Cornwall LivingIssue #111

Keep the rotors running

Cornwall Air Ambulance attends over 1,000 emergencies every year, all of which are funded by the generosity of the public.

Without the generous support of the public, Cornwall Air Ambulance would not be able to reach seriously injured and unwell patients in their moment of need. From cake sales to challenge events, fundraising takes many shapes and involves people of all ages. Here are two stories of generous and committed children, raising money for their local air ambulance.

Fundraising in Memory

When seven-year-old Daisy’s grandad, Keith Simmonds, passed away in March 2021 she wanted to do a fundraising challenge in his memory. Daisy decided to run every day in April to raise money for Cornwall Air Ambulance, the charity which helped him. Laura Simmonds explains their story and why her daughter Daisy wished to support the air ambulance.

“Back in 2018, my dad Keith was painting the outside of the house when he started to get chest pain. Mum called 999 and a paramedic came out and after assessing him they confirmed he was having a major heart attack and needed urgent care. He was driven to Porthleven Cricket Club where Cornwall Air Ambulance landed to take Dad to Royal Cornwall Hospital for specialist treatment.

“My parents live roughly 20 miles from the hospital. Critical Care Paramedic Jeremy, who treated Dad, said they had only a matter of minutes to get him to hospital. When they arrived, he was taken into theatre to have a stent put in his artery that was 99% blocked. “If the Cornwall Air Ambulance had not arrived, my dad wouldn’t have survived. We can’t express enough how important the Cornwall Air Ambulance is, especially in a county as rural as Cornwall. The speed of the helicopter and the paramedics on board were just amazing and we could never thank them enough for saving his life.”

In 2018, Keith featured in the New Heli Appeal campaign. The image of him with Daisy was used across Cornwall to promote the appeal for a new helicopter. 

Laura continues: “Dad always wanted to go to the Cornwall Air Ambulance base when he got better to make a donation, however that day never came. Sadly, following further health complications, he passed away this year. In memory of her grandad, Daisy set herself a challenge to run 65km in the month of April. Dad was 65 when he sadly passed away so we thought that number was appropriate. I thought it was lovely Daisy chose Cornwall Air Ambulance as it is something very close to our hearts and Daisy has her name on the new helicopter too.”

In total Daisy raised £2,250 for Cornwall Air Ambulance, which she presented to the Critical Care team at the charity headquarters.

Debbie Henshaw, Senior Fundraising Manager for Cornwall Air Ambulance, says: “Daisy is an amazing little girl. She raised an incredible amount of money in her grandad’s memory, which will help the next person in need – that is a very special thing. Community fundraising is at the heart of the charity and has been since it was founded. It really is lots of people doing their bit which keeps the helicopter flying and saving lives.”

Patient turned fundraiser

After running through a glass door at the age of three, Jack Davey was airlifted by the Cornwall Air Ambulance crew from the Isles of Scilly to Royal Cornwall Hospital, a trip with a total distance of nearly 140 miles. He suffered significant injuries and needed surgery on his face, neck and hand.

Now 10 years old, Jack wanted to show his appreciation to the crew by fundraising for the lifesaving charity. Originally planning to cycle the same distance he was flown in the helicopter, he exceeded his target and cycled a grand total of 200 miles, despite recently breaking his arm. Jack managed to raise an incredible £1,975 for Cornwall Air Ambulance through sponsorship and gift aid, smashing his target of £140. “I did about 16 miles every day until I got to 200 miles,” he explains. “I did about half on a turbo trainer, which is really hard work, and half on my mountain bike riding on the trails near my house.”

He was supported throughout his challenge by his dad, Wayne Davey, a former Cornwall Air Ambulance and SAR paramedic. They often see the air ambulance flying over their home in Carn Brea and said it is a constant reminder of how much the service is needed.

Jack says: “The Cornwall Air Ambulance service is very important. It is a risky job that they do, especially when they have to fly out over the sea to the Isles of Scilly, and it has saved lots of people’s lives.”

For more inspiring tales like those from Daisy and Jack, and to find out what you could do to help raise funds for Cornwall Air Ambulance, be sure to head to the charity’s website.

Cornwall Air Ambulance

01637 889926