On the 8th April 2014 tragedy struck when seven year old Harvey was playing on a rope swing at Cherry Lane Adventure Playground in Langley Green.
A wooden pole, suspected of rotting below the ground, broke in half and fell directly onto Harvey, striking him on the head. Harvey was seriously injured and rushed directly to St George’s Hospital.
Harvey has now fully recovered and has recently returned to school.
Yesterday (Wednesday 29th October) Harvey and his family were invited to the head quarters of the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance based at Redhill Aerodrome, Redhill to meet the crew who played a major part in saving Harvey’s life on the day of the incident.
CHT speak to Stuart Plumbley & Jill Playle:
We had the pleasure of speaking to Stuart Plumbley who is a Critical Care Paramedic (with advanced training) and was one of the paramedics who attended the scene back in April. Stuart told us “Harvey, bless him, he had an accident in the playground where he sustained quite a bad head injury. Myself, Dr Matt Davenport and Captain Dan Kitterridge, the pilot, attended the scene and looked after little Harvey. We were able to bring life saving interventions to the scene, which in this case was to anaesthetise him. We then flew him to St George’s Hospital in Tooting. This only took us eleven minutes thanks to the new helipad on top of the hospital. If we had gone by land it would have taken about forty minutes. Going by air makes a massive saving and can make all the difference. Now being able to land directly on top of the hospital saves even more time, and more lives.”
Stuart told us he has been a paramedic with the ambulance service for seventeen years and with the air ambulance for nearly five years. Stuart said it is a great organisation. Working closely with his SECAmb (South East Coast Ambulance) colleagues he believes they make a significant difference to patient outcomes.
We got to speak to Jill Playle, Director of Communications at KSS Air Ambulance. Jill told us “We rely almost entirely on funds from the general public. It costs six and a half million pounds to keep the operation going. Harvey’s story is a great example and illustration of where the money goes, how it is used and how we help people.”
We asked Jill how people can help to fund raise for the KSS Air Ambulance. Jill told us “people can fund raise for us in many different ways. they do parachute jumps, challenges, cycle rides, marathons etc, there are lots of ways to help raise money. People can also join our lottery, which is s valuable way of raising money for the organisation. Just Giving is a great system to use if doing a fund raising event. We are one of the listed charities and we also get the chance to receive Gift Aid which is great.”
CHT speak to Faye Hankin & Ros Hankin:
Faye Hankin, Harvey’s mum, spoke to us about their visit to the KSS Air Ambulance. Faye told us “It’s been a great day. Harvey has got to meet the paramedics and the pilot. If it wasn’t for them, Harvey may not have survived. We are really grateful to the new helipad at St George’s, which only opened the day before the incident. Harvey may have had to go to Southampton which could have taken longer and time was of the essence.”
Ros Hankin, Harvey’s Nan told us “We can’t thank the KSS Air Ambulance enough. We were in total despair. When we were told Harvey may not wake up we were devastated. We are a big family and rallied round each other. Harvey missed his eighth birthday on the 10th April. The accident was on the 8th April and he was in a coma for a week. When he woke up he was able to see the balloons. We just can’t thank them all enough and of course St George’s. They were all brilliant.”
Ros went on to tell us how they, as a family, had raised £440 to donate to the KSS Air Ambulance. They felt it was the least they could do and will continue to raise funds whenever they can.
Harvey and his family visit the KSS Air Ambulance:
The staff at KSS Air Ambulance had a special treat for Harvey in the form of a birthday cake to make up for Harvey missing his birthday whilst being in a coma. Harvey and his brother also got to a tour on the Air Ambulance that played its part in saving Harvey’s life.
You can read more about the launch of the fantastic time saving and life saving helipad at St George’s Hospital here.
If you would like to support the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance in any way, you can do so by visiting their website here or giving them a call on 01622 833833.
We would like to thank the Hankin family for their time and thank you to Jamie and Jill from KSS Air Ambulance for inviting CHT down to be part of this great occasion.
We would like to wish Harvey all the best for his future.