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March 2020

Mick’s Books Raise £1,600 Air Ambulance Legacy

13 March 2020

A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) frontline staff member with a terminal illness has left a generous legacy for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Mick Saye has worked as an Emergency Care Assistant at Warminster Ambulance Station since 2016, having previously volunteered as a Community First Responder.

Mick has an aggressive form of brain cancer. He is currently receiving treatment, but is aware that his life is very limited.

Mick wrote a series of short stories for children, called ‘The Adventures of Toby, a Five and a Half Year Old Boy’.

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He recently handed-over a cheque to Wiltshire Air Ambulance for more than £1,600 of proceeds from the book.

Mick said: “Wiltshire Air Ambulance does a fantastic job. Working as a Community First Responder and latterly as an Emergency Care Assistant, I worked alongside as the crew saved lives.

“When I attended emergency incidents and Wiltshire Air Ambulance were called in to provide their expertise it reassured me. The HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) team are specialists and it was nice to call on that expertise to give the best possible care to patients. It’s an excellent service - funded by donations - for the people of Wiltshire and surrounding counties and to lose that resource would be a disaster.

“Anything that I can do to help maintain the aircraft with monies raised from my book will be worthwhile. Hopefully the book will generate something to keep Wiltshire Air Ambulance going for it to continue saving lives for years to come.

“At my funeral service donations will be for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.”

Barbara Gray, Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Director of Income Generation and Communications, said: “The response from the general public to Mick’s book has been tremendous and has already raised a fantastic amount of money for our charity. It’s a beautiful legacy for Mick to leave and we can’t thank him enough for what he’s done and for choosing to fundraise for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.”

Helen Essery, one of Mick’s former colleagues at Warminster Ambulance Station who has now retired, kindly agreed to illustrate Mick’s stories.

The book, along with some framed illustrations, was presented to Mick at a celebratory event held at Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s airbase in December.

Helen said: “Mick’s a great colleague. I got to know him when he was volunteering as a Community First Responder and he attended incidents that I was called to. He was very competent, reliable and always knew what he had to do.

“Mick is very caring and when I heard about his book and that he was looking for an illustrator I said I would love to do it.

“The stories are lovely and are just the right language for children. By raising funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance Mick is leaving a lovely legacy for the charity.”

Jane Whichello, South Western Ambulance Service’s Deputy County Commander for Wiltshire, has been supporting Mick and coordinated the surprise book for him.

Jane said: “This has been a positive and heart-warming project that has sprung from such a sad situation following Mick’s sudden diagnosis. It demonstrates some huge hidden talents behind those green ambulance uniforms and it has been a privilege to bring those skills together for the benefit of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, who do such valuable work every day.

“The Toby stories will bring lots of joy to young children and help our county’s air ambulance.”

The book remains on sale for £5 from the Wiltshire Air Ambulance airbase at Semington and at Wiltshire Air Ambulance shops in Westbury and Devizes.

Alternatively to receive a copy by post, people can send a cheque for £6.50 to ‘Wiltshire Air Ambulance’ with their name and address to Toby Book, Chippenham Ambulance Station, Malmesbury Road, Chippenham, SN15 5LN.


Notes to editors:

  1. The attached photo shows (left to right): Helen Essery, former-Specialist Paramedic who illustrated the book; Paul Rock, Wiltshire Air Ambulance Critical Care Paramedic; Mick Saye South Western Ambulance Service Emergency Care Assistant; Jane Whichello, South Western Ambulance Service Wiltshire Deputy County Commander.
  2. Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a charity which needs to raise £3.75 million each year to carry out its lifesaving work. It receives no direct Government funding or National Lottery grants. 

New Lifting Aid To Benefit Swindon Patients

09 March 2020

More patients in Swindon will benefit from a volunteer-led South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) initiative after it received new funds.

Swindon’s Community Responder group raised almost £3,500 through South Western Ambulance Charity to purchase a new lifting chair and associated equipment for patients who have experienced a non-injury fall.

The scheme involves trained volunteers called Community First Responders (CFRs) attending these patients after a 999 call has been made.

In each incident, the CFR assesses the patient with support from a clinician in the Control Hub. They use the lifting chair to move patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position, and the clinician decides if an ambulance is required.

The initiative reduces patient wait times and can avoid them needing to go hospital. It also frees-up frontline crews to be available for life-threatening incidents.

Neil Hunt, who led the fundraising for the group, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding to help us to better support patients at home in their local community.

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“This fantastic piece of kit enables us to attend a non-injury fall patient, to reduce their suffering and get them back on their feet in a safe and more timely manner.

“The scheme also helps to ensure the most appropriate allocation of emergency services resources.”

The scheme was launched by SWASFT in 2017 to improve response times for these patients and to develop the skills and experience of CFRs.

SWASFT was given the Best Care of Older People accolade at the Health Service Journal’s 2018 Patient Safety Awards for the initiative.

Additional info:

  • Around a third of people aged 65+ and about half of people aged 80+ fall at least once a year. Falls can cause pain and distress, and may lead to serious health problems. They often result in people losing their confidence and independence.
  • During an eight-week trial involving 17 groups across the South West waiting times for non-injury falls patients were cut by 12.5%. Of the incidents attended by a CFR 77% did not need support from a paramedic, saving 148 hours of frontline resource time.
  • CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents and deliver care in their local communities, on behalf of SWASFT, while an ambulance is on its way.
  • SWASFT has around 800 CFRs across the South West who attend more than 40,000 incidents each year - helping to save lives, reduce pain and provide reassurance to those requiring emergency care.
  • The funding for the new equipment came from the following sources: Tesco Bags of Help £2,000, Swindon North Parish Council £400, Haydon Wick Parish Council £400, Fireworks fundraiser £285.83, Stratton St Margaret Parish Council £400. The total raised was £3,485.83.

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South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: Donate to South Western Ambulance Charity | Give as you Live Donate