June 2019

Business Meeting 2nd May 2019

Present: 47 members and partners plus guests Colin Coatesand Richard Whiteside. Also our speaker Beryl Smith for the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance service. A thank you to the speaker was given by Ann Witham.

Attendance (see above) and Chairman’s Charity: Michael Southwell reported £72.70 had been raised towards MacMillan Cancer Support.

New Member, Brian Morris was presented with his tie.

Almoner: Andrew Kellard, reported the absences of Brian Thomas (waiting to be fit enough for dialysis), Hugh Roberts, Roger Davies (still unwell), Tony Simpson (won’t leave house) and Lionel Downton (no contact). Trevor Peck was welcomed back.

Luncheons:Andrew Kellard (still filling in for vacancy) reported two cancellations – one this morning.          

Speakers:Bob Witham reported that speakers were booked to May 2020.

Newsletter:Vincent Fosdike asked for articles from members and reminded members that a Luncheon Secretary was needed to replace Andrew.

Vacancies:Luncheon Secretary to replace Andrew Kellard. Accounts Examiner.

Raffle:Jim Mulvey officiating. £49 was raised for the Amenity Fund. No-one wanted the prunes which to roars of laughter were rejected each time – except that they eventually turned out to be dates.

Outings and Events

Historic Kent: 20th June. A few vacancies left – see Andrew Banfield.
Ladies Lunch: 17th October. Entertainment – a mandolin player. Please diarise.
Quiz: 22ndNovember, Cameron Hall. Quizmaster Dennis Evans, fish & chips(or alternative) supper. Individuals, pairs or teams welcome. Please diarise.


Today – Neil Saddler: A Policeman’s Lot – The beat goes on
July 4th– Colin Jones:  This may kill you
August 1st– Roger Gould: Dash to Marrakesh
September 5th– Jim Mulvey: Fake History

Beryl Smith: Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex

On the 2nd of May we enjoyed an introduction to the vital work of AIR AMBULANCE Kent Surrey Sussex.

Within the three counties this volunteer emergency service will fly to assist 6 people every day of the year and provides a full 24 hour cover which has kept pace with the modern practice of giving advanced medical treatment both at the scene of an incident and whilst transporting the patient to the most appropriate care centre. To achieve this standard of excellence the crew of each helicopter contains a doctor trained in one of the branches of emergency medicine and a paramedic with specifictraining in critical care. It is this background which allows a decision to be made as to the most suitable hospital for the patient to be taken to.

The decision to go to an emergency is made by a dispatcher who monitors the 2,500 calls per day received on the 999 network throughout their operational area. This job alone requires high levels of skill and dedication as when a decision is made to “scramble” two pilots are used on every flightin addition to the medical team and the average cost of each “sortie” is £3,700.

As you would expect the helicopter is allowed to fly without a flight plan and is given a high degree of priority over other aircraft but of course air traffic controlmust be updated at all times which must make for some very rapid decisionsby all concerned. Incidentally the “scramble time” is normally four minutes.

The current helicopter is an AW169 which permits all round access to the patient as well as having space for equipment needed for emergency surgical procedures.

Inevitably there will be occasions when the helicopter can’t get right to the scene but is still required for rapid transport to the care centre of choice. This is addressed by using road vehicles which are also available when bad weather prevents flying altogether. The normal arrival time after call-out does not exceed 25 minutes which covers the outer margins of the areas served. 

Leisure accidents create a substantial demand as might be expected in these counties with activities such as mountain biking and horse riding being undertaken away from readily accessible road routes. These casualties greatly benefit from such a specialist service. Indeed there must have been many incidents which might have proved fatal or substantially worse if an overland attendance had been the only way to bring help. 

Unfortunately they no longer receive finance from the National Health Service and have to raise the Eleven Million pounds needed every year themselves. So as a charity they have to work very hard. 

Thanks to Beryl’s presentation we now know a little more about at least one type of helicopter that we might notice passing overhead, (it’s the blue and white one) which we hope we will not have to call but will be glad if it is needed.

Things that go bump in the night – Vincent Fosdike

I expect we all know the resting pulse rate of most people is between 60 and 72 BPM. The 60 variation coincides with the relaxing beat of a long case clock when fitted with a one yard pendulum. Indeed it is common for a person sitting relaxing within earshot of such a clock to experience a drop in heart rate to match that of the pendulum. I hope this is already setting a calm scene in your mind.

In our bedroom it is just possible to hear the steady comforting beat of the dear old family clock if it is a quiet night as it was on this occasion.

On the night in question my wife was away and I was idly listening to the clock and sensing my pulse which was indeed beginning to fall into step with the gentle plod of the old clock. It was a windless warm silent summer night. There were no sounds from the railway line, no traffic noise or animal calls. I was at the margin of sleep when the dream state is close. In humans, of the five senses the last one to shut down and the first to re-start when consciousness is lost and regained is hearing. However we tend to perceive them as simultaneous. Police officers make use of this when questioning witnesses to accidents by asking “how did you see the accident” to which an honest but naïve respondent often replies “I heard the crash”. This normally means they did not see the lead up to it but simply thought they did and then restructured the “facts” to fit the aftermath.

The point is that hearing is really the predominant sensory stimulus and can forcefully trigger our defence mechanism even in sleep producing the well- known “startle” reflex often exemplified when we suddenly discover we are not alone as we had thought, we jump!Back to the comfortable resting state on the warm summer evening at home.

If you remember I was just on the edge of sleep 60BPM vision drifting away from sight and into dream state, hearing about to shut down but never of course completely going off duty.

Suddenly my ears sounded the alarm, pulse accelerated violently as the adrenalin poured and lastly the sleepy eyes came to life in a desperate attempt to catch up with the sound threat.

In the dim light through the curtains the last fraction of movement was perceived and matched with the creaking sound of the wardrobe door opening.Then all was quiet and it seemed the door was still, but the pulse was definitely not! For an instant I awaited the emergence of a figure in the half light. Breath held whilst I tried to re-assure myself that doors can indeed swingopen when not fully latched. Our one has no spring or catch just magnets.

After a few moments the pulse was down and normality seemed close. That is until the door slowly CLOSED.

Pulse 200BPM (See next newsletter for outcome).

The Coach Trip by Norman Williams – Part 2

This time we made it to the outskirts of Deal before grinding to a halt and no amount of trying, cursing or coaxing could get the engine to start – so there we were stuck early Sunday evening by the roadside miles from home.

The driver decided to go and find a telephone in order to report to his office so some people went for a walk returning shortly to let everyone know that they had found a pub a short distance down the road .

Given the choice of sitting in the bus listening to the snores and grunts of those that had fallen asleep or going to the pub it was as they say a no brainerso a few of us (about a third of the passengers) set off in the hope of finding a decent watering hole. The premises were not yet open so we all gathered outside sitting at the benches or standing waiting for the opening time.

Jeff (who else) started to play an imaginary piano on the bench table and began to sing whilst encouraging everyone else to join in whereupon a head popped out of an upstairs window and a lady shouted “We will not be long I just have to get my husband out of the bath”. We were told later that Sundaynights were a quiet time and that they were in no rush to open. Just as Jeff was singing “why are we waiting” a group of leather clad bikers turned up and did not seem too pleased to see a bunch of oldies making a lot of noise. However the pub opened and we all filed in with the landlord and his wife coping well with the crowd. There was an assortment of pub games available: bar billiards, table skittles, dominoes and cards and of course darts all of which were used to challenge the bikers to a game who to their credit joined in. We drew the line at arm wrestling not wishing to upset our new friends by shaming them by winning (some chance). As the evening went on other members of our party joined us in dribs and drabs letting us know that a replacement coach was on its way together with a mechanic in a mini bus until our entire coach load were all trying to fit into a quite small area. We finished off with a sing along led by Jeff, who surprisingly had a great voice, until the replacement coach pulled up outside to take us home.

Sadly we had to leave our fantastic hosts who whilst enjoying their best ever night takings must have sighed with relief at the thought of getting back to normality as must have the local regulars who could not have been very pleased to find their local taken over by a group of outsiders.

We made it back home in good time but it was still in the early hours of Monday morning before we got to bed and for our part it was the best day / night trip that we have had.

Note: If you are or intend to arrange a day trip, try and include someone who has a knowledge of mechanics, who can entertain, sing, tell jokes, do magic tricks etc. and most important of all someone with a very good knowledge of all the pubs during the journey. You never know when they may be needed.

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