Essex Air Ambulance

Essex Air Ambulance

With the colder weather approaching and the icy conditions affecting our roads and our health, we want to focus on the unsung heroes from Essex Air Ambulance.

These workers and volunteers work tirelessly around the clock attending to accidents and situations from road accidents to illnesses at home. They are the quickest means of getting to hospital when every second counts in a dire situation.

Lets start with how they began

The Essex Air Ambulance charity was established and began fundraising in 1997 with the first Air Ambulance, a Bolkow 105 Db, being launched in July 1998 from New Hall School in Boreham. During the past 15 years there have been 4 aircraft in service. The first two helicopters were Bolkows with bright red livery, later to be resprayed yellow following a sponsorship deal with the AA. In May 2003 thanks to the passion and fundraising of the County, the charity was in a position to commission a new state of the art aircraft, the Eurocopter EC135 T2. Now, as of 1 June 2010 Essex Air Ambulance have a new helicopter, an MD902 Explorer, the same model as the Herts Air Ambulance also operated by Medical Aviation Services (MAS).

The helicopter is powered by 2 Pratt and Whitney 206E engines. It also has full single engine capacity allowing it to fly and land with one engine if necessary. Operating 7 days a week during dalylight hours the MD 902 Explorer takes off within 2 minutes of the emergency call being received at the airbase and is deployed on average 2-3 times each day.

Based at Earls Colne near Colchester, the helicopter is never more than eight minutes flying time from any one of the major hospitals in Essex and flies at a speed of 150 miles per hour.

It costs in the region of £480,000 per month to keep both helicopters flying and cover all charitable costs, that’s £5.8million a year. It is thanks to the generous people of Essex that we can ensure that the service continues to fly into the future.

The Air Crew


DAVID KERR-SHEPPARD - Chief Pilot

Chief Pilot David works for the Medical Aviation Services (MAS), the company responsible for supplying the Essex and Herts Air Ambulances. He served in the Royal Air Force for over 30 years, initially on the Nimrod maritime surveillance aircraft before completing helicopter pilot training on the Gazelle and Wessex. He then spent most of my time flying Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters at bases around the UK and in the Falkland Islands. David qualified as a helicopter instructor and spent 4 years instructing on the Sea King. He retired from the Royal Air Force in 2008 having worked in the strategic planning department of the MOD and in the headquarters of the US CENTCOM in Tampa, Florida. 

David is now enjoying flying the MD902 Explorer helicopter, the aircraft used in both Essex and Herts. The air ambulance role is one he has aspired to for many years and was an obvious progression from his search and rescue days. As the Chief Pilot, David works closely with the Operations Director to ensure the safe operation of the service and that we comply with the strict regulations of the Civil Aviation Authority.

NICK CLARKSON - Pilot

Having completed 7 years in the Royal Navy as a Marine Engineer and Diver, Nick left to pursue a career as an Airport Firefighter. It was here he discovered his love for Helicopter Aviation. This passion has taken Nick to the USA and Trinidad & Tobago to help gain experience for what he feels is the ultimate career; to work in a HEMS Operation such as the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust.
Nick previously worked in Police Aviation for 9 years with West Midlands Police flying their EC135 Helicopter.

MARK HOLMES - Pilot

With a flying career begining at London Southend Airport instructing on Robinson and Bell Helicopters.

Mark moved on to fly Twin Squirrel helicopters commercially. In this role Mark flew a variety of charters including photography, London Sightseeing Tours and Medivac for events such as British Touring Car Racing and Formula 1 testing at Silverstone. One of the highlights was being a member of the Olympic Broadcasting Service. Mark has worked with an international team of pilots and camera operators filming the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics.

He also say's it has always been an ambition to be a member of an air ambulance crew. Mark is now employed by Medical Aviation Services and proud to work with the professional and skilled team at Essex and Herts.

MASHHOOD QAZI - Pre-Hospital Care Doctor

Mashhood is a senior Emergency Medicine Registrar in London. He has always had keen interest in pre-hospital trauma care and after getting the job at Essex and Herts Air Ambulance service, Mashhood was very fortunate to work with one of the pioneer HEMS services in the country.

He say's "It is a privilege to come to work every day knowing that one can make a difference in outcome of severely injured patients. I am really looking forward working with EHAAT team".

Originally from Pakistan, Mashhood has been trained in Emergency Medicine in UK and is part of TA in British Army and also a keen cricketer.

AINSLEY HEYWORTH - Pre-Hospital Care Doctor



LOUISE ROSSON - Critical Care Paramedic

Louise has worked for the East of England Ambulance Service for 7 years and practiced as a registered Paramedic for 5 years. she has also worked as a station supervisor at Newmarket ambulance station. Following this Louise was very grateful and excited to get selected to be part of the team at the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Charity.

She say's "I have always wanted to have the opportunity to work on the Air Ambulance for the Charity and to widen my knowledge and skills in patient care. It is great to work for a very driven, proactive Charity and with an experienced friendly team consisting of the Doctor, Pilot and Paramedic".

ERICA LEY - Critical Care Paramedic

Having worked for the ambulance service for the past eight years Erica feels very fortunate to have been successful in her application for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service Paramedic role with the Essex and Hertfordshire Air Ambulance. Having started her career in Essex she has also worked in Suffolk, and in Cambridgeshire as part of the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART). Prior to accepting this role she was seconded to the Department of Health as part of the national HART training faculty.

Erica Say's "I love my job and I am thrilled to be part of a team who places high level patient care at the centre of its mission. I look forward to supporting the people of Essex and Hertfordshire and Charity team with its fundraising objectives".

PHILIP ALMOND - Critical Care Paramedic

It had always been a goal of Philips to join the ambulance service and he always lived in hope that he would one day become part of an Air Ambulance team! He Say's "I can safely say that being offered the Paramedic position with EHAAT team and working on the air ambulance is the highlight and pinnacle of my career".

The position gives Philip the opportunity to provide the patients the highest level of pre-hospital care available throughout the region. Philip has always been a patient focused clinician that thrives on the challenges of pre-hospital care for the sickest patients in what can be very difficult situations. The experience will also allow him to further my clinical knowledge and skills.

TONY STONE - Critical Care Paramedic

It has always been a career ambition of Tony's to become a HEMS Paramedic ever since he started my initial Paramedic education. During my training, he attended an emergency call while working on an ambulance where EHAAT were requested to assist. Tony was so impressed by the knowledge, skill and teamwork of the Doctor and Paramedic who arrived to assist us; the level of pre-hospital care provided was excellent. It was after this that he decided he would love to be part of the EHAAT team.

Receiving the call to say he was going to be a Critical Care Paramedic with the EHAAT team was the proudest moment of his career, and he is sure that there will be many more proud moments during my time here. Tony is full of pride having been selected to work for such a friendly, dedicated and supportive team and great organization.

SIMON PROBERT - Critical Care Paramedic

Joining the EHAAT team as a HEMS Critical Care Paramedic is a great privilege and is definitely the pinnacle of my career. Simon's interest in working with the Air Ambulance service began while he was studying at University and was working with the HEMS team of his previous trust in London. The challenge of working in such a high pressure environment and to be able to work with and learn from such experienced, knowledgeable doctors is a fantastic development opportunity for any paramedic. Simon is excited to learn and develop the extra clinical skills that come with working on an air ambulance in order to provide higher levels of care to patients, and to be able to transport them much more quickly than is possible by road.

The proudest moment of Simon's career so far was being reunited with a twelve year old and his mother after they successfully treated him for a cardiac arrest which occurred whilst he was playing tennis. The emotion on his mums face made it an immensely proud and humbling experience as this reinforces why we all do the job we do. Simon does not doubt that working with the Air Ambulance will bring many more experiences like these.

ADAM CARR - Critical Care Paramedic



JO LAMBERT - Critical Care Paramedic

Jo has been in the Ambulance Service since 2001 where she started as a Despatcher in the control room. She has been a Paramedic for the past 6 years and served most of her time in Luton. She was a supervisor in Huntingdon for a year and was then lucky enough to be selected to work as part of the HEMS team with Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. Jo always been interested in trauma and critical care so working for the team is a dream come true.

She say's "ihave acquired many new skills both through my critical care training and my aviation training. I look forward to working with the Doctors and Pilots and delivering the high quality specialist care as part of the HEMS team. As part of my role I also despatch the aircraft to scenes where a medical team is required, whilst also providing support to crews on scene".

Jo feels privileged to work with such a high standard of Pilots, Doctors and Paramedics as well as the dedicated Charity staff. She looks forward to the challenges ahead as well as continuing to help support the Charity with the amazing fundraising they do to enable the specialist medical team to deploy to patient’s that need them.

About the Air Ambulance

The Essex Helicopter is based at Earls Colne Airfield, with the Herts helicopter operating out of North Weald Airfield. The Service is operational 7 days a week from 7.00am to 9.00pm or sunset whichever occurs first.

The Trust works in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust who, according to clinical need, dispatch the helicopters from the Critical Care Desk based in the Emergency Operation Centre at Broomfield Hospital. The CCD is manned by a Critical Care Paramedic and a trained Dispatcher to ensure appropriate tasking.

The Charity provides fully equipped response vehicles for use when the aircrafts are grounded due to bad weather or require urgent unplanned maintenance. The response vehicles carry full life-saving equipment exactly like the helicopters.

Over 12,900 missions have been flown since the launch of the Essex Air Ambulance

Over 2,400 missions have been flown since the launch of the Herts Air Ambulance.

The helicopters take off within minutes of the emergency call being received at the Air Base.

Each aircraft is deployed on average 2-3 times per day. 

The helicopters are dispatched to patients with serious illness or injury caused by such incidents as traffic collisions, falls from height, heart attacks, stabbings, cardiac arrests and strokes.

Technical facts

The current model for both helicopters is a MD902 Explorer.
The helicopters are powered by 2 Pratt and Whitney engines. They also have full single engine capability allowing it to fly and land with one engine if necessary.

The helicopters fly at around 150 miles per hour (138 knots). 

Normal flight height is around 1,000 feet but the helicopters may fly as low as 500 feet over urban areas on a mission. The team can land in built up areas as well as remote countryside locations

The helicopters have the ability to access remote parts of Essex and Herts quickly. They are not affected by the ever-increasing traffic congestion on our roads and country lanes. The helicopters can also reach areas inaccessible to land vehicles including woods, beaches, docks and golf courses.

Events: Click here to see the latest events

Donations for shops: Click here to view the charity shops

Clothing Banks: Click here to view clothing banks

Contact Essex Air Ambulance: Click here to view clothing banks






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