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The Official Magazine of

Devon Air Ambulance Trust

Winter 2015

3 Peaks

3 Challenges

Sauntering in


with Captain Dan Smith

Heartwarming Winter Recipes

with Richard Hunt

Meet the


Dispatch Team

er at Take a gand k’s c to Tavis new shop!

Thomas the Tank Engine takes a tumble!

lutter ? Fancy A FJoin Our Weekly Lottery

...more than £12 million raised so far!

Registered Charity No.1077998 Company No.3855746

Patient Stories - Real People Saving Real Lives

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Welcome Celebrating the best in Devon

45,000 copies covering the whole county 35,000+ delivered direct to our supporters Also available online at Contributors David FitzGerald Neil Devons Sarah Chesters Richard Hunt Photographers Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Neil Devons North Devon Journal KOR Communications Ian Woolcock Dan Smith Publisher Heléna Holt 01392 466666 Editor Debbie Gregory 01392 466666 ext 135 Advertising Sales Julie Hutchins 07843 621463 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 Next Issue 18 March 2016

Heléna Holt, Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to our winter Helipad as another year end approaches. There has been a lot of publicity recently about charities selling or sharing supporters’ personal data and I am keen to take this opportunity to assure you that this is something we do not do. The reported trends of pressure collecting and database sales are practices we don’t agree with and we are committed to best practice and an ethical approach to fundraising, building relationships with our supporters in the process. Our magazine, with our annual draw tickets each summer, and thank you letters are the only mail we send out. We thank our donors on receipt of funds raised but do not employ any third party telesales companies to follow up with requests for more. We have even stopped selling branded clothing so that people we don’t know cannot pass themselves off as staff or volunteers to trick people into giving them money. The only people who might knock on your door on our behalf are accredited lottery canvassers who carry photo ID; their wherabouts can always be checked with us. We are proud of our open and transparent policies and grateful to all of our supporters and donors. I would just like to say thank you for helping keep Devon’s two air ambulances flying.

Editor’s news

© 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.

Hi! Did you spot our Reader Questionnaire on the reverse of your address sheet? Please let us know what you like or dislike about our magazine and you could win a festive prize just in time for Christmas! People are often surprised when they learn that our paramedics are unable to tell us anything about the people they help. We have to wait until a patient or their family contacts us directly and then we can pass on thanks to the aircrew who attended. In this issue you can see what happened when Thomas the Tank Engine crashed and when Lizzy’s horse kicked out. We also feature some of the quirkier aspects of the English Riviera; follow Captain Dan Smith’s footsteps on a saunter round Braunton; feast on tempting treats courtesy of Richard Hunt and prepare your garden for spring with Sarah Chesters. I am also excited to announce that the next issue of Helipad, due out in March, will be guest edited by former Royal Correspondent and ‘Celebrity Jungle’ runner-up, Jennie Bond. See more on page 12.


is published by Devon Air Ambulance Trust Unit 5 Sandpiper Court Harrington Lane Exeter EX4 8NS T 01392 466666 E Registered Charity No 1077998 Registered Company No 3855746 @DevonAirAmb

The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


In this issue... On The Cover Issue No.12 Winter 2015 Millennium Bridge and Observation Wheel at dusk Torquay © Ian Woolcock Next Issue: Focus on the South Hams, Queen Elizabeth at 90, a yomp over Exmoor and much more!


Star Prizes

We nominate two of our Great West Run participants and an eight-year old schoolgirl for star prizes in this issue, with thanks to the Golden Hind at Brixham for their family ticket, Kit Heath Jewellery for donating a beautiful silver bracelet and Black Tor Brewery for their donation of two cases of bottled ale!


Ways to Help


Whacky Racer comes a cropper

If you could spare a few hours, why not join our family of volunteers? Children’s favourite, Thomas the Tank, takes a tumble at the Whacky Races in East Allington

12 We welcome former Royal Correspondent,

A guest editor comes on board for spring Jennie Bond, as our guest editor for our next issue

14 Could you take on the challenge of the Royal Marines’ A challenging Commando course course?

16 Richard Hunt tempts our tastebuds with succulent Tasty treats

slow-braised venison and chocolate orange fondants – mmm...


Are you up to the challenge?

time to rest 19 No Sarah Chesters, from RHS Rosemoor, reminds us that there’s still plenty to do in the garden

a gander in Tavistock 21 Take DAAT opens its 15th shop at 9 Market Street in Tavistock for specialist shops 22 Success Martin Bell explains the strategy behind our specialist retail outlets

Day cycle ride scare 23 Christmas Derrick Small suffers a cardiac arrest while out cycling with his son

quite what you’d expect 24 Not Discover some of the less well-known and quirkier aspects of the English Riviera

test ends abruptly 30 Agility Lizzy Kirby suffers severe leg injuries when her horse kicked out

ery numbers grow 31 Lott Our in-house Lottery celebrates 34,000 playing members and the numbers continue to grow

landing 33 Precision Pilot Rob Mackie demonstrates a precision

landing when John Walster suffers a cardiac arrest on a tennis court



The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine

40 Gig race drama


34 Three Peaks, Three Challenges 12 Jennie’s on board 41 Devon People

38 One out, one in Peaks, Three Challenges 34 Three Meet three groups of fundraisers who tackle

the famous Three Peaks, all in their own way

the extra mile 35 Going Students at Newton Abbot College get right behind

the ethos of fundraising for their Charity of the Year

36 Captain Dan Smith, pilot at our Eaglescott Airbase, A saunter round Braunton

takes us on a stroll around the beautiful town and countryside of his beloved Braunton

37 A fit, healthy and active Peter Lucas asks the doctors why Why me?

he had suffered a cardiac arrest


One out, one in

Crew 44 Junior Young fundraisers show their initiative and

we meet young Olivia Joud, whose holiday to Devon ended up in Derriford Hospital

on board 46 Business We love working with businesses for mutual

benefit. Here we demonstrate just some of the different ways businesses can get involved

ons 48 Operati Nigel Hare explains the benefits of the

new weather monitoring kit and Nikki Bolt introduces our new HEMS despatchers

Chat 50 Back David FitzGerald reminisces over 25 years of reporting on Agatha Christie

As pilot, Rob Mackie, retires from flying Devon Air Ambulance after 23 years, we welcome Richie Tate who admits this role fulfils his dream

race drama 40 Gig As the race starts in Appledore, Paul Wilkinson collapses in the bow of the boat

People 41 Devon Our supporters raise funds in so many different ways

We Love To Talk! We’re active on many social networks and media channels so you can keep up with everything we’re doing between issues. Follow us on Facebook and Google +, join the Twitter conversation and watch our YouTube films.

and we are grateful to them all. Here are just some of the events and activities that have taken place around the county this summer


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


Star Prize Winners Our thanks go to all our followers on Facebook and Twitter; we value your feedback and comments. In this issue we have chosen Tweets, Facebook posts and a letter to win our Star Prizes…

Following the tragic death of 10-year old Crediton schoolboy, Samuel Crocker, in March this year, which touched the hearts of the whole community and beyond, thousands of pounds have been raised in his memory. The Sparkle For Samuel appeal currently stands at over £25,000, with further events still planned. Two of our Star Prize winners this time have raised funds for the appeal including by running in Exeter’s Great West Run. Lisa Crocker wins a beautiful silver bracelet, designed and donated by Kit Heath and Matt Upston wins a case of real ale, brewed and bottled by Black Tor Brewery.

Our Star Facebook prize goes to the team Dartmoor Search & Rescue, Tavistock, who joined our aircrew to help when a cyclist had been injured near Gutter Tor. They will also receive a case of real ale, kindly donated by Black Tor Brewery.

Eight-year old Lucy Billings from Willand was intrigued to see a Devon Air Ambulance collection box hanging from a tree. Rescuing it, she could hear that there were some coins rattling inside. Lucy and her mum cleaned them all up and sent the money in to us, along with this lovely letter and picture.

Lucy wins a family ticket to see all the displays and artefacts at the historic museum ship, The Golden Hind, in Brixham. 6


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine

Ways to help...

Ways To Help


Reader Q


As well as promot being a magazin e our wor e fundrais k and repo to celebrate som ers and e grea donations rt on the serv Howeve ice. We t things about which follo r! Devon, hope like to readWe don’t wan w each t to take issue dem you love our mag our Helipad mag any this que , what you’d onstrat azine, and azin like to see thing for gran stionnaire e this. that the e is also a veh ted more of and we’ icle All retu new Lott and, perh and we would ll do our rned que ery mem to love, to best to stionnaire bers, make sureaps, what you’re know wha s will be not t you that futu entered re issues so keen on. Plea think. What into a free reflect wha do you se prize draw How oft t you tell complete and en do you for a festi return us. ve treat! receive/ read Heli Is it deli pad? vered to your doo r? 1 x year 2x year Yes How do 3 x year you read No - Pleas it?

Firstly, did you see our Reader Questionnaire on the back of the cover sheet? We would be most grateful if you would complete and return so that we can adapt our Helipad magazine accordingly. All completed questionnaires will be entered into a prize draw for festive treat.


e state belo w how


tell us how


Do you ever wish you could get out more or meet more people? Have you ever thought about volunteering your time?

Get in touch!

One particular volunteer we would like to thank is Carol Tucker from Exmouth. Despite being visually impaired and deaf, Carol has offered her time to the charity over many years, working in our Exmouth shop and knitting goods of all kinds to be sold for the Trust. Carol has recently had an eye operation and is currently recovering. Sue Redfern, manager of Exmouth said, “Carol’s enthusiasm for helping us has been unfailing. Despite her disability she is always so willing. We would all like to wish Carol a very speedy recovery and hope that she is back with us very soon.”




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Have you or

Volunteering for DAAT is a great way to widen your circle of friends and, in some cases, can add vital ingredients for a CV. There are so many volunteer roles available that there’s bound to be something suitable for you; from helping out at one of our shops, servicing our collection boxes or attending any of our many events throughout the year.

Give it a go – join our family!

enjoy eac h of

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If you would like to find out more, please call into your local DAAT shop or contact Rosey Oakes by phone on 01392 466666 or email on


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history, n architect anyone ure, you kno landscap w ever e and tradi been feat tions) have any ured in ideas for Helipad future arti ? cles or any oth er commen ts?

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Thank you! Please return by 18 Helipad Questionn December to: DAAT aire Unit 5 San dpiper Court Harring ton Exeter EX4 Lane 8NS OR you can com plete the survey online by going to: ww

w.daat. org

A simple way to help the Trust on a regular basis is by setting up a Direct Debit. There is now an easy way to do this by following the simple instructions on our website at Lastly, as we approach the festive season, you may be inclined to ‘have a bit of a clearout’ of cupboards and shelves. Do remember that our shops are always happy to take quality donations and, if it’s furniture you’re donating, we can even arrange to collect it!


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


Thomas the Tank crash attracts national attention

The annual Whacky Races event in East Allington in Devon’s South Hams has raised thousands of pounds over recent years.


his year the event celebrated its 10th anniversary and plans were made for ‘something extra special’. Indeed, the event attracted the attention of the nation’s media – though not in the way organisers might have expected! Rob van Es from Loddiswell and his family have entered the race for many years and love the challenge of coming up with the latest ‘mean machine’ each year. While his wife, Fiona, was competing in a kart made from an old bath tub, Rob was very proud of his Thomas The Tank go-kart, made entirely from bits and pieces he’d sourced from the local tip. As Rob explained, accidents are common place. “Everyone expects the crashes; particularly as none of the karts have brakes! Usually you just tumble – and the damage is more to your pride and dignity than anything else.” This time, however, in front of a crowd of 500+ spectators, many of whom were throwing water bombs ‘Dick Dastardlystyle’, Rob lost control of Thomas The Tank around a bend and, unable to correct things, he crashed into a wall. He has no memory at all of the incident, but was thrown unceremoniously from his kart, much to the concern of the assembled crowd. Medics from St John Ambulance were first on scene and,



The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine

seeing that Rob wasn’t moving, called for an Air Ambulance. The Devon Air Ambulance helicopter was able to land close to the crash and paramedics Kate Adlam and Richard Walker rushed to help. The force of the crash had left Rob’s helmet fractured and, while he was still conscious he was also incoherent, and Kate and Richard knew that there was a risk of possible head, neck or spinal injuries. Stabilising Rob and placing him on the stretcher, there was a spontaneous round of applause as the medical team carried Rob to the waiting aircraft and pilot Ian Payne conveyed them all to Derriford Hospital. Fortunately, scans revealed that there was no long term damage and Rob was discharged just 24 hours later. His complete recovery took a little longer, however, and Rob admits that he still has no memory from two hours before the incident or for six hours after it. He returned to his role as Head of Science at Plymouth High School for Girls just one week later and used his accident to further educate his students. “I showed them the video to discuss speed/distance/time and kinetic energy and also showed them the broken helmet to demonstrate what might have happened to my head if I hadn’t been wearing it!”

Patient Story Rob steams downhill

The force of the crash had left Rob’s helmet fractured and, while he was still conscious he was also incoherent, and Kate and Richard knew that there was a risk of possible head, neck or spinal injuries. Concern about the damage to Thomas the Tank, however, was heard from far and wide as the story was picked up by The Sun, The Mail and Metro national newspapers as well as BBC and ITV news. The incident is also included in the next series of BBC 1’s Close Calls programme. Viewers and locals alike can be reassured that, despite suffering a variety of ailments, Thomas has been completely rebuilt and Rob has plans to take part in the Whacky Races again next year. Coincidentally, when chatting about this year’s event to one of the event organisers, Jim Dryburgh from Fallapit, we learned that Jim had been airlifted in 2007 by Devon Air Ambulance Trust. “I suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung when I fell off a ladder,” he explained. “I was struggling to breathe and in a lot of pain. It was such a relief when the Air Ambulance arrived and although I couldn’t see much in the helicopter, I remember the commentary from the paramedics. The flight

was over very quickly and the crew were all so reassuring the whole time.” Jim was off work for several months and it was while he was recovering that the idea of using the Whacky Races event to raise money for Devon Air Ambulance was formed. “I’m so pleased that Whacky Races has been successful in raising funds for the Air Ambulance - it’s now the biggest event in our village calendar. Seeing the helicopter landing this year and the paramedics attending Rob stirred up a whole load of memories for me. At the time of my accident, back in 2007, my son Jack who first found me was inspired to become a doctor. He is now in year 2 of his medical training at London Whitechapel and has just been accepted on to the Emergency Trauma team for training - and they fly the London Air Ambulance!! Thankfully with the money raised from this year’s event, we’ve finally covered the cost of my airlift - now I guess we better raise the money for Rob’s!” o

Next year’s spectacle will be held on Saturday 7th May – participants and spectators welcome!


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


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The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine

Thank you...


to everyone who came along to our Dragon Boat Festival this summer. Book your boat now for next year’s event!

New for Winter 2015 - explore our Stickman activity trail


Explore Haldon Forest Park on 40km of walking and cycling trails to suit all abilities or hone your skills on our cycle skills area and pump loop. Haldon is also home to Go Ape, Segway Southwest, Forest Cycle Hire and the Ridge Café which is open every day serving a range of delicious, locally sourced food and drink. There is also a life sized Gruffalo sculpture to see. Haldon Forest Park Buller’s Hill, Kennford Exeter, EX6 7XR Open daily.

April-October 8.30am – Dusk October-April 8.30am-5pm (apart from TuesThurs when gate stays open til 8.30pm)

Telephone 0300 067 5826

A UNIQUE DESTINATION We are a pioneering charity, located in Ivybridge and Seale- Hayne, Newton Abbot, who have worked with, and championed, disadvantaged and vulnerable children, young people and adults with a range of disabilities for more than 230 years.


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10 mins drive from Ashburton along the A383 towards Newton Abbot.

Telephone 01626 325 800 Howton Lane, Newton Abbot, TQ12 6NQ Dame Hannah Rogers Trust charity no. 1148882.


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Telephone 01395 578222 Charity Number: 264818

The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


Jennie Bond

continues to support DAAT

‘Celebrity Jungle’ runner-up and former Royal correspondent, Jennie Bond, has had a long association with Devon Air Ambulance, donating significant funds from the popular television series to the Air Ambulance charity that serves the county in which Jennie lives. As well as being a familiar face on our television screens for many years, Jennie’s background is in journalism and she has kindly agreed to guest edit our spring issue of Helipad. “I’m more than happy to be involved in this prestigious magazine,” explained Jennie. “I always look forward to reading it when it drops through the door and I’ve long been a supporter of the work they do – so to contribute and coedit the magazine as a whole is a real treat.” Jennie’s family home is in the beautiful South Hams, an area that sees the arrival of Devon’s Air Ambulances on a regular basis. “Knowing how long it can take to get to hospital from some of the more rural villages and hamlets in the area, it’s a God-send that Devon has not just one,

but two helicopters to help when people are in need. I often see them flying overhead and they’ve come to the assistance of people I know, so I’ve seen first-hand the difference they can make. I’m proud and happy to be a Patron of the Trust and I’m thrilled to have been asked to edit the spring issue of their Helipad magazine.” During her 14 years as BBC’s Royal Correspondent, Jennie travelled the world with the Royal Family and covered significant events such as the Windsor Castle fire, two Royal weddings, one break up, one divorce and three Royal deaths! Since leaving that role in 2003, Jennie has presented and appeared in a variety of television programmes and quiz shows, raising almost £300,000 for Devon’s Air Ambulances.

“I always look forward to reading Helipad when it drops through the door and I’ve long been a supporter of the work they do – so to contribute and coedit the magazine as a whole is a real treat.”



The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine

Devon People


Th of e S He pri n on lipa g 2 M d c 016 ar om is ch e su 26 s o e ut

“As Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday next April, for our spring edition of Helipad I would love to look back through the Royal visits the Queen has made to Devon. From planting a tree in Eggesford Forest in 1956 to her first visit to a public house, Topsham’s The Bridge in 1998, and her association with the Royal Navy with various engagements in Plymouth, there must be many residents in our county who have fond and vivid memories of these visits. If you have particular memories or are the proud owner of photographs of such visits from years gone by, please let us know and we’ll include as many as we can in a feature article!” Send your memories and photographs to by 19 February 2016


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


ble Trust Fund ta ri a h C s e n ri a M l ya ce Trust and the Ro n la u b m A ir A n vo e er in 2016 D th ge to g in rk o w to look forward

A full range of photographs from this year’s Commando Challenge event is available at 14


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


One of DAAT’s biggest annual events is the mud-splattered and fun-filled Commando Challenge; routes of various lengths over Woodbury Common, using the Royal Marines’ obstacle course. With such enticing and emotive names such as The Sheep Dip, The Smartie Tube and The Crocodile Pit, it’s little wonder that teams from all over the UK come to take on this unique challenge. We are delighted to announce that, from 2016, this event will be owned by DAAT and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, making it one of the only challenge events of its size in the UK owned by a Charity, and it will be rebranded

‘Royal Marines Commando Challenge’.

If you, your friends, or colleagues are looking for a challenge then entry for 2016 is now open and there is a 10% Early Bird discount available until 31st December using the code EB16.



The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


The cool breath of autumn and the crisp chill of winter... Devon Chef, Richard Hunt, serves up heart-warming dishes for the colder months…


ell, summer has been and gone and the cool nights and crisp days of autumn and winter are now upon us. This is the time of the year where the jumpers come out of hiding and there are gentle whispers of the ‘C’mas’ word amongst the shoppers in our towns and cities. In the foodie world here in Devon, life moves on at a pace; it’s an exciting time of year, with regular farmers markets selling their lovingly produced wares. In the orchards apples and pears are being harvested and turned into all sorts of wonderful goodies from cider and perry to great chutneys and preserves to get us through those long winter evenings by the fire; and who can refuse a cracking blackberry and apple crumble! It’s time for those warming soups and hearty dishes, cottage pies, rabbit pie, faggots with creamy mash and peas, cauliflower cheese with bubbling cheesy top. Sweet pumpkins are not just for Halloween but great in soups or roasted with garlic as a vegetable and parsnips just getting the first nip of frost will be sweet and great with the Sunday roast.

seasoning and some crispy bacon with a soft poached duck egg, a true forager’s breakfast. And from the seas, plump sweet scallops, a real treat now and again, served simply cooked in a hot pan with butter, a hint of lemon and a good pinch of chopped parsley, Heaven! Lovely hake and cod, as well as the much maligned whiting, are making their way inshore and will be getting cheaper on the fishmongers ice all the time. I have chosen the recipes this edition as they cover a multitude of facets, they are great for a dinner party, wow factor and stress free, but also have a slight nod to the festive season and will be a great alternative to the usual fayre.o

The hedgerows are nature’s larder and well worth a stroll down a country lane or two picking tart blackberries, wonderful filberts, sloes ready for a warm welcome from a bottle of Plymouth gin. The game season is well and truly with us and I still believe we don’t use this fabulous resource as much as we should. Game these days is treated the same way as all meat and poultry, apart from rabbit and hare which more often than not you must really eat within a day or two. Venison needs to be hung for, say, a week to 10 days just to let nature’s magic enzymes tenderise the meat ready for roasting or braising with some wonderful port and redcurrant, served with roasted root vegetables and winter greens. Then go for young game birds; ask your butcher about this, great pheasants, grouse and partridge. Always remember never overcook your game bird, your guests won’t thank you and the bird certainly won’t if it’s served dry. Protect the delicate flesh with some good streaky bacon wrapped around the breast like a soothing blanket, and don’t forget to let it rest when you remove it from the oven. The hedgerows are nature’s larder and well worth a stroll down a country lane or two picking tart blackberries, wonderful filberts, sloes ready for a warm welcome from a bottle of Plymouth gin and rosehips to be made into lovely syrups. Lovely field mushrooms will also be adorning fields throughout the County; served pan fried in a little butter, 16


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Devon Food

Slow Braised Venison with Cranberry, Star Anise, Juniper and Port Serves 6-8 people Ingredients 2 carrots chopped 1 small swede chopped 2 onions roughly chopped 3 sticks celery chopped 50ml vegetable oil 50g butter 1tbsp tomato puree 1kg diced venison shoulder or haunch 5 tbsp plain flour seasoned with salt 4 tbsp cranberry sauce 450ml port 450ml beef stock 2 thyme sprigs 2 bay leaves 6 juniper berries 4 star anise Zest of 1 orange Method Pre heat the oven to gas 3-4, 170c 1. In a large crock pot, or you can start in a frying pan if you prefer, fry the chopped vegetables in a little oil until they are nicely browned, remove from the pan and keep to one side 2. In the same pan add a little more oil and seal off the venison which you have coated in the seasoned flour and shaken off the excess 3. When the meat is browned add the port and scrape all the pan juices form the bottom of the pan or crock 4. Add the beef stock, tomato puree and cranberry to the pot and stir well 5. Add the vegetables, thyme and bay 6. In a muslin cloth put the juniper, and star anise, tie up with string and add to the pot 7. Grate the zest of 1 orange and mix in 8. Place the lid on the pot and place in the preheated oven or slow cooker for 1 ½ to 2 hours until tender, season with salt and pepper and remove the muslin 9. Serve with honey roasted root vegetables and buttered winter greens Chocolate and Orange Fondants with Vanilla Mascarpone Ingredients 50g melted butter, for brushing Cocoa powder, for dusting

200g good-quality dark chocolate, in small pieces 200g butter, in small pieces 200g golden caster sugar 4 eggs plus 4 yolks, mixed 200g plain flour Grated zest of 2 oranges 1 vanilla pod 250g mascarpone cheese Non-stick pudding bowls, about 200ml 9 puddings for 8 guests If you are making the fondants for a dinner party I would advise you cook one extra as an ‘insurance policy’ that you can test for doneness. If everything goes according to plan, I’m sure there will be no shortage of guests wanting second helpings. Method 1. First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush the melted butter all over the insides of each pudding mould. Place the moulds in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into each mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with the next mould. 2. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together and add the orange zest. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins. 3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together. 4. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter. 5. Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. Chill for at least 20 minutes. The fondants can also be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 minutess more to the cooking time. 6. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 minutes until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 minute before turning out. 7. Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up. 8. Split and scrape the vanilla pod seeds and mix into the mascarpone, save the vanilla pod and place into a pot of caster sugar to add a lovely vanilla flavour. Place each fondant off to the side of a plate, spoon a generous helping of mascarpone and enjoy!


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Plenty to do and plenty to look forward to...


It is often thought that once winter is on the horizon the garden shuts down and so do gardeners but nothing could be further from the truth! Some of the most interesting, varied and, yes, sometimes repetitive jobs are done from November to April.


uring November, cut back herbaceous plants, leaving just a few inches of stem to protect the crown and divide them up, discarding the centre which is the oldest and weakest part. Ornamental grasses should be left as they add highlights, garden structure, bird food and hibernation for garden wildlife. Some of the best compost can be made with deciduous leaves, so rake them into heaps, wire-mesh cages, or black bin liners (spiked with holes for aeration) and allow them to rot to a rich dark brown, perfect to use in 6 – 12 months. Don’t forget to plant up some colourful tubs and window boxes to brighten and scent the darkest days, heathers, Skimmia, pansies, Cyclamen, forget-me-nots, wallflowers are all reliable and colourful. If you forgot to plant bulbs earlier you can buy some ready prepared pots of them early in the New Year to plant in between. Prune shrub roses by one third to stop them being rocked in the gales, pruning them properly in January and February. As winter begins to bite, make sure you top up your birdfeeders, move container plants nearer to house walls for protection and bubble-wrap the pots. Lower light levels reduce the amount of indoor plant growth so reduce watering and

ABOVE: Glorious grasses in the autumn sunshine LEFT: Prune Wisteria in January/February leaving just 2-3 buds at the base of last year’s growth

open greenhouse doors and vents on mild days to improve air circulation and lessen the likelihood of fungal diseases. Once the New Year begins you can start pruning your apple and pear trees, aiming to achieve a deep cup shape with five or six main branches. If you’re planning a hedge, plant barerooted beech, hawthorn and hornbeam in early spring – purple beech hedges make a lovely change, pinkish as the leaves unfurl and a rich dark purple in summer. In February, apply a general fertiliser such as fish, blood and bone to your kitchen garden and sow broad beans and lettuce in a glasshouse or cold frame for an early crop. Top dress or repot citrus bushes with John Innes No 2, and prepare your wisteria for a fabulous show of flowers by pruning last year’s shoots leaving just 2/3 buds – don’t prune into older wood unless you have to reduce the climber’s size. The grasses you left over winter can now be pruned back to 8cm (3”), after you inspect them for hibernating creatures! Lastly, look forward to summer and plant a new rose incorporating some mycorrhizal fungi with the roots to aid establishment. So plenty to do, but plenty to look forward to as well! ¨ Listen in to BBC Radio Devon every Sunday morning from 9.00 – 10.30am, when Sarah Chesters, from RHS Garden Rosemoor, will answer your gardening questions on The Potting Shed.


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Tavistock – here we come!


After years of waiting for the right spot and weeks of preparation, we are delighted to announce that we have now opened a shop right in the heart of Tavistock! “This is my dream job,” explained new manager, Annette Packer. “I am Tavistock born and bred and my heart is well and truly here in Devon. I’m thrilled that I can combine my love of the area with working for such a well respectetd charity and great cause.” Annette will be joined by another local lady, Sara Lynn. Annette continued, “Sara and I are excited to be working together and would love to meet anyone interested in volunteering. There are

a number of roles that will be available so do call in. The shop will be open from Saturday 7th November and a very warm welcome awaits!” Following much steaming and sorting of some great donations, customers can expect the usual array of goods to be available, including high quality clothing, bric-a-brac, accessories, shoes, boots and books.

Tavistock shop manager Annette Packer


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You shop, we fly... The charity shops run by Devon Air Ambulance Trust are playing an increasingly important role in the development of the charity’s service. The contribution from retail to DAAT’s annual fund-raising target is now approaching 20% and growing. However, there is much more to these shops than simply processing donations and selling them. They help us connect with local communities across the county, reinforcing the idea that it is the people of Devon who own the emergency helicopters. They act as conduits for information about the charity’s activities and local fundraising opportunities as well as supporting outlying communities. A commitment to developing the retail operation is a core part of the charity’s strategic plan, which includes the aim of opening 2 new shops each year as well as introducing new and innovative ways to use our existing donations. DAAT’s discount store in Exmouth, our very own pound shop, has been a huge success. It sells donations from our other shops which have not been sold in an eight-week period. In the first six months of this year, it sold £40,000 worth of stock that would otherwise have gone to rag. If we had ragged this stock, we would have received just £5,000 – an 800% increase in value! The high quality of products for sale prompted one entry in the Exmouth shop comments book to read “Since you’ve been open everyone is well dressed in Exmouth”! Similarly, one of our two Topsham shops has been converted to specialise in vintage and variety items, including textiles and bric-abrac, and this new identity has also reaped rewards in providing an alternative shopping experience for locals. DAAT’s third speciality shop, the Furniture & Electrical (F&E) shop, opened in June. Diversifying into F&E was a response to market demand and has worked in part due to the support of local businesses that are donating items of furniture and passing leaflets to their customers who can donate items they intend to replace. In the first ten weeks of trading, the F&E shop sold £25,129 worth of furniture and electricals. In the same ten week period last year, all our shops together sold £5,125 worth of furniture and electricals, an increase in income from F&E of nearly 490%! Retail Director Martin Bell commented: “Any success we are achieving is underpinned by the quality of staff we have employed and our superb army of volunteers who really make a difference. “As a charity DAAT continually strives to improve its service and the value for money it provides for its supporters and this is no different in our retail operations. We will continue to look for new opportunities and may expand to as many as 36 shops with more diversification to improve income. Who knows, the future may even see DAAT opening a garden centre or some coffee shops.”

FACT: Where there is a DAAT charity shop we see increases

in volunteers, lottery members and fundraising activity.

Donations What we can take:


Good quality clothing Accessories - Shoes, handbags etc Books CD’s and DVD’s Bric a Brac Jewellery Linen Children’s toys Pictures and Paintings Vinyl records and collectibles Electrical items e.g. table lamps, irons, toasters and kettles Games consoles Flat screen TV’s Soft furnishings White goods including fridges and freezers (F&E only) Beds, sofas and chairs - If a fire regulation label is present (F&E only) Dining sets (F&E only) What we can’t take:


Wall units (Large) Non flat screen TVs PCs, Laptops and printers Record players, old hi-fi systems Safety equipment e.g. Bike helmets, lifesaving devices, child car seats etc... Electric blankets Exercise equipment Video tapes and audio cassettes Hangers



The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine

Father and Son Time… D

errick Small lives in Chatham in Kent and was enjoying a Christmas break with his wife, Janet, and their son and future daughter-in-law, David and Fran, at Fran’s parent’s Bed & Breakfast in Poundstock, near Bude. On Christmas morning last year, Derrick and his son took themselves off for a cycle ride around the North Cornish lanes where they were staying. “We knew that Fran’s parents were busy getting everything ready for lunch so we were really happy to make the most of some quality time out, doing what we both love,” explained Derrick. The scenic route took in many downhill lanes then, inevitably, their journey back took them up hill! Until that point, everything had seemed fine. But the uphills caused Derrick some problems… He realised that he was really struggling and, despite taking glucose tablets thinking his problems were caused by his diabetes, he was unable to continue. David called home and Fran came to collect them. With Derrick unable to get out of the car, the family immediately called 999 and were relieved that the Devon Air Ambulance was sent to their rescue. Aircrew paramedics Adrian Parker and Paul Robinson rushed to help and realised that Derrick was in cardiac arrest. As Janet explained that her husband was also Type 1 diabetic, the aircrew knew that Derrick needed urgent help from a

Patient Story

hospital. During the flight from Poundstock to Derriford Hospital, Derrick continued to suffer further cardiac arrests, each time being brought back by the expertise of the two paramedics on board. Adrian explained, “It’s quite rare for a patient to keep arresting. Usually, once we’ve got a rhythm back, a patient will be stable enough to fly and we’ll monitor them accordingly en route to a specialist treatment centre. In Derrick’s case, though, he just kept arresting so it was touch and go the whole way.” Fortunately for the whole family, after heart surgery and eight days in hospital, Derrick was able to leave and he and his wife journeyed back to Kent where Derrick’s condition was monitored at a local hospital. Much to the relief of everyone, Derrick and Janet returned to Poundstock this summer – for the wedding of David and Fran. While in the county, the couple also visited the Air Ambulance’s Exeter Airbase where they were reunited with paramedic Adrian Parker. “It’s a real treat to see Derrick looking so well,” said Adrian. “I’m so pleased that he has made such a great recovery and how lovely that he is well enough to attend his son’s wedding.” Such was the gratitude of David and Fran that, instead of wedding gifts, they requested donations and nearly £700 was raised for DAAT. o Derrick Small with wife Janet with paramedic Adrian Parker. Inset: At David and Fran’s wedding


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s! a m t s i r is Ch h t s r oo d t u o eat r g e h t Give the gift of

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The backwater stories of Torbay It’s no surprise that Torbay - the English Riviera - has remained one of the UK’s top destinations for tourists since early Victorian times. Its many beautiful attractions are well known and cherished.


ith 20 miles of coastline, 20 beaches and coves and the highest concentration of Blue Flag beaches in England; internationally acclaimed attractions such as Kent’s Cavern, Paignton Zoo and Torre Abbey; nature reserves and walkways; a wealth of waterborne activities, steam trains and theatres; a growing reputation for its culinary delights and emerging café culture, not to mention a sub-tropical climate that supports the Bay’s iconic palm trees and we haven’t even got to Agatha Christie. The brochure headlines will always make happy reading but there is much more to enjoy in some of the less well known and celebrated facts about this unique place. So let’s take a meandering stroll from Watcombe to the north of Torquay along the coast to Berry Head in Brixham stopping off to visit some unusual places and to learn some little known facts along the way.


Brunel Woods in Watcombe Park is where the great engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, planned to build his retirement home; choosing the location no doubt because of its elevated position and far-reaching views. He bought around 136 acres of land and set about creating a landscaped haven including a garden overlooking St Marychurch but his envisioned house was never built because of his untimely death in 1859. Its successor, Brunel Manor, now a private conference centre, is the centrepiece of Brunel Woods conservation area which is now managed by the Torbay Coast & Country Trust. The delightful St. Marychurch is thought to be the location on which Agatha Christie based St Mary Mead, the village that featured in the great writer’s Marple novels. The little town has an attractive pedestrianized precinct bustling with independently owned shops and cafés. Torquay has long been associated with pottery following the discovery of terracotta clay deposits at Watcombe in the 1860s. The industry grew and many fine art potteries were established although many people today associate Torquay Pottery with Mottoware, a more ‘touristy’ product featuring unusual patterns, quaint rhymes and proverbs. For centuries limestone had been quarried from Petit Tor near St Marychurch and polished as marble but it became in demand internationally in Victorian times when when transport was more available. Examples can be seen in a number of local churches and period villas and many famous buildings such as Keeble College, Oxford and Salisbury

St Marychurch’s busy precinct


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Cathedral. One local marble merchant, H.T. Jenkins and Son, even contributed to Lutyens’ Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. Babbacombe attracts great numbers of visitors all year and every year but there have been a number of truly notable fans. In 1852 the Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, landed at Babbacombe with Prince Albert, the Queen’s Consort, and visited the local marble works which subsequently became the Royal Marble Works. In 1892, Oscar Wilde fell in love with Babbacombe and Babbacombe Cliff in particular, a pre-Raphaelite and Arts & Crafts inspired Victorian edifice that later became a hotel. It was here he commenced his then scandalous and ultimately disastrous affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. Nearby is Kent’s Cavern, a cave system world famous as a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest; with its stalactite and stalagmite formations, a 41,000 year old jawbone (the oldest human fossil found in Britain) and its never changing temperature. Not so well known is the theory that Beatrix Potter got the inspiration for Mrs Tiggywinkle’s underground home from her visit to Kent’s Cavern in 1893. Further towards Torquay town centre, on the site of what is now Living Coasts, stood the Marine Spa which opened in 1857; a place where you could undergo a variety of exotic spa and cosmetic treatments, dance to the big bands of Ivy Benson and Ted Heath and hear readings from authors such as Charles Dickens – not all at the same time though! On the other side of the harbour, past shops, waterside

restaurants and a multitude of cafés and bars, stands the Pavilions opened in 1912 as an entertainment centre and theatre and designed to provide “adequate musical and other attractions for visitors to Torquay”. For many years it did just that if the cast of famous names who performed there is anything to go by - Elgar, Rachmaninoff, Pavlova, Dame Nellie Melba, Laurence Olivier, George Formby, Harold Pinter and Music Hall’s ‘Prime Minister of Mirth’, Sir George Robey. The baton was waved at the Pavilions by conductors of the calibre of Sir Henry Wood, Sir John Barbirolli and Sir Malcolm Sergeant while speakers included David Lloyd George and the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen. There is simply insufficient space to explore everything that is interesting about Torquay, but no visit would be complete without a look inside Torre Abbey. Built in 1196 as a monastery, the Grade 1 listed building has some parts of its structure classified as an Ancient Monument. The complex contains fabric and details from each one of its eight centuries but by 2000 it was all in very poor condition. A huge programme of renovation and refurbishment has made the former town museum a must-go-to arts and exhibition centre which combines the truly ancient with brilliant modern interventions such as a glass lift shaft delivering full accessibility. Today, the 800 year story of the making of Torre Abbey is told through a mix of authentic artefacts and hi-tech interpretation from talking portraits and interactive displays

Torquay’s inner harbour and Living Coasts coastal zoo in the background.



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Beautiful Devon

Paignton Harbour at low tide providing shelter from an onshore easterly wind.

to one of the largest fine art collections in the region. There is a cloister, palm house, abbey ruins, knot garden and even Agatha Christie’s potent plant garden which links her wartime work as a pharmacy dispenser with her role as the ‘Queen of Crime’ who preferred poisoning her victims over more bloodthirsty methods of dispatch.


Few visitors to Paignton miss its famous steam train but many will be unaware of the building next door which was formerly Paignton Picture House, thought to be the first purpose-built cinema in Europe. It was a favourite of Agatha Christie who used it as the model for the Gaiety Cinema in her thrillers. Paignton doesn’t finish at the end of the promenade. Just venture a little further and you’ll find the local harbour, a really picturesque little port with a mix of commercial fishing boats, pleasure boats, sail and motor vessels. Nearby you can enjoy a lovely, wheelchair and dog friendly walk around Roundham Head, an outstandingly beautiful headland of rocky red layered cliffs topped with pines and sycamores with extensive views over the Bay. Should you want to visit a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is home to Flat Wrack and Knotted Wrack (seaweeds), Snakelocks anemone, the spotted goby, squat lobsters and periwinkles – Paignton is for you! Saltern Cove is one of the SSSI designated sites in the English Riviera Geopark and a Local Nature Reserve. The beach is located along the south west coast path to the south of Goodrington Sands and is accessed via a set of steps from the coast path above.

There is a seaside picture postcard side to Paignton with its novelty shops and amusement arcades, but it is also a place of great charm in its own right. Most visitors will recall its iconic beach huts, the wide expanse of its seafront green, its red sandy beach, a famous pier and its world renowned zoo but there are a few other hidden gems here too. Coming out of Torquay, you pass the elegant Oldway Mansion built by the sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer and refurbished by his son Paris in the style of the Palace of Versailles. Paris moved to America after his affair with Isadora Duncan ended and the mansion house subsequently became a WWI military hospital, a country club, a WWII RAF cadet training establishment and council offices. Today there is a proposal to develop it into a spa hotel and private residences. Not far away is Kirkham House, a well-preserved late medieval house, built of local stone. Visitors will take a real step back in time when they look over the building which includes a parlour, a large vaulted hall, first floor gallery and three bedchambers.

Everyone loves Brixham. It’s a real English fishing port steeped in maritime history and it certainly looks the part with soaring banks of colourful cottages and houses overlooking the busy harbour and marina.



The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


A Brixham trawler rounds Berry Head on its way to the Atlantic.

Fishing dominates. You can watch the commercial fishing boats or visit the fish market; you can eat any amount and variety of freshly landed fish in restaurants and pubs along the harbourside or up its interesting lanes or you can take a fishing trip and catch your own. Brixham is a place of hustle and bustle but there are also less obvious attractions to take in. Beaches at St Mary’s Bay (secluded and sandy), Churston Cove (accessed by a steep path, a real sanctuary of peace and calm), the Breakwater (Blue Flag Award), Elberry Cove (shingle with crystal clear water) and Shoalstone (shingle with seawater swimming pool) provide less populated relaxation while Battery Gardens, a Scheduled Monument and World War II Coastal Defence Battery, offers some superb panoramic views out to sea.

Brixham has it fair share of tourist attractions such as its Artists’ Corner, Golden Hind Replica and its Smugglers and Pirates Experience. It owns a big slice of significant British history as the place where William of Orange landed in 1688 to claim the throne of England leading the last successful invasion of our country. There is an impressive statue of the monarch on the harbourside and a nearby obelisk marking his first footfall. But the town’s natural assets are the enduring draw. Its cliffs, beaches and coastal walks are outstanding and, in Berry Head National Nature Reserve, they have a trump card. The breathtaking headland location is an internationally-acclaimed heritage site, home to a fascinating variety of wildlife and history with recently-restored Napoleonic War fortifications, a new Guardhouse Café and a Visitor Centre. o

The English Riviera Geopark In September 2007 the English Riviera received international recognition for its rich geological, historical and cultural heritage. It became one of just 57 areas around the world to be endorsed by UNESCO and welcomed into both the European and Global Geopark Networks. Today it is one of only 8 Geoparks in the UK and Ireland out of more than 100 worldwide.



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Patient Story

Lizzy’s Lucky Escape Lizzy Kirby is an avid horse rider who loves nothing more than a blast on our county’s beautiful beaches. Persuaded to have a go at horse agility, Lizzy thought ‘Why not? It’ll be fun’. But the day didn’t go quite as planned. Lizzy takes up the story…


n arrival we spent time learning about our horse’s natural behaviour and how agility helps your relationship with your horse. My big cob, Joe, is a bit of a teenager and has always had a wilful side but he hasn’t got a malicious bone in his body. He was clearly able to complete all the tasks asked of him; jumping through hoops, walking over bridges, weaving in and out of poles and ignoring all the scary things around him on the way. Comically, he’s a bit of a lumbering oaf and he really didn’t see the point of stepping gracefully into a hula hoop, waiting five seconds then stepping gracefully out, when instead he could stamp on the hoop, fidget for two seconds and then trip out of it with a slight smirk on his face! After lunch it was announced we were going to have a competition. We went first and completed all the tasks but, as predicted, came a very poor 5th - though my big butch boy got to wear his baby pink rosette with pride! But it all went wrong when we were walking back to our horse boxes. Joe suddenly and unexpectedly jumped forward and before I had time to recover he leapt in the air kicking out, taking both my legs from underneath me. It was all over in a second and I still don’t know why he did it. Was he full of the joys of spring, annoyed to be last or spooked by something? One thing I am sure of is that he wasn’t really aiming for me.

The first pain I felt was like boiling hot liquid pouring on my thigh followed by an excruciating sharp pain in my knee which instantly made me feel sick. I kept thinking ‘it’ll pass, I’ll get up in a minute’. I was vaguely aware of the pain in my left leg too but my right knee and thigh overrode anything else. The pain didn’t go. People were all around me but I couldn’t really grasp what they were saying. I think a paramedic turned up followed by an ambulance and I kept thinking this is silly I can’t have hurt myself that badly but still the pain persisted and soon I felt cold and things around me slowed down. I don’t remember much about the journey to North Devon District Hospital except the rumbling in the helicopter and I don’t know how long the journey took. I do remember though the care and kindness that was given to me by everyone who helped me that day and the amazing dedication and care of all the staff at NDDH throughout my 11 day stay with them. Incredibly, no bones were broken, but the muscles had been ripped to the bone, which took even longer to heal. I had to learn how to walk again with ‘bionic’ legs strapped to mine, but I’m now well on the road to recovery and owe so much to you guys for helping me so thank you. Will I do agility again, I don’t know; will I ride again, definitely; do I forgive my big dopey boy, of course! o

“I do remember though the care and kindness that was given to me by everyone who helped me that day and the amazing dedication and care of all the staff at NDDH throughout my 11-day stay with them.”



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Fancy a flutter! Tracy Owen, Team Leader for DAAT Lottery, was thrilled when player numbers topped 34,000 last month and numbers are still rising steadily. “Our in-house weekly Lottery is a fantastic, regular income stream for the charity and, of course, offers all players the chance to win one of 13 weekly prizes,” she explained. “Our accredited team of canvassers do a great job of promoting the Trust and are steadily helping to increase our membership.” Tracy continued, “Businesses are also opting to support the Trust by acting as Agents for our Lottery – with employees joining the Lottery through their payroll. South West Water are one such company encouraging staff to support the Trust this way. We would like to say a very big thank you and welcome to all our new Lottery players.” The story of Lizzy Kirby, from Milton Damerel near Holsworthy, and her need for an airlift to hospital by Devon Air Ambulance when she was kicked by her horse is featured on the previous page. When Lizzy came home from hospital she contacted the Air Ambulance, wondering what she could do to help out her ‘Knights In Shining Armour’. While chatting with Tracy about various ways of supporting the Trust, Lizzy was unaware that DAAT ran their very own


in-house weekly Lottery, Lizzy realised that there was a very obvious way to get involved that also enabled her to enlist further support. Lizzy is now a Lottery Agent – at her farm shop, Lizzy’s Larder, in Milton Damerel. This means that locals playing our weekly Lottery can pay their regular subscriptions at their local farm shop, whilst catching up with a neighbour and being tempted by the range of fabulous homemade produce at the same time!

Lizzy Kirby

Tracy and Jane celebrate the growing numbers of Lottery players!


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Devon Air Ambulance Trust Lottery Form Please complete this form, plus Section A or B to advise us how you wish to pay. Please return this form to: DAAT Lottery, FREEPOST SEA14647, Exeter EX4 8ZY NOT YOUR BANK I confirm all members are 16 years of age or over. Signed



First name(s)


Address Postcode Tel


Why not double your chances with two numbers? Tick here for a second number The second number will be in your name unless you wish to assign the number to someone else. If so, please enter their name below: Mr/Mrs/Miss/Other

First name(s)


SECTION A - PAYMENT BY CHEQUE I wish to join the DAAT Lottery and pay by cheque

One Number Half yearly £26

Yearly £52

If you pay by cheque you will receive a reminder Two Numbers Half yearly £52 by post prior to your subscription running out Please find attached my cheque payable to DAAT Lottery for £

Yearly £104


To The Bank

I wish to join the DAAT Lottery by standing order

Please ensure you quote the following number on all correspondence

To (your bank/building society) Address Postcode Name(s) of Account Holder(s) Sort Code

Account Number



Please debit my/our account until further notice - I wish to pay the sum of: (tick one box only) One Number

Two Numbers


£4.34 per month


£8.68 per month


£13 every 3 months


£26 every 3 months

Half yearly

£26 every 6 months

Half yearly

£52 every 6 months


£52 every 12 months


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Precision landing for tennis playing patient Walster and his wife Jackie, from West Alvington near John Kingsbridge, were enjoying a weekend away at the Manor

House Hotel near Okehampton in May last year, reunited with 23 friends from the amateur dramatic group they had been part of when they lived in East Horsley in Surrey. The hotel offers sports, activities and crafts for all guests and the Walsters were enjoying a game of tennis doubles with friends Jack Griffith and Jeff Luther when John collapsed. Rushing to his aid, his wife Jackie started mouth-to-mouth while Jeff did compressions on John’s chest. Meanwhile, Jack ran back to the hotel to request first aid assistance. Fortunately, the hotel had recently purchased a defibrillator and, indeed, John was the first patient to benefit. A local land ambulance crew arrived, followed swiftly by an aircrew from Devon Air Ambulance. Jackie recalls, “There was such a huge sense of relief when the professional help arrived. We knew that John was in cardiac arrest and we were so pleased to see the paramedics. The next noise we heard was the helicopter hovering overhead and, to our complete

Patient Story

amazement and admiration, we watched the pilot skilfully land the aircraft on the other half of the tennis court to where we were looking after John! With the net still in place and the fencing all around, it was definitely a precision landing – and it meant that the aircrew were with us immediately. Their care and clinical skills brought John back to us and stabilised him for the flight to hospital. He was then flown to the heart unit at RD&E at Wonford where an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) was fitted.” Fortunately, John went on to make a full recovery and was delighted that, in May this year, he and Jackie could return for another reunion with all their friends at Manor House Hotel in Okehampton. This time the weekend passed without incident! Whilst now able to enjoy all his usual activities, such as walking, skiing and gardening, Jackie explained that tennis was still on hold. “We’re working up to that,” she explained. “I know John will probably be fine but we’re so grateful to everyone for their help last year, from the staff at Manor House, to the land crew, the aircrew and the team at RD&E, that we just don’t want to push our luck!” o

“To our complete amazement and admiration, we watched the pilot skilfully land the aircraft on the other half of the tennis court to where we were looking after John!”

John and Jackie at home with their ponies INSET ABOVE The helicopter landing on the hotel tennis court


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The Three


Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – the three highest points in Scotland, England and Wales respectively – have formed the basis of one of the oldest and most well-known mountaineering challenges in the UK We often learn of fundraisers taking on the Three Peaks Challenge and here are three teams who all undertook the challenge in different ways… Normally the challenge is to tackle all three mountains in under 24 hours, and annually nearly 30,000 people attempt this, often with a driver to take them between the mountains to allow rest periods between peaks. However, our first team decided on their own challenge and, as keen cyclists the answer seemed obvious; ignore the 24-hour time limit and cycle between the peaks. The team comprised William Young, Adam Rimmer, Alex Dines and Jack Cater and they scheduled six days for the completion of the challenge – meaning they had an average distance of 150km on the riding days before they even considered tackling the mountains! Their challenge was successfully completed and they raised funds for three charities, donating £600 to DAAT. Our second team took on the Ben Nevis Challenge – a mix of climbing, canoeing and cycling. In one day, the four Diffey brothers from Character Builders in Chagford climbed Ben Nevis (and back down), whizzed 15 miles on bikes to then scramble into canoes and speed paddle 3km around Loch Lochy before hopping back onto their bikes and racing the final 10 miles to finish in Fort William. In their own words they summed up their motivation, “One brother, Tom, was airlifted last year by the Devon Air Ambulance during a 10k run; his amazing treatment by the team would have cost them 3k so we figured it was payback time. Holding our regular cream team events seemed too easy so we set ourselves a different challenge.” The guys came first in their event and their Ben Nevis Challenge raised almost £4,000! Finally, Tim Batchelor and James Arkell, also tackled the Three Peaks, in the traditional way with driver Victoria, chauffeuring them between the peaks. Encountering hazardous and extreme weather conditions along the way, they finished the challenge in 23 hours and 32 minutes and Tim explained, “We were battered, bruised, achy, tired and very bedraggled... but feeling on top of the world!” Their challenge raised £1,800 for DAAT. Our congratulations and thanks go to all involved! 34


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The Three Peaks Cycle Challenge boys Tim and James reach the top of Mount Snowdon

The Diffey Bros complete the Three Peaks

Students go the extra mile…

Devon People

When we were nominated as Charity of the Year for Newton Abbot College, we had no idea what ideas the students had in mind. A busy year has followed…. First, the Hair and Beauty team held a fundraising day offering a number of treatments to fellow students, parents and other lucky ‘customers’. Rosey Oakes from DAAT went along and enjoyed a pampering eyebrow treatment. Next came a mammoth London to Paris Cycle Ride, undertaken by Ryan Flory, who was airlifted in 2012 after falling from rocks on Hound Tor and breaking both wrists (!), with friends Hayden Smith, Aaron Hammett and Jacob Nickels. Student Katie Powell travelled even further afield, following the 45 km Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, at an altitude of 2,430 metres, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The trek was a personal challenge that Katie did with her brother and sister; ‘a family bonding experience’ and all part of her College fundraising activities. Katie listed no telephone or wifi signal, along with no showers or toilet facilities, as a major test, but the photos here are a great illustration of the sense of achievement they all felt when they reached the top! Motivating the students in their fundraising endeavours is Sam Groves, geography teacher at the college. So keen was he to do his part for DAAT that, in October this year, he took on the world’s highest mountain bike race, the Yak Attack in the Himalayas. Sam explains, “This is certainly not for the faint-hearted! The race started in the hot and dusty Himalayan foothills at less than 400m then we climbed for 8 days to the snow covered Thorong La at 5416m, one of the world’s highest mountain passes. With temperatures ranging from +30 to -20 degrees we encountered rock, sand, mud and snow, passing from the sub tropical foothills, to alpine forest, around the world’s deepest gorges and up onto the Annapurna Himalaya range, before crossing the pass and dropping into the Mustang desert to finish at the lake city of Pokhara.” The upshot of all these activities is that the College has raised fantastic funds for the Trust, we’ll be able to bring you the final total in the next issue. Our grateful thanks go to all who have helped in any way…

Cyclists en route to Paris

Rosey enjoys a pampering eyebrow treatment Jumping for joy at Machu Picchu

Sam Groves Yak Attack Challenge

Tutor Sam Groves (front left) with the London to Paris cycling team


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


A Stroll Around


with Captain Dan Smith


was delighted to be asked to do this little piece. The weather was beautiful, clear skies and epic visibility. My dog, Monty, was ready and bouncing for a good leg stretch. We parked in the main Braunton car park right in the centre of town. Nearby are many attractions like the Surf Museum, Braunton Museum and The Countryside Centre. They are all worth a look but particularly The Countryside Centre if you have youngsters with you or are interested in the unique flora and fauna of the Braunton Burrows. The Burrows are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Just inland from them are the Great Fields, historic farming strips dating back to the medieval period. Also of interest is that the car park and surrounds used to be a rolling stock yard for the railway which serviced Braunton and Velator Harbour as recently as the early 1900s. If you look closely, you will see the old station buildings now being used shops and restaurants and you will be able to see the line of the now removed track. It is up this line that we now go. So, head north along the Tarka trail between the houses. It quickly turns into an open space between a play park and a bowling green where you could let the dog off. Keep walking for about half a mile until you meet an old railway crossing point. Turn right and head towards St Brannocks Church. This is a lovely old church and it used to be the centre of the original old village. Keep following the road or walk through the grave yard until you come across The Black Horse Inn – undoubtedly a coach house from yesteryear. If you can, pass this pub and head onwards to the next four way junction. You are surrounded by original old Braunton and the narrowness of the streets is telling – no big cars in those days. Turn left up the hill to Ash Barton and then immediately left into a ‘60s housing estate. Just a short walk through this to



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the right up Hazel Avenue brings you to the bottom of a secluded, cool trail that we will take to the top of Chapel Hill. Watch out for the geese (keep dog on lead!) and walk through the lane to the bottom of the meadow which leads very steeply to the top of the hill. This is well worth the effort; the dog can go mad and the ruined chapel is an interesting find. Make sure you do this walk on a clear day, however, as the view is sensational and not to be missed. The entire estuary mouth and all the surrounds for 10-30+miles can be seen. Work your way back the way you came, put the dog on the lead and make your way out of the estate, right onto Boode Rd. A short walk to the next left and then about 400m up the lane to the start of the next hill. You will come across a latch gate and a meadow that rises very steeply once again (sorry, but this is Devon after all!) Watch for sheep before letting the dog run and power your way to the top. More of the view from this vantage point but this time overlooking RMB Chivenor and towards Barnstaple. It is fascinating to see all the old uses for the area from the oil refinery at Fremington to harbours dotted along the river estuary and, of course, the now disused airfield of Chivenor itself. This was formerly a WW2 support airfield and then in later years a jet fighter training base and most recently the base for Search and Rescue for this region – now retired. Make your way downhill towards Braunton village. Luckily it’s all downhill from now on! As you descend you pass by a beautiful old oak tree so have a swing on the rope swing for old times’ sake. The woods envelope you and the path becomes more defined the nearer you get to the village. Watch your step here and be careful on the steps that have been built to assist your descent. You eventually pop out in the upper part of the village and from here it is a simple wend left towards the main street. I’m

Winter Walk Riverside”, which you may have noticed as you set off on your route; great modern comfort food often with an Asian twist. The fish and chips at Squires or South Sixteen are also highly recommended. Other recommends would be 4 miles to the NW of the village at Georgeham where “The Rock” and “The Kings Arms” provide superb food and excellent beers…I’ll see you there. I hope you enjoy this little stroll and what Braunton and its’ surrounds offer. An energetic 4-5miles with some welldeserved grub at the end. Perfect! We love it here and hope you will too.o

heading towards “eateries” and “drinkeries” just in case you were getting needy. The main thoroughfare has some lovely “art deco” influence and the now Bosch service centre and surf shop would at one time have been a lovely old garage. Similarly, Patts Grocers used to be the village cinema. You have deserved an ice cream by now and “Yummies” will see you right for this, along with a dizzying display of sweets, old and new fashioned (be careful taking the kids in!) If you want a lunch or an evening meal, we are spoilt in Braunton and I would particularly recommend “The

©Crown copyright 2015 Ordnance Survey. Media 059/15



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Patient Story

Dramatic end to a gig race


een rower Paul Wilkinson, 54, from Bideford was looking forward to an afternoon of gig racing out to sea off the coast of Appledore. His team were looking good; they had practiced their racing starts and were raring to go. They joined the other gigs on the start line and waited for the gun to go. However, just a few strokes in from the start, Paul became ill. The pain was so sudden that he had no time to warn his fellow rowers. As the oarsman in front of Paul, Andrew Curtis, realised there was a problem, Paul collapsed into the bottom of the boat. Andrew immediately put his arm in the air to attract one of the safety boats over. Paul was unceremoniously pulled from the gig to the safety boat where CPR was immediately started as the boat sped back to shore. On the slipway, Paul was transferred to the floor and a doctor, on holiday in the town, helped continue the CPR including using a defibrillator that had been sourced from the local Seagate Hotel. Paul came round to hear a melée of voices but was unable to communicate with anyone. Paul explained, “I could hear everyone talking, but it was as if they were talking about someone else.” A land ambulance crew arrived and Devon’s Air Ambulance was also called. Unbeknown to Paul, his wife Fiona, who had been shopping in the town while the racing was on, returned to

the slipway to see much commotion and someone clearly in trouble – before she realised it was, in fact, her husband. The land ambulance team conveyed Paul on a stretcher to the nearby helicopter and Paul was monitored on the flight from Appledore to Royal Devon & Exeter. He continued, “I remember the ceiling of the helicopter and thinking that I mustn’t close my eyes; I was in such pain but I didn’t want them to think that I had died!” In hospital, Paul had two stents fitted and was discharged just 4 days later. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the end of the story as one month later Paul became ill again and realised that he had blood in his urine. After presenting at North Devon District Hospital, however, and explaining about his recent heart surgery, it became apparent that his medication needed reassessing. Much to his relief, he recovered quickly and, following a few weeks of gentle exercise and light walking, he is gradually feeling fitter and healthier. “I’m getting better now,” Paul explained. “I’ve been to a very dark place and it’s scary to think that I effectively died on that gig! But, thanks to the expertise and professionalism of a whole bunch of people, I am here to tell the tale. I smoked until five years ago and I’m cutting back on the drinking too. I’m not quite fit enough to row again yet, but I do hope that I will be soon, though the racing might have to wait!”o

Unbeknown to Paul, his wife Fiona, who had been shopping in the town while the racing was on, returned to the slipway to see much commotion and someone clearly in trouble – before she realised it was, in fact, her husband.

Photo: North Devon Journal

Paul and wife Fiona Inset: In the gig



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All Change in the Pilot’s Seat


New role for record-breaking air ambulance pilot and dream job opportunity for another… Captain Rob Mackie has flown with DAAT for 23 years, recording an amazing 7,890 missions during his service but, as he reached his 60th birthday, regulations meant he had to give up single pilot flying. Fortunately for us, the helicopter pilot who has the longest service record with a single Air Ambulance charity is to stay on with the Trust. Heléna Holt, CEO said “Thankfully we will not be saying goodbye to Rob. When we were awarded our own Air Operating Certificate (AOC) last year, Rob took on the role of Safety Manager and played an integral part in setting up our safety management systems. I am delighted that Rob has agreed to continue in this role and, using his vast knowledge and experience, will be overseeing the surveying of all the community helipads needed to introduce night flying next winter.” Paignton born former Army pilot and Falklands veteran Rob, added: “It will take some adjusting to give up flying after a lifetime in the pilot’s seat but what better way to do so than continue with DAAT in a highly significant role. I am greatly looking forward to the challenges my new role will generate especially as it allows me to continue working with a great team.” Meanwhile, Rob’s retirement from flying offered an opportunity for another Devon-born pilot, Richie Tate. As a child, Richie recalls seeing helicopters delivering hay to snowbound cattle near his South Molton

home and resolved that one day he would be a helicopter pilot. He achieved his ambition by learning to fly in a 23-year army career and has now landed his dream job as a pilot with the Devon Air Ambulance. The 43-year old recounts how he always knew he would be a pilot and mapped out his career accordingly from a very young age. Richie joined the Household Cavalry straight from school before transferring to the Army Air Corps, where he flew Lynx and Dauphin helicopters and became involved in counter terrorism activities. He saw active service on seven tours of Iraq and two of Afghanistan. After army service, Richie flew as a police pilot at Middlemoor. His dream and aspiration to fly as an Air Ambulance pilot was intensified when his mother was airlifted by DAA after a heart attack in late 2013. Richie explains “Flying for the army and the police has been the perfect proving ground for Air Ambulance operations as, in all scenarios, you never really know what terrain you might have to land on. All require expert handling often in tight situations and quick decision-making. Every day is a school day with something new to learn. The DAA aircrew are a fantastic team and I’m learning my part in it, not just as the driver but as the paramedics’ eyes and ears on the ground. ” Richie lives in Plymtree near Cullompton with his wife Caroline and six year-old son, Arthur.

Inset: Richie Tate Right: Rob Mackie


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Why Me?

Patient Story


ot surprisingly, when you have always lived a healthy, active lifestyle and paid heed to the advice of the medical professionals, it can be a shock to realise that you are not invincable. Peter Lucas, from East Anstey, was busy in the garden when things changed very suddenly. He takes up the story… “One Sunday afternoon in July I was sawing logs when I felt a sudden intense pain in my chest. If, like me, you have sometimes wondered if you will recognise a heart attack if you have one, ponder no longer. You will.

and suggested the ambulance turn round Dave explained that things didn’t work like that! Once the emergency procedure had been competently and successfully completed and I lay in a comfortable hospital bed with a couple of stents in the appropriate artery, I was able to think matters over and, above all, ask myself why this had happened to me. My wife was outraged by the whole business and not just because I’d interrupted her enjoyment of the Wimbledon final! She is justifiably proud of the healthy diet we follow, eating

Fully recovered, Peter and Hazel visit Eaglescott Airbase

“If, like me, you have sometimes wondered if you will recognise a heart attack if you have one, ponder no longer. You will.” I folded the saw bench, walked inside, called my wife who was watching the Wimbledon final and dialled 999. In no time we had six paramedics in our sitting room, two of them from the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, whose helicopter landed on the school playing field opposite our house. One of the DAAT paramedics, Dave Huyton, administered an ECG, injected me with morphine and sprayed me under my tongue with glyceryl trinitrate to ease the pain. When the helicopter was unable to take off in the vile Exmoor weather he undertook to accompany me in the land ambulance to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital at Wonford, even giving directions to the driver of the ambulance which had come from Minehead. When I announced that the pain had gone 40


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all the right things and very few of the wrong ones. I gave up smoking forty years ago. My alcoholic intake is well below the recommended weekly target. I am not overweight. I exercise regularly, walking a mile and a half every day. There is no family history of coronary heart disease. So why me? All the medical staff to whom I put this question gave me the same reply; if I was guilty of any of these potential heart attack triggers I’d probably have had the attack at the age of fifty instead of seventy-five and I’d probably be dead. As it is I hope to be around for a few more years to continue contributing to DAAT which provides such invaluable support for everyone in our large rural county. I’m sorry I didn’t get to ride in the helicopter, though!” o

Devon People


Real people saving real lives - what could you do to save a life?

There are always loads of events and activities taking place around the county and our thanks go to ALL our fundraisers. Here are just a few…

Rebecca Austen did her first tandem skydive to thank us for airlifting her dad Regular Bingo nights organised by Amanda Holliman in Westward Ho have raised over £3,000 q

q Jane Jachnik raised £1056 when she ran the 50K Thames Path Challenge

While Dave Pennington’s Bingo nights are up to £6,386! u

t Mark Scott, Simon Griffiths and Dan Squire took up the challenge of this year’s Dart 10K. did Emma Dennis (left), and Nicola Davidson, who came over from Australia to swim the Dart 10K with her dad! (below)


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p Colleagues from Prosec were surprised to bump into DAAT Patron Lady Penny Mountbatten at the Cuba Cycle Challenge! p Another £1,000 was donated by Keith Vincer and Graham Wilkins from South Devon Garden Railway Group following this year’s annual show! Over £2,000 was raised and great fun was had by all at the Alice In Wonderland Ball at Glazebrook House Hotel this summer u

p This year’s Cotley Shoot raised a whopping £1,462. Thanks guys!

p Chulmleigh Golf Club raised £833 at this year’s Charity Golf Day

This year’s Tillworth Tractor Rally raised nearly £1,500! 42


Three colleagues from Heathcoat Fabrics in Tiverton jumped from a plane to raise funds for DAAT

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Fundraisers Over £1500 was raised at this year’s Morris Minors Rally q

Nearly £500 was raised for DAAT at this year’s Devon and Cornwall Beard and Moustache Championships Kingsbridge RFC present a cheque for £1,800 to Pilot Richie Tate and Paramedic Nigel Lang

p Steve Wilson and Rob Conybeare cycled over 100 miles from north to south Devon, popping in to DAAT shops along the way! DAAT’s own Damon Roel at the end of GWR, with his 2 nieces, Sophia and Liberty, who ran in the Schools Challenge u Tavistock Sir Francis Drake Ladies Bowling Club raised £700 during the outdoor season q Smiles from Duncan and Andy at the end of the Great West Run q

Little Stitches Quilt Group raised £1,700 at a 3-day exhibition q

If you would like to find out more details about how you could support Devon Air Ambulance, please call 01392 466666 or email

Get in touch!


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Starting young... Harry Mabbutt of Homelands Primary School, Newton Abbot, raised £71.30 by organising a talent show as part of his studies for the ‘Schools Civic Award’.

A novel idea to raise funds was initiated by Bow and Crediton Young Farmers – by holding a Dung Sale! This successful event raised a steaming £500! Pupils from Morchard Bishop Primary School were delighted when Ambrose went along to do a presentation and collect their fundraising donation.

9 year old Lucy Andrade May designed her own game to raise funds for DAAT at her South Brent Primary School fair – with patients being picked up by her magnetic fishing line helicopter and ‘flown’ to the specialist hospital! Well done Lucy!

Young Zak Wilson was sad when he heard about the tragic death of a local boy so he dyed his hair blue and raised over £200 in his memory.



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Ambrose preparing for the Schools Challenge for the Great West Run where around 1300 primary school children took part.

Students at Blundells School in Tiverton raised nearly £550 earlier this year and presented their funds to DAAT’s Volunteer Support Officer, Rosey Oakes.

Unexpected end to the holiday Over Easter this year, Olivia Joud, 5, was on holiday in Devon with her mum, dad and little sister, Marnie, when she suffered severe burns to her ear, neck and back following an unfortunate accident involving a pan of boiling water. Due to her age, the seriousness of the injury and the remote location, emergency services made the decision to send a helicopter to the farmhouse near Okehampton. Mum Veronique explains, “As Londoners, we were absolutely amazed but, just 10 minutes later, the helicopter arrived, landing in the paddock behind the house. The paramedics, Chris Saunders and Dave Dungay, were out of this world. Calm, composed, efficient, proficient, kind, funny, sweet, considerate... you name it, they were it. Within 10 minutes of arriving, they had taken control of the situation, got the details from us, treated Olivia and taken her pain away. They had also reassured us that she was going to be fine. Then they moved to organising the rest of her care, cancelling the road ambulance and arranging to take her in the helicopter to Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital. Not because her condition was so

Junior Crew

critical, but because they could get there in 10 minutes instead of the hour and a half it would have taken for the land ambulance to get to us and take her there and they didn’t see the need to inflict extra unnecessary time to her trauma. “Before Olivia went off with her Daddy in the helicopter, the pilot, Captain Dan Smith, sat me down and gave me the sweetest pep talk and safety briefing about what I had to do before I should drive down to Plymouth to meet them there. And off they went! “Incredibly, they took Olivia’s pain away and brought her to a full medical team in the space of 40 minutes from the moment they were called. A road ambulance would have taken 2 hours. This made the difference between her body coping with the trauma or not. And being in excruciating pain during that time. And her skin healing nicely, not leaving any scars.” Following an overnight stay Olivia was discharged from Derriford and her care continued in London at the Chelsea and Westminster Mars Burns Unit. The family were delighted to be reunited with DAAT’s Dave and Dan when they came back to visit this summer.

“Incredibly, they took Olivia’s pain away and brought her to a full medical team in the space of 40 minutes from the moment they were called. A road ambulance would have taken 2 hours”

Paramedic Dave Dungay and Pilot Dan Smith with Olivia and the Joud Family Inset: Olivia and her award certificate

If you would like to find out more details about how you could support Devon Air Ambulance, please call 01392 466666 or email

Get in touch!


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Business on board ƒ Following an initial donation of £5,625 for 2015/16 we look forward to our partnership with South West Water for the next 3 years. So far, they have already entered two teams for this year’s Commando Challenge and several employees play our in-house Lottery through their payroll.

ƒ Our thanks go to

Viridor (Newton Abbot

ƒ Chelsea Building Society – raised over £100 in their ‘loose change box’, requested by a customer vote.

and Greendale depots) for raising £835 as part of their charity reward scheme.

„ Helpful Holidays

Thanks to a 10-day festival at Watermouth Cove, this year’s Wavefest and Jet-ski competition raised over £1,000!

have again nominated DAAT as Charity of the Year for 2016 and have already taken up the Dragon Boat challenge for next September!

Thank You! To all Dragon Boat entrants: Toolbank Exeter (winners);

Since a change to the law regarding scrap metal, Newberys have donated over £6,000 to the Trust for recycled metal.



South West Highways (runners up - for the second year running) and Alcoa Howmet (third place). Also participating were Crisp Associates and Paritor; Michelmores; Sarah West Recruitment Ltd; JFE Nissan Exeter; Nationwide (Torquay) and Devon & Cornwall Police (Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner). Book early for your boat next year!

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As evidenced on these pages and in previous issues of Helipad, supporting DAAT can be mutually beneficial for the Trust AND for businesses.

Alcoa Howmet are global leaders in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing, with a large site in Exeter, and they support us in a variety of ways. Much fun has been had by staff and guests alike at their annual Golf Days, where Alcoa Foundation has twice granted an Alcoans in Motion Grant of $2,500 to DAAT over recent years. The Alcoa Howmet team were delighted to come third in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival at Exeter Quay, with other colleagues forming a team to enter this year’s Commando Challenge. Further funds have come from an internal company competition, which the Exeter Team won and were allocated funds to donate to local charities in their community; DAAT was one of the charities chosen by the employees and $1,000 was kindly donated. Finally the workforce also play our in-house Lottery through their payroll with over 50 employees taking part. Alcoa Howmet’s support for DAAT is championed by Andy Murray, European Works Council Chairman (based in Exeter), who explained “We’re really proud to support Devon Air Ambulance Trust. We all know that it’s run entirely on donations and, the blunt truth is, none of us ever know if we’ll need it. Supporting such a cause sits well with our corporate social responsibility but, more than that, we’ve had some great fun working together at so many different events. From offering our staff the opportunity to volunteer for a day, to being part of a team racing up the River Exe in a Dragon Boat, there’s a real sense of goodwill that the funds raised and donated make such a significant difference and, at the end of the day, help to save lives.”

Business on board

Andy Murray Alcoa Howmet European Works Council Chairman

If your business is interested in supporting DAAT call Caroline Creer on 01392 466666 Ext.*133 or by email on


Get in touch!

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Never a dull moment, as Nigel Hare explains… As well as delivering our service to the people of Devon each day, we have been busy over recent months bringing together all the various elements needed to enable us to extend our service into the hours of darkness. As our plan is very much to help communities help us to be able to respond to their town, village or hamlet I thought I would provide an overview of how our plans are developing. Our intention is to commence ‘night operations’ from October next year, flying through to midnight each day. However, although affectionately known as ‘night operations’, in reality operating during the hours of darkness means being able to respond to patients from as early as about 4.30pm! So helping ‘Make Night Time Flight Time’ isn’t just about responding when most people have gone to bed! Indeed extending our operating hours to midnight will enable us to deliver up to an extra 8 hours of service each day during the darker winter months. Our vision is to eventually provide our service 24 hours a day and this is a huge step in realising that dream. Those of you who have been following our developments over recent years will be aware that your fabulous support enabled us to purchase our new helicopter (G-DAAN) in 2013 and we ensured that, as far as we could, we incorporated the design changes needed to enable us to operate at night. We still have some final modifications to make to the helicopter, including the installation of additional floodlights and a powerful directional search light for use when landing, and these will be fitted in the New Year. We have also installed an aviation weather station at our Eaglescott airbase which is the first of several we will install around the county. These will provide our crew with real time information on cloud height and horizontal visibility which are essential pieces of information for flying a helicopter but which are often more challenging to gauge in the dark. The weather

station will also provide a host of other information such as rainfall, temperature, barometric pressure and weather trends. Integral to our plans is working with local communities to help establish their own night helipad which will enable us to land in your town, village or hamlet when it’s dark and deliver the clinical care and onward transportation to hospital that patients require at their time of need. These Community Helipads would be an existing open area such as a village green, sports or playing field or perhaps a school playground, which may or may not already have some form of lighting available such as street lighting or flood lighting for a sports area. Whether they are grass, tarmac or concrete doesn’t matter and we will work with a community to advise what additional lighting would need to be installed to enable us to land safely. We know each community will have different types of areas for a potential Community Helipad and we are developing a range of lighting options to suit, all of which will include remote control so that we can turn the lights on when we need them without the need for someone to flick a switch on the ground! Next month Toby Russell will be joining our team to work with communities in developing a network of Community Helipads across Devon. If you would like to help us to help you in delivering our service when its dark through the establishment of a Community Helipad then please either e-mail us at or phone us on 01392 466666.

A powerful directional search light for use when landing will be fitted in the New Year.



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Nikki Bolt at the HEMS dispatch desk

HEMS team grows...

Nikki, Paul and Kelly

Nikki Bolt has been leading our HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) dispatch team since 2008, allocating helicopters throughout the south west from Devon Air Ambulance, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance and Search and Rescue. In the forthcoming months, their work will also cover the deployment of helicopters from Great Western Air Ambulance and Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Coupled with the increase in geographical coverage are plans to extend the service into the hours of darkness in 2016 and Nikki’s team has expanded accordingly. Joining Nikki and her colleagues, Paul Holmes and Kelly Vallance, we are delighted to welcome Lucinda Smith, Jon Hurt and Chloe Stevens. All three new HEMS despatchers were working as call-takers in South Western Ambulance Service and, with up to 2,500 calls per day coming in, were well aware of the busy nature of the job. Since joining the HEMS team, they have had intense training including safety legislation and regulations, airbase procedures, dispatch protocols and scene safety. They have also undertaken an observational flying shift and job-shadowed the current team. Nikki Bolt explains, “Following their initial training, Lucinda, Jon and Chloe are now undertaking their first set of solo shifts! So far they have undertaken a week’s intense classroom session, 5 weeks of shadow and practice alongside the existing team, an observational flying day, visits to 3 airbases and charity headquarters and a CRM session - and they are only just beginning! A role like ours is far from predictable and no matter how much training you have provided a lot of the incidents will still require some quick thinking in order to ensure that the most appropriate resource is dispatched to the right incidents at the right time. The new team members will continue to have regular support from Kelly, Paul, Nigel and myself as well as the aircrew and will undertake additional development days to further their knowledge and share experiences and we wish them all the best in their continued role. They are proving to be a real asset to the team so far!”

Above: Chloe Stevens Above right: Jon Hurt Right: Lucinda Smith


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


Back Chat

Everything that has existed, lingers in the eternity... Well-known broadcaster and DAAT Patron, David FitzGerald, reminisces over 25 years of reporting on Agatha Christie I turned to Monsieur Poirot and asked him a question which barely troubled those little grey cells. ‘Will you be talking to the press when the Orient Express arrives in Torquay?’ He raised a gloved hand, his finger wagged in my direction. ‘I am not sure that the station is the best place,’ he said, his gentle Belgian French accent almost lost to the clatter of the carriage wheels. ‘Perhaps we can talk in the ballroom of The Grand Hotel where we will join Miss Marple n’est-ce pas.’ With that Miss Marple slid behind us in the corridor of the train, her face showing slight alarm at the number of faces on the platform of Torquay station. ‘Oh dear,’ she muttered. ‘So many people!’ The year was 1990, Jessica Fletcher was still walking from the gravesides of Cabot Cove and Midsomer was yet to be molested but Agatha Christie had killed hundreds. It was her 100th birthday celebrations and I was smack bang in the middle of a media scrum, yet to read my first Christie novel but already rubbing shoulders with David Suchet, who did not drop out of character, and Joan Hickson, who was every inch Miss Marple. I was also struggling to get a camera crew off the Orient Express and into the mêlée of the world’s press and Christie fans. It took the Devon and Cornwall Police quite some time to calm the crowd down and guide the sleuths through to the official reception. We had rolled out of London in relative calm. There then followed a gentle trip to Devon and even an unscheduled diversion onto the line which ran close by to Greenway the Christie holiday home. I remember the train slowing a little to allow us to wave 50


The Official Devon Air Ambulance Trust Magazine


to a far cluster of figures who returned the gesture. The guard informed us that amongst them were Rosalind Hicks, Agatha’s daughter and her son Mathew Pritchard. Spin on a terrifying twenty five years and I stand beside Mathew at Torre Abbey and remind him of that day. He nods and reminisces of his mother and grandmother and pays tribute to perhaps the finest Miss Marple, Joan Hickson. It was way back in the 1940s when Hickson appeared on stage in an Agatha Christie play, Appointment with Death. Agatha saw her performance and wrote her a note, ‘I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple’. It would be some time to wait for the part but worth every minute for us the viewer. She even played the housekeeper in the Marple film ‘Murder, She Said’ in 1961 which starred Margaret Rutherford as the busy body with the steel trap mind from St Mary Mead. Finally in the mid 1980s the role came her way and she made it her own. Joan Bogle Butler, as she became, is buried in Sidbury in Devon but lives on in the hearts of so many Christie fans. On that 125th anniversary the BBC Radio Devon outside broadcast spoke to the people behind this worldwide phenomenon. It was perhaps a little difficult to take in the staggering figures involved in her success. That she has sold two billion books in 103 languages. That ‘And Then There Were None’ alone has sold 100 million copies and the fact that The Mousetrap is still running after passing 25,000 performances in 2012. I doubt I will see the 150th anniversary but Devon will and I will guarantee a whole new generation will be enjoying Christie.

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Helipad Winter 2015 Edition  
Helipad Winter 2015 Edition  

The Winter 2015 edition of Helipad - the official magazine of Devon Air Ambulance Trust