Tuesday 8 December 2015
When Douglas Watson, General Manager of Oaks Hospital in Colchester, attended the hospital’s monthly ‘Voice of Oaks’ meeting, he had no idea that jumping out of an aeroplane was part of the committee’s agenda!
The Oaks’ Staff Satisfaction Committee meets regularly to discuss various topics including how its members can raise funds for the Hospital’s chosen charity – Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT). Having raised £970 already this year through raffles, competitions and ‘judging the tastiest cake’, the committee wanted to end the year of fundraising with a bang – so a sky dive was planned!
Douglas finally took the leap at Beccles airfield just outside of Norwich on 29 September and raised an incredible £1059.94 for the life-saving charity.
Landing from his 14,000ft fall, Douglas said: “Given my severe fear of heights and having unsuccessfully attempted to overcome this in the past with a hot air balloon ride, this has been a huge personal challenge for me.
“The sky dive was fantastic, a great experience. The free-fall was the best bit!”
Yesterday, Douglas visited the Charity’s Earls Colne airbase where he met Pre-Hospital Care Doctor Matt O’Meara, Critical Care Paramedic Adam Carr and Pilot Paul Curtis, and presented them with a cheque.
Douglas commented: “We choose to support Essex Air Ambulance, part of the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, because it is a vital life-saving charity. They provide the county with a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service which is solely funded by charitable donations.”
Clair Mitchell, Fundraising Coordinator at Essex Air Ambulance, said: “We are very grateful to the staff at Oaks Hospital for all their hard work and support in raising vital funds to keep the Essex Air Ambulance saving lives across the county. A big thank you to Douglas for facing his fears and raising such an incredible amount for us. It is only with such support from the local community and businesses that the helicopter emergency medical service can continue to be provided for the critically ill and injured of Essex, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas.”
Photo: From L-R: Pilot Paul Curtis, Pre-Hospital Care Doctor Matt O’Meara, Douglas Watson and Critical Care Paramedic Adam Carr