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Surviving sister's brave lifesaving legacy

Surviving sister's brave lifesaving legacy

PHOTO CAPTION: Louise Cade and Magpas Air Ambulance Dr Andy Lindsay talk about road safety at The Duke of Bedford School assembly

It was around 3:30pm on 21st January 1994; Louise Cade and her sister Sally Cade and were coming home on the School bus, on what felt like just another normal school day. At the time, the family were living just outside Thorney near Peterborough. Six year old Sally and eight year old Louise got off the bus and waited for it to pull away. They held hands, looked both ways and were crossing the road when a car - seemingly out of nowhere - collided with them at high speed. Louise’s family will never forget the sound of the loud bang the car made on impact.

Louise explains, “My mum got to us as soon as she could. My sister Sally and I were lying in the road. My mother says Sally was smiling at her, whilst I was unconscious. She remembers noticing Sally had fluid coming out of her ear and she knew then it wasn’t a good sign.”

Back in the 1990’s, doctors from around the Eastern Region volunteered their own time with Magpas Air Ambulance and as result; Dr Richards, Dr Knights and Dr Jackson (who all worked at Thorney Surgery) were called out to Sally and Louise. They did everything they could to save the sisters’ lives - in what had become truly devastating circumstances. Sally was first to be taken to hospital in an ambulance (with a police escort), shortly followed by Louise, with the Magpas Doctors on board. Sally died several times en route, as did Louise, but the Magpas doctors repeatedly brought them back to life.

Once at the hospital, Sally and Louise were next to each other in the ICU being treated. Louise explains, “Sally was on a ventilator but sadly died from head trauma and organ failure on the 23rd January.”

Louise had to have gravel sucked out of her lungs (one of which collapsed), she suffered a serious head injury and multiple broken bones, as well as a stroke. She says, “My family tells me I died several times and was not expected to survive. The last time I died, everyone thought I had gone when suddenly I came back - gasping for air, trying to rip the ventilator tubes out of me.”

Her parents were told she would probably not walk and talk again, but Louise was determined to get back to normal. At Sally’s funeral, the family asked only for donations to be made to Magpas Air Ambulance and fundraised for a defibrillator for the charity to use. Not long after, the same Magpas Doctors were called out to another little girl called Rebekah; the defibrillator bought by Louise’s family, was used by Magpas to save her life that day.

Louise has since lost most of her memory of what life was like before the accident. She explains, “It’s really upsetting I can’t remember much about my best friend who I miss dearly - but the motivation, determination and strength to live on has made me the person I am today.” Louise, who is 31, now feels ready to tell her story for the first time. She wants the memory of her sister Sally to live on, by raising awareness for Magpas Air Ambulance who came to her rescue all those years ago. As a result, Louise is teaming up with Magpas former patient Rebekah’s mum - to take part in the Magpas annual skydive this July.

Louise sums up why she’s embarking on such a courageous fundraising venture after everything she’s been through, “My sister means a great deal to me and, like Rebekah and her mum, I want to thank the charity that did so much for me on that terrible afternoon.” Louise continues, “Magpas Air Ambulance trains senior doctors and paramedics, from all around the UK, to bring the hospital to patients in life-threatening situations. I want to gather as many sponsors as I can and help Magpas Air Ambulance give more lifesaving care to others in their time of need.” The link to Louise’s fundraising page is: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JumpingwithSally

Recently, Louise went back to The Duke of Bedford School to talk at the school assembly. Louise told her story, raising awareness about road safety and about the crucial lifesaving care Magpas Air Ambulance delivers, by land and air, in the East of England and beyond. She summed up why this moment was so important to her, “I just want the children to take on the message of road safety and stay safe. I hope the children will take this on board and tell their parents - so that they can be more aware of children on the road. I want to inspire other people with my story.”

Louise was also joined by Magpas Dr Andy Lindsay. He explained how Magpas Air Ambulance offers pioneering training to doctors and paramedics wishing to specialise in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM), for which the charity is renowned in the medical world. He also summarised how he felt about being part of the gathering, “It’s wonderful to see Louise looking so well. Spreading the word about road safety to young children is an incredible investment of our time. It’s great to capture their attention and a real privilege to talk to them”.

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Cambridgeshire MP goes orange for London Marathon

Cambridgeshire MP goes orange for London Marathon

PHOTO CAPTIONS (left to right):
Magpas Air Ambulance Pilot Andy Figg with Conservative MP for Huntingdon Jonathan Djanogly and Magpas Helicopter Crewmember Rob Davies

Despite promising himself he would never embark on another marathon again, MP for Huntingdon Jonathan Djanogly, has decided Magpas Air Ambulance is a crucial enough cause to change his mind. When Mr Djanogly heard Magpas is also making plans for a new operations base move, from RAF Wyton, there was definitely no turning back for him! Hence, Mr Djanogly has signed up for this year’s London Marathon; in aid of the charity that trains experienced emergency medical doctors and paramedics, to bring hospital level care by land and air, to patients in life-threatening emergencies.

As a regular runner at the weekends, the Cambridgeshire based MP is used to fitting exercise into his routine - as well as practising martial arts. When he visited the current Magpas Air Ambulance Operations Base (sporting Magpas orange laces in his running shoes), he summed up why Magpas had motivated him to train for the gruelling 26.2 mile mission on the 23rd April. He said, “Magpas Air Ambulance is an excellent local charity run by exceptional people whose specialist skills save lives. They provide vital support to the work of our local emergency services and we must never forget the dedication of the highly trained doctors and paramedics involved”.

Mr Djanogly encouraged as many people as possible to support Magpas Air Ambulance by adding, “The organisation has responded to countless serious accidents and emergencies since its creation. Purely relying on donations and fundraising it needs help to continue providing its lifesaving service. I am running the London marathon in aid of Magpas because the charity is there for people who are in desperate need - and in return we should all do what we can to give our support.”

Jonathan’s Just Giving page is: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jonathan-Djanogly1


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Flying high - oh to be an air ambulance pilot!

Flying high - oh to be an air ambulance pilot!

Photo caption (from left to right):
Magpas Air Ambulance Chief Pilot Captain Richard Eastwood and Helicopter Crewmember Rob Davies - photo courtesy of Digital Photography by Rob Holding

What’s it like to fly a helicopter and how does anyone get into the job of being an air ambulance pilot anyway? Magpas Air Ambulance Chief Pilot Captain Richard Eastwood is used to being asked those sorts of questions, having flown helicopters for 19 years. He explains, “From a child, I thought the whole idea of flying was pretty extraordinary, so I joined the Navy, where I served for 14 years. I travelled the world and flew helicopters and conventional aeroplanes. I enjoyed helicopter flying more; you could take off from your back garden and within minutes you can be heading for your destination - and you don’t need a runway”.

There’s a strong parallel between the Navy and the air ambulance world when it comes to the need for urgent and rapid response. When asked why he opted to work for Magpas Air Ambulance seven years ago, Richard answers that it was about more than just a job, “I don’t clock in, do my hours and go home. I want to do something that’s of real value. It’s about feeling passionately about the lifesaving cause and knowing I can use my skills to help someone who’s in a traumatic circumstance”.

Safety is what matters most at all times as the Magpas Air Ambulance Chief Pilot. Captain Eastwood describes how his main priority is to balance the speed of response with the safety of the aircraft and the people on the ground, so that no one can be in danger. “Quick thinking is the key. I need to make sure there aren’t any potential risks. It’s about thinking on my toes. Yes, it can be a stressful environment at times, but that’s why you’ll find air ambulance pilots are often ex-military pilots, because they’re acclimatised to making safety and operational decisions in seconds”.

Richard highlights the weather as being amongst one of the biggest and most changeable challenges on a day-to-day basis, “That sums it up really; every day is a different day, which is one of the attractive elements of doing what I do. You never know where you’re going to land from one moment to the next, or who the welcoming committee might turn out to be when we land. Sometimes it’s a smiling face with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, other days it can be a vicious dog”.

How does he deal with being faced with some of the most traumatic incidents, he and the Magpas Air Ambulance enhanced medical team are called out to? His answer is simple, “I focus on the job. But the ones that get to me are the incidents involving drink drivers, or someone texting behind the wheel. It reminds me how fragile life can be”.

And the answer to the six million dollar question about what it’s like to fly the Magpas Air Ambulance? Captain Eastwood smiles and sums it up by saying, “It’s like being on a magic carpet you’re in control of! Think of anywhere you’d like to be, if you can get a helicopter there, you can go anywhere!”

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Work experience students tell us why they loved being at Magpas!

Work experience students tell us why they loved being at Magpas!

Recently, we were delighted to welcome two work experience students from the St Ivo School in St Ives and one from Swavesey Village College into the fundraising department for two weeks.

Our three students, Lucy, Lily and Lucy, were all fantastic and got stuck in with a number of varied tasks and although they were primarily assisting within the fundraising department, they also helped elsewhere around the charity.

These tasks including helping update and maintain our database, creating thank you letters and posters for our supporters and many more besides. They helped out at a fundraising event, and also helped out with a stock take at our Air Ambulance base and even helped the weekly task of cleaning the helicopter!

We asked for the three girls to write a paragraph explaining their experiences with us:

“Hello my name is Lucy, I am in year 10 at St Ivo school, I study Art, Computing, History, Resistant Materials and also the core subjects. I have a big interest in Art and in the future I would like to link my art into my job, doing work experience at Magpas was a great choice, the staff here are very welcoming, the building feels like a home and the place has a very enthusiastic atmosphere. At Magpas I was assigned various jobs including, inputting information into the Database, sorting the medical equipment and labelling it at the base and also helping the staff in the office with various jobs like sorting, paperwork, helping with various office jobs to keep the charity running. Magpas wasn’t just all the continuous amount of jobs it had its enjoyable parts as well, seeing the team getting ready for a call out at the base, doing small interesting jobs for the staff here. Another reason why I chose to do Magpas for my work experience was because I saw there was going to be work in a shop situation and selling products for a business which I am interested in doing in the future.”

“My name is Lily Steward-Brown and I go to St Ivo School and I’m currently in Year 10. I am doing Art, Geography, Film and Media Studies and French for my GCSE’s and I hope to take Law, Art and Chemistry in Sixth Form. I chose Magpas Air Ambulance for my work experience because my auntie is Head of Operations and I have grown up attending events with Magpas. I have enjoyed my time at Magpas and it has helped me learn a lot about the charity and who it takes to run it, I was amazed at all the hard work put in and skills everyone has.

The types of jobs we did were very varied and we didn’t do the same thing every day. At the base in Wyton, we did stock checks for all the necessary equipment for the Doctors and Paramedics. At Headquarters in Huntingdon, we helped do a lot of jobs that were very important to the fundraising department. We helped run totals and counting the collection tins of events that we went to, which we then filled out a donation form for.

I have really enjoyed my time at Magpas and I hope to volunteer in the future. I have learnt a lot about the charity and the roles and people it takes to keep it up and running, I have also learnt about what kind of job I would like in the future.”

“My name is Lucy Slade and I am in year 10 at Swavesey Village College. I take GCSE sport, spanish, history and geography and I would love to take psychology and sociology in college. I have really enjoyed my work experience placement with Magpas Air Ambulance because it has helped me get a clearer idea of what I would like to do when I am older. I felt like I was doing something beneficial for the charity as there are many different jobs that need to be done that I was able to help with. For example, at the Wyton base we did stock checks for the medical equipment and filled in order forms for any required equipment, I also updated the necessary information on their database. At the HQ in Huntingdon we helped organise the charity stall, as well as counting money from collection tins from events that we have attended. The things I have enjoyed most about work experience is going to events and collecting donations and being able to watch the doctors and paramedics during their training or even going off to accidents. I didn’t realise how many different and important roles there were within the charity and doing work experience at Magas has helped me realise how people can help in such a variety of ways”

All three girls were a create to their schools and did a wonderful job whilst with us on their work experience, so a huge thank you to Lucy P, Lily and Lucy S for all their hard work.

We are always on the lookout for work experience helpers to come in and learn from and assist in the Fundraising Department. If this may be of interest to you please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

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A busy month of fundraising!

A busy month of fundraising!

We have had many, many exciting and varied fundraising events and supporter engagement over the last few weeks.

Gibbs Denley Insurances Services are celebrating their 25th anniversary and chose Magpas as their charity of the year. To celebrate these two things, they put on a sponsored static cycle ride to cover the distance between there three offices in Swavesey, Bury St Edmunds and Chelmsford – some 80 miles. The 80 miles also covered the distance of previous Magpas incidents, so ever mile they cycled was the route that our emergency team had done. This was a great motivational tool and a way to learn about some of our former patients’ and the varied incidents that our team undertake.
Gibbs Denley have raised nearly £600 and their Just Giving page is still open: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cycle-for-magpas

We went to visit the children at the Sunflower seed pre-school near Peterborough to tell them all about Magpas Air Ambulance and to show them some of our equipment and support car. The school are longtime supporters of Magpas, and even have their own dedication wall full of lovely pictures and drawings of our helicopter. The children asked lots of questions and engaged in learning all about our lifesaving service

Over at Sibson Airfield lots of Magpas supporters jumped out of a plane and skydived all in aid of Magpas!
A whole host of brave (foolhardy?) Magpas supporters skydived in slightly windy, but sunny conditions. Our incredible jumpers were Jenny Luckett, raising £175, Alex Davenport raising £690, Dave Moore raising £3,640 and Lauren Payne raising £350. Our other jumper was Dudley who completed his jump on his Golden Wedding Anniversary! Dudley was inspired to jump after hearing a talk at his local Rotary club by Magpas and signed up immediately after!

We welcomed new supporters from The Animal Experience team to the base who are proud supporters of Magpas Air Ambulance. Thanks for coming Hazel, Kayleigh, Lee and little Charlie.

Finally, the staff at Waitrose Cambridge cycled 335 miles over 23 hours from Cambridge to Paris, on one static bike. The team took over the foyer, created t-shirts and posters, as well as making cupcakes and along with generous donations from the public, raised an incredible £1,613.95.

We would like to thank all our fantastic fundraisers and supporters for the varied, diverse, and inspirational fundraising that they have done for Magpas Air Ambulance.


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