The Cornish Air Ambulance ( CAA ) Gala Dinner in aid of the ‘New Heli Appeal’ was held last month at the historic Corinthia Hotel in London.
Honoured Speakers and guests arrived, glancing upwards at the magnificent, 1,001 crystal baccarat chandelier shimmering from above. This hotel was offices of the Government Secret Service Personnel during World War Two. They, in a different way, were rescuers and life savers like the CAA, when they helped prisoners of war escape and avoid capture.
Many people visit Cornwall, especially in the summer. A sudden, serious accident happens…….Then comes shock and suffering…… Family and friends are involved. Rescue comes in the form of a CAA helicopter. Try to imagine a patient’s feelings when seeing a shimmering, speeding helicopter in the skies.
Rescue is a special moment, arrested in time, speed is crucial to survival.
A spirit of Philanthropy and caring prevailed at the Gala evening. Generous gifts were made at the silent auction. Paul Ainsworth was Celebrity Chef Host and he brought ‘Cornwall to the Corinthia Hotel’ The menu included Cornish beef ( not corned beef! ) and chocolate pudding were delicious. Paul has worked for famous chefs in London, Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay. He opened his own restaurant, Paul Ainsworth at No. 6, in Padstow.
He also owns the Mariners’ at Rock.
Andy Taylor White was Master of Ceremonies and the following were Guest Speakers.
Barbara Sharples, Trustee and Chair of the ‘New Heli Appeal’, spoke of the service provided by the critical care team of the CAA and emphasised how a bigger, faster helicopter ( the AW 169 ) would be an advantage. She spoke of her grandson who possibly lost his life because the helicopter could not carry his medical equipment on the way to hospital.
Steve Garvey, Air Operations Officer. leads the team of paramedics at CAA, also referred to the difference the AW 169 would make. He referred to its extra fuel capacity which would save time on refuelling back at base. Also it offers 360 degree access to the patient within, presently the patient can only be accessed from one side. During a conversation earlier in the evening, he spoke to me of the long training needed for his job and the challenges. He said that seeing the joy and relief of the family when rescue comes is the greatest reward of all.
Emma Ainsworth, Paul’s wife, An Ambassador for ‘The New Heli Appeal’ said she was inspired to help this cause after visiting the CAA. She and Paul raise thousands of £££’s at their restaurant. She said that Paul and I have always felt success should go hand in hand with humility.
Paula Martin, Chief Executor of the CAA, thanked the sponsors for their generous support and all those who are helping CAA. She too, stressed the importance of a new helicopter.
I enjoyed meeting Dr Karen Dickens, a truly active philanthropist and a major supporter of the CAA. She grew up in Cornwall, has a Ph.D in Physical Organic Chemistry which led to prestigious positions in Esso Petroleum and the Exxo-Mobil Merger which involved her in the Synergy fuels programme. Karen is committed to continuing support for the CAA from her new company, Comitti UK and Caribbean and she has just secured the dealership for Comitti bespoke Italian power boats. This company supported the Rick Stein and Sherree Valentine-Dainton summer event at Clarendon Fine Art, Mayfair. It raised £75,000.
The Cornish Air Ambulance Trust (CAAT) is the charity that fund raises to operate the CAA. There are about 800 emergency calls a year. It receives no national or direct government funding.
Will Young sang for us at this memorable evening in the Corinthia Hotel, an evening which opened our minds to this splendid charity which brings rescue to people when they are at their most vulnerable.
Tel: 01637 8899 26