Our Charity of the Year 2019/20: Essex & Herts Air Ambulance

We are excited to be partnering with Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) as our Charity of the Year for academic year 2019/20.

The decision was made as a result of a staff vote, with many staff members eager to support the life-saving charity.

EHAAT is a charity that provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for the critically ill and injured of Essex, Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas. These teams, made up of highly-skilled individuals have tended to 1,491 patients in 2018 and are the backbone of the charity. The fleet consists of two Air Ambulances, and four rapid response vehicles (RRVs – cars) The RRVs are crewed by a Pre-hospital Care Doctor and a Critical Care Paramedic and carry the same life-saving equipment as the helicopters. Today the EHAAT operates 24/7. During the day, from 7am until 8.00pm, the Critical Care Team provides service using helicopters based at Earls Colne and North Weald. Overnight from 7.30pm to 7.30am the service is provided using an RRV based at North Weald. An RRV is also used when the helicopter is unable to fly due to poor weather or maintenance.

The Charity has been operating around the local area since 1998 and has attended over 24,000 missions since its launch. The Air Ambulance charity was first established and began fundraising in 1997 as the Essex Air Ambulance, beginning operating the following year. However, in 2007 due to a rising need for support in the Hertfordshire region, the Herts Air Ambulance was established, merging the two services to become the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust.

The service is provided free of charge however, unlike NHS emergency services the charity does not receive any direct funding from the Government or National Lottery. It costs in excess of £750,000 every month to keep the service operational and cover all charitable costs. This would not be possible without the generosity and goodwill of people and businesses of Essex, Hertfordshire and beyond.

To meet the £750,000 operational cost, the Essex and Herts Ambulance Trust raises funds from many different sources. These include: community fundraising, charity shops, legacy and in memoriam donations, the flight for life lottery (which has raised almost £20 million in just the last 3 years) as well as corporate partners and sponsors such as ourselves.


Real life stories:

Amy’s Story

17 year old Amy has no memory of the day her heart stopped.

When Amy suffered a seizure and collapsed, Brandon was forced to remember his CPR training from years before. With the help of the land and Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, Amy was resuscitated and stabilised before being flown to Basildon Hospital for treatment.

Amy said: “At first I thought it was all a joke and then I was gutted that I’d been on a helicopter – something I’d always wanted to do – but have no memory of it!”

Since the incident, Amy has been fitted with an internal defibrillator and has been enjoying her second year of study at Colchester Institute.

In September 2016 Amy, Brandon and her family visited our airbase and donated £270 to the Charity. A few weeks afterwards, Amy learned CPR for herself at our CPR-athon event during National Air Ambulance Week.



Katrina’s story

The Essex and Herts Ambulance have provided many people in the region with critical lifesaving aid and are highly valued in the local community. Below is Katrina’s story:

In January 2018 Katrina was driving home just after midnight when she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, as she lost consciousness her vehicle swerved across the road and crashed into railings.

Fortunately, the impact was heard by Steve Jones, an off-duty East of England Ambulance Service Paramedic, who lived a couple of doors away. Crucially, Steve was able to start CPR whilst waiting for a land ambulance to arrive. As EHAAT do not fly at night the ambulance was closely followed by an EHAAT rapid response vehicle which carries the same level of care as the helicopter would.

An EHAAT Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic made a series of advanced clinical interventions before accompanying Katrina in the land ambulance to Basildon CTC (Cardiothoracic Centre).

While in hospital, Katrina learned what had happened. “At first I couldn’t understand what had happened. Apparently, the police blocked off the road and there were some bright lights put up so that I could be treated at the roadside.” “I felt so tired when I woke up that it was hard to even lift my arms and I needed help to get out of bed.”

A year on, Katrina was up and about again and paid a visit to the North Weald Airbase. She was able to meet the EHAAT team who had attended to her, along with Steve, the off-duty Paramedic and Neil Magee from Basildon.

“It was nice to see everyone together and meet the team. It was quite emotional to be told that they were breathing for me and making my blood circulate. Without all of them I wouldn’t be here.”





Michael’s Story

When Michael’s bus was hit by a 15 tonne steam engine that was being transported by lorry, he was left in critical condition with 23 injured passengers.

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance were at the scene 14 minutes after dispatch. Michael had received life-threatening injuries to his shoulders, chest, forearm, hand, fingers, hip and pelvis – as well as a severe laceration to his abdomen.

Throughout the ordeal, Michael was insistent he wasn’t going to make it through, and that the focus of the emergency services should be on his injured passengers.


Michael was removed from the driver’s seat of the bus and was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital. Whilst there, Michael underwent stomach surgery, two shoulder operations, skin grafts and had his injured hand reconstructed. After a month, Michael was released from hospital care and made it home.

Having been a FIRST bus driver for 15 years, Michael is keen to return to work someday and see his regular customers again. Michael’s colleagues at FIRST have aided him in raising over £1,700 for the Charity to date. This summer, he was able to drive his 16-year-old daughter to her prom, something he could only dream of doing in the early days of his recovery.

Michael said: “I just want to say a massive thank you to Essex & Herts Air Ambulance. There is no doubt in my mind that without them I wouldn’t be here today. I had a massive list of injuries and yet the Crew gave me the best chance.”


How you can help

If you’re a student or staff member and are interested in fundraising you can contact marketing@colchester.ac.uk for the necessary resources. Here are some following ways that you can help raise money for the charity.

  • Sahara Desert Trek 2020
  • Hold ‘A British Aternoon Tea’ fundraiser
  • Take part in ‘The Big Pub Quiz’
  • Run in aid of EHAAT
  • Go Red or go Yellow

If you’re not a student/staff member but would like to support, please visit https://www.ehaat.org/fundraise/

We hope that with our combined help, and the help of other local fundraisers, we will be able to support the charity in its excellent lifesaving services.