I feel very privileged to do a job which I love and am honoured to work with such a passionate and supportive group of people. For most if not all of us it’s more than just a job. We all have our own reasons for working for the Charity. For example myself and our Retail Operations Manager Chrissie have both been at the receiving end of the service, after similar car accidents, one of our fundraising assistants’ daughter was airlifted and then there are people connected through friends, due to hobbies such as horseriding.
One person who knows first-hand what a difference Devon’s Air Ambulances make to our beautiful (and at the moment very soggy!) county is aircrew/paramedic Paul Robinson.
Paul 49, born in Torquay, now living in Holcombe near Teignmouth, has been flying as part of our aircrew for almost 10 years and during that time has attended hundreds of missions across the county.
Paul said “I joined Oxford Ambulance service in 1991 and transferred to Westcountry Ambulance Service (now South Western Ambulance Service Foundation Trust) back in 1996. Some years later, I applied to work as part of the Air Ambulance crew, which was the natural progression of my career. You get such a different perspective from the air. You realise what a rural county we live in, with miles and miles of green fields, farmland and forests, with little sight of a track, let alone a main road.
“What I find extremely humbling is meeting patients afterwards, for example when they come back to visit us to say ‘thank you’ or present some money from a fundraising event. Because of patient confidentiality, once we hand over a patient at an emergency department that’s where our job ends. It’s only if patients contact the Charity that we get to find out what the final outcome is, which is so rewarding.”
Paul, a keen runner and skier, said “I have decided to challenge myself by taking part in the Virgin London Marathon again. This will be my 8th marathon and believe me it gets harder the older I get! Running is my way to relax and unwind, so what better way to raise money for Devon Air Ambulance Trust at the same time by being sponsored?”
As well as asking friends, family and acquaintances to sponsor him, Paul will also be holding various fundraising events to raise additional funds including attending Trago Mills in South Devon on Sunday 30 March with friend Glyn Avery, fellow aircrew paramedic Nigel Lang and two cross-trainers. They will be training whilst collecting visitors’ loose change and donations at the same time.
This wouldn’t be possible without the support from Winners 2000 Gym in Kingsteignton who have kindly loaned Paul and Glyn 2 cross trainers for the event. Thank you!
Paul said “Glyn and I were best friends at school. As so often happens, we lost contact after we left school. Some years later, I was attending a lady called Lucy who was suffering from a medical emergency, whilst working on the Air Ambulance. We were handing Lucy to the care of staff at Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital when her husband rushed in – and it was Glyn! It’s so lovely to be back in contact and we have now renewed our friendship.” Since being reunited Glyn and Paul have raised over £3,000 for the Air Ambulance and ran the London marathon together in 2012.
Paul also recalls another mission that he attended where a little boy who had been kicked in his face by a pony whilst up on Dartmoor, “We are able to land just feet from the injured boy, which meant we could quickly assess and treat his injuries. We flew him to hospital and reached the receiving A&E department within 7 minutes of taken off from scene.
“Thankfully his injuries were not life threatening and I was delighted to meet him and his family just a few months later. He brought along his Ambrose Air Bear. Ambrose bears are carried on board, which we give to any child who is airlifted, as they act as an extra comfort and a distraction.”
Dad of two, Paul’s daughter Holly, 11 and Son Robbie, 15 also want to get involved and have pledged their support for their dad. Previously they have both raised funds for the Charity by cycle rides and cake bake sales. Paul also has the support of his wife Faye; they will be celebrating their Silver Wedding this year.
If you would like to sponsor Paul you can do so on line via his JustGiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/paul-robinson41.