Owen on


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Devon People Real people saving real lives - what could you do to save a life? Tony Cannon with David Bell of the Devon Trail Riders Fellowship who raised £436.72 at their Santa Run just before Christmas This year’s Pinhoe Panto – the colourful and fun Dick Whittington – raised £390 – Oh yes it did! Cheryl Hoare ran the Paris Marathon, just one day before the fire at Notre Dame and raised over £1,300!

Tony Cannon with Robin Mill of the South Devon MCC who donated £1,000 from various recent motorcycling events

The Woods Bingo in Tiverton, run from 2009-2019 by Graham and Christine Woods, has raised nearly £40,000! Big thanks to Devonley Voices and Singers Upstairs for their Easter A Capella Choir Concert at the Royal Seven Stars in Totnes in April. The event, led by Vicky Hadland, raised £723

Rich Gott completed an 85-mile unsupported paddle of the Kali Gandaki in Nepal with his mate Liam Kirkham. Their challenge raised just under £1,100 which was split between DAA and our neighbours Dorset & Somerset AA

Jennie Gill’s challenge, to celebrate her 80th birthday, was to swim 1 mile without stopping. Asking all her friends and family to sponsor her, and completing the swim in a very creditable 1 hour 27 minutes, Jennie raised £1,245 for DAA!

summer 2019 | DEVON PEOPLE


The 18th annual Sunnymead Gas Up, initially set up following an airlift for a family member, raised £2,471 this year! A second family member was also airlifted in 2015 Another London Marathon runner – Mark Hawkins, has raised over £2,800! Hot on the heels of the Barcelona Marathon in March, Mark Hawkins celebrates finishing the London Marathon in April this year. His recent runs have raised nearly £5,000 for DAA Winners of the Devon County Council staff Easter Egg Hunt – which raised £55

Thanks to Kirsten Smart who has raised over £1,000 at this year’s London Marathon

Raceworld in East Devon recently held a charity evening which saw a specially logoed kart in Devon Air Ambulance colours take part. £600 was donated to DAA on the night

Ann Crocker celebrated her 80th birthday by abseiling down Meldon Viaduct and raised £900 for DAA in the process A charity football match on 1st June between Hedges FC X1 and Hedges FC Legends was in memory of former player, James Hedges. The event was watched and enjoyed by many and raised £726!


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Sylvia Griffin of Kingsbridge Rotary presents DAA volunteer David Hartley with £2,000, raised while DAA was their Charity of the Year - with £1,000 donated by their twin town of Carentan Utah

PHOTO: © Okehampton Times /James Bird,

Torben Hughes, Landlord of the Clovelly Inn, Bratton Clovelly, with 20-year old Amy Lethbridge presenting volunteers Marilyn and Alan MacQueen with £1,100 raised at a bake sale of minced pies sold over the Christmas and New Year period

Liz Madell and her sister Naomi completed 40km of the 160km Golden Horseshoe Ride, the oldest Endurance ride in England, despite Liz taking a tumble from her horse Twosox mid-way round which had torn her collarbone away from her shoulder joint!

DAA Dr Kate Sharpe and pilot Tilda Woodard were team members in one of the crews that took part in this year’s Eddystone Pursuit. A total of 7 fabulous crews raised funds for DAA during this awesome challenge.

PHOTO: © David Saunders

Nikki Routledge and her daughter Evie at the end of this year’s London Marathon. Nikki and her friend and running partner, Laurie, proudly show off their medals at the finish. Nikki raised over £1,600

summer 2019 | DEVON PEOPLE

Tony Cannon with Keith Worden of the Devonport & District Motorcycle Club who donated £750 to DAA, raised at their various events David Prouse ran the Bideford 10K this May, in an impressive 46 minutes (!) and raised £376 for DAA


Chelston Nursing Park & Residential Home run a scheme called the Jar of Dreams where residents submit requests and staff do their best to make their wishes come true. Resident David Walker wanted to see some motorbikes and, luckily, their nurse trainer is a keen biker and organised a Massive Bike Meet. They raised £540 for DAA in the process. Below: David sits on a Can-Am Spyder trike, fulfilling a long-held dream.

Jean Wright from Bigbury near Kingsbridge and her friends at Bigbury Community Centre raised £239 at a recent coffee morning

Nick Hayden of Lewdown Cricket Club was delighted to present DAA’s Louise Newbery with a cheque for £612 following their Charity Dinner & Raffle in April.

THINKING OF FUNDRAISING? Husband and wife Seth and Ali Whitford and their friend Jon Carkett took on the Hope 24 challenge completing 105 miles between them as a relay and raised over £770


See our GETTING IN TOUCH section on page 3 If you are planning a fundraising activity of any kind, please do give us a call. We can offer support material such as posters, balloons, collection boxes and even running vests, and we can promote your event on our website and social media.


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summer 2019 | PATIENTS


Farming can be a hazardous business! By his own admission, farmer John Dullam is a very lucky man. Helipad’s Debbie Gregory caught up with John when he called to say thank you to the aircrew who came to his rescue


t was 23rd March in 2017 and John was working on the threshing machine, preparing straw for thatching, when it suddenly stopped working and there appeared to be a blockage. Attempting to clear it, John was about to climb out when the machine unexpectedly started up and his overalls became entangled in the moving parts, pulling his leg into the machinery right up to his hip. To start with, John imagined that if his co-workers could just help him relieve the pressure or remove the machine part that was trapping his leg, he would be fine. Unaware of the severity of his injuries, John even managed to take photos of his trapped leg and insisted to his colleagues that ‘there’s no way I need the emergency services to help.’ However, thankfully, his colleagues ignored him and called 999. Both of Devon’s air ambulances were despatched to the farm at South Molton where they were joined by emergency crews from the fire, police and ambulance services.

Surgeons explained that there was a 50/50 chance but proceeded to insert rods and do skin grafts before John was discharged just 10 days later to recover and recuperate at home. He was not out of the woods though. Five months later John developed an infection in the leg and further discussions ensued about whether it would have to be amputated. Once again, thankfully, the treatment worked and John kept his leg, something he is understandably grateful for. Two years on, John is very much involved and back working at the farm, although he now does much of the work from a wheelchair. John was reunited with the pilot who had conveyed him to Derriford at the Devon County Show. They chuckled over a remembered conversation in the aircraft when pilot Richie had suggested that Dr Kate might need his Gerber knife if she was considering amputation en route to hospital! When asked how he remains so cheerful, John replied, “If you feel ok, you

“ It’s not the only time we’ve seen the Devon Air Ambulance either – it was called to the farm about 10 years ago, when my dad had an accident – with the same machine! ” When asked how much pain he was in, John replied, “Well, I don’t rightly know how you measure it. I’ve never had a baby so I’m not really sure!” He was, however, grateful for the pain relief that was duly administered while the emergency services worked to dismantle the machine to free his leg. With the risk that an amputation of his leg at the scene was a very real possibility, the medical team were all relieved to extricate the patient in one piece. They flew John down to Derriford Hospital, still not knowing if his leg would be saved.

just keep going don’t you. I had amazing care and treatment – all the emergency services were incredible, and I thought Derriford Hospital was like the Royal Hotel, it was amazing. It’s not the only time we’ve seen the Devon Air Ambulance either – it was called to the farm about 10 years ago when my dad had an accident – with the same machine! Not surprisingly, we take even greater care when we use it now. And it was called again, in September last year, when my dad fell from a tractor and dislocated his shoulder!”o


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Community Landing Sites The community landing sites initiative is entering an exciting new phase; with nearly 200 communities actively engaged there’s lots of great local projects with numerous individuals and organisations to thank. We are now extending our network across the whole of Devon targeting rural and larger urban areas of Exeter, Torbay and Plymouth and we really need your help to achieve this goal.

There are some really easy ways you can get help us by promoting these projects or even lending a hand to get your own community landing site operational:

Can you help – by approaching your local sports club, landowner or Council? If you don’t have a community landing site near you (check, you could speak to those individuals or organisations who own or manage the land in your community. We need sites that are 50m x 50m in size, so land used for sports, recreation or farming could well be suitable. Councils are playing a really important role in developing these sites, so why not approach your Council too and raise awareness?

Can you help – by spreading the word? Although there has been fantastic press coverage and local publicity, we are still finding some communities are not aware Devon Air Ambulance is operating until 2am every day or that if they had a community landing site we could land and help them. If you can help us by talking to your family, friends and colleagues and ask them to engage with their contacts and networks, we will soon be able to reach all communities in Devon. Sites already live Sites in development

Can you help – by becoming a local co-ordinator? These community projects are likely to involve a small group of people or organisations, so if there’s someone locally who can coordinate the project, your night landing site will become operational much sooner. With 124 community landing sites already operational, and over 70 in active development, our team are very experienced and can help guide and support you through this process. The network of community landing sites has already enabled us to treat 140 patients at night and if you can help us extend that reach to all communities - no matter what size or location we will be able to land and treat more people with life-changing or life-threatening injuries and illnesses through to 2am every day ultimately realising our vision to be able to deliver our service 24 hours every day.

Toby Russell CLS Development Officer If you would like to discuss any aspect of having a CLS in your community, contact Toby at


Spotlight on Ilsington & Liverton community landing sites


the Air Ambulance was able to reach their communities at night. Ensuring Devon Air Ambulance can reach the largest Chairman of the Parish number of people in a community in the shortest possible Council, Mr Mervyn Wills, time means that in towns and larger parishes we are seeing went on to explain: “Soon more than one community landing site become established. after the idea of having a When we started working with Ilsington Parish Council, community landing site was situated on the eastern edge of Dartmoor, it become clear brought to our attention, that the villages of Islington and Liverton would both benefit we quickly realised the from having a night landing site. After a review of potential importance of having Keith White of the Mid Devon Tractor, Engine & Machinery Group a night sites, the Parish Council quickly got to work bringing landing site Ley. in our parish. presenting a cheque for £700 to DAA volunteer Graham together the respective football clubs, local Councillors Indeed, giving Devon Air and a local Trust to make a firm commitment to ensure Ambulance medical teams the best chance of reaching Liverton CLS a patient in our community within the ‘golden hour’ at night became a real priority for our Parish Council. Ilsington CLS This helped us focus on achieving our ambition to have two operational sites - one at Ilsington and the other at Liverton, serving a large proportion of our Parish, within a year. I’m delighted to say we achieved our objective thanks to the massive support from our local football teams Ilsington Villa FC and Liverton United FC, a local Charitable Trust and the wider community. Well done to everyone involved!”

Grant Funding: don’t delay in securing your community grant! Communities throughout Devon have been able to access grant funding, originating from the Bank LIBOR Fines, towards establishing their Community Landing Site. These grants have helped fund new floodlighting, adapt existing lighting and infrastructure, carry out access improvements like new paths and

fencing and bring new power supplies (for lighting) into a site.

“We’ve had a really great take-up by communities”, said Toby Russell, Community Landing Sites Development Officer “and the 133 grants already awarded have helped communities undertake essential works to get their night landing site operational. The grant-making process has been designed to be straightforward. Once we have established the costs involved, we are quickly able to offer your community a grant. Grants are normally paid after the works are completed but can also be paid in advance if that helps with your organisations’ cashflow. However, it’s important that communities are aware these grant funds are time-limited, and communities need to have accessed these grants by the end of March 2020. That means we really need to help progress those projects already underway, and for those communities who would like to establish a night landing site our message is - please don’t delay! Speak to us now about how you can access grants to help your community”.

These projects have only come about due to the huge efforts and support by many individuals and organisations; from sports clubs, farmers and estates, Parish Councils, Town & District Councils (funders, planning teams etc.), Rotary Clubs and WI’s to other community funders, community groups and inspired individuals. A massive thank you, we could not have achieved this without your support!

OPERATIONS Profile: Nigel Hare - Operations Director Email: Nigel is responsible for the provision of our operational service, from the initial procurement of the helicopters and their equipment right through to the care that reaches the patient. He joined Devon Air Ambulance in 1997 as an Aircrew Paramedic.


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Oh, Dr FitzGerald, what have you done? I had the great pleasure of being asked to open the South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh, fifty years on from its official opening after its rescue and preservation.


izarrely, in 1969 the newly formed Dart Valley Railway was opened by the dreaded Dr Beeching, by then Lord Beeching, who was the very man who closed most of our railways in the first place. Actually, and I am not going to enter into correspondence on this, he was just the pen behind the report and in 1969 there were greater ‘wheelings’ and ‘dealings’ going on in the world of motorway building and rail destruction which would make Brexit look like kerplunk! And just for the record, Beeching didn’t close the Dart Valley line, it had already been shut as it was losing money way before his report. Anyway, I had a chat with the South Devon Railway team and they asked me to ‘stand in’ for Dr Beeching, in

fact, could I take on his role for the day? Take on his role? I soon analysed the invitation and decided that playing Dr B’ would be an easy part for me and said so while cutting the ribbon. ‘I am slightly overweight and have never been popular, also, every station I have been in has been closed.’ It got polite laughter from those who knew Beeching and my career. The invitation came via a phone call whilst I was driving back from Norfolk. I had been on stage with Simon Weston CBE in a place called Hunstanton. It’s a long drive, Beeching closed their station in 1969! To be honest it might have been quicker to fly to Denmark and get the ferry. However suddenly Weston announces that he loves steam trains and invited

himself along to the opening ceremony. It may have been a 360 mile journey in total but it was worth having him there so I could deliver possibly the worst rail based joke of the century... I introduced him as, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, the great Weston.’ It also got polite laughter. After that, it was a superb day of steam and trundling through beautiful countryside at a sedate pace, plus I got to meet some wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to keeping the old line running. One of them did ask me to explain my ‘station’ comment. Like Beeching there is nothing of my radio station career left intact. Genuinely, the first one I joined lost its licence and became a driving school, the second went bankrupt and closed. The third burnt down

BACKCHAT Profile: David FitzGerald - BBC Broadcaster and DAA Patron David first began broadcasting on commercial radio in the early 1980s, before moving to television. As well as a busy broadcasting career David still finds time for writing as well as enjoying a regular round of golf.

and then lost its licence. Even my first television station (TSW) closed and is now a makeshift car park. Only last week I paid for the privilege of parking on top of my old office. I enclose a photo of me trying to recreate the picture of Lord Beeching opening The Dart Valley Railway*. I think it comes pretty close! Don’t tell the BBC of this strange pattern. Yours, your fitter Fitz. o

*Editor’s Note: A he fty copyright fee thwarted my wish to include the original photo of Dr Beeching for comparison, but ta ke a look online and see if you agree – and Fitz, you are mu ch younger, slimmer and better loo king!


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Helipad Summer 2019  

The Summer 2019 edition of Helipad, the Official magazine of Devon Air Ambulance Trust

Helipad Summer 2019  

The Summer 2019 edition of Helipad, the Official magazine of Devon Air Ambulance Trust

Profile for helipad