SCAS Chief Executive, Will Hancock, has joined forces with colleagues from the College of Paramedics, Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and East Midlands Ambulance Service to raise money for The Ambulance Staff Charity.
Completing the fastest zipline in the world and climbing Mount Snowdon at night might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but for Anna Parry, Kerry Gulliver, Tracy Nicholls and Will Hancock, they are hoping there will be plenty of laughs along the way when they take part in the tough Ultimate Fundraising Challenge to raise money for The Ambulance Service Charity – TASC – on 17 July, 2021.
Will, has been joined by Anna, who is the Deputy Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE), Kerry, the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at East Midlands Ambulance Service, and Tracy, the CEO of the College of Paramedics, and they have decided to team up to raise £5,000 for TASC which helps care for the mental, physical and financial wellbeing of the UK’s ambulance community.
Tracey said: “When I came up with this challenge it honestly seemed like a good idea in my head but now that it’s just over three months away the thought of the zip wire is absolutely terrifying me. It doesn’t help that my fitness isn’t the best. I walk my dogs a couple of miles a day but I’m really going to have to do more than that if I have any hope of completing this challenge. That’s why I’m keen to hear from any kind ambulance folk who can give me any good tips or advice on how best to train.”
She added: “To say this challenge is outside the norm for me is an understatement but I’m determined to see it through and raise as much money as we can. I have been a lifelong member of the ambulance family and have lost friends and colleagues during the pandemic. But more than that, there seems to be literally nowhere else for our profession to go when they need help, except for TASC. How can you do a job like this, at a time like this, and not be affected? TASC do an amazing job at helping but I know how fragile funding streams can be so anything we can do to assist is important.”
On 17 July, the foursome will step out of their comfort zones to take on Velocity, the fastest zipline in the world. Travelling at speeds of over 100mph, this adrenalin-inducing challenge has been described as the ‘nearest thing to flying’ as participants soar over Penrhyn Quarry and get to experience spectacular views of the North Wales coastline and beyond.
But the excitement doesn’t end there. Later that evening, they will be lacing up their walking boots, turning on their torches and trekking up 3560ft to the top of Mount Snowdon – the highest mountain in England and Wales – in a bid to raise much-needed funds for TASC.
Anna Parry said: “I’ve actually climbed Snowdonia before but in daylight. For me, the toughest part of this challenge is going to be facing my fear – the zip wire. The closest I’ve ever come to anything like this is when I did a tandem sky-dive in Australia in my 20s which I loved….until my parachute failed to open. Fortunately, the reserve did!
“I’m hoping the zipline won’t be so nerve-wracking, but even if it is I knew I had to be involved in this challenge because ambulance service staff have done such a tremendous job over the last 12 months, as they always do. This is an opportunity to give a little back and support TASC in the great work they do for the sector, alongside trusts, in ensuring staff are able to access the mental health and wellbeing resources they might need.”
Will Hancock agrees. He explained: “This ticks a lot of boxes for me – a charity doing hugely important work at a time when it has never been more essential. And personally speaking, I want to encourage everyone in the ambulance sector to ask for help if they need it. We know it is the hardest step yet it is the most important. It is vital to look after people who need help and who have committed themselves to helping others.”
Kerry Gulliver says she wholeheartedly supports the work of TASC and jumped at the chance to take part in the fundraising challenge when asked. She said: “Our staff in the ambulance service do a difficult job, often under very challenging circumstances, providing care for patients when they need it most. This can have an impact on their mental health and wellbeing, which is why it is so important that we focus on doing whatever we can do to ensure that our ambulance staff can access the relevant support when they need it. TASC play a vital role in caring for the mental health and wellbeing of ambulance staff and their families, and that’s why I’m taking part in this challenge.”
As someone who has been helped enormously by TASC, ambulance technician Wayne Thomson, is delighted that the charity will benefit from the Ultimate Fundraising Challenge. He said: “Without TASC’s help I would still be suffering with my PTSD and on medication to control my moods. My family and I are so grateful to TASC, we can’t thank them enough. Helps is there, don’t suffer in silence; just ask.”
To show your support for Anna, Kerry, Tracy and Will, you can donate via their JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tracy-anna-will-kerry
About South Central Ambulance Service
- South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) provides a range of emergency, urgent care and non-emergency healthcare services, along with commercial logistics services, to the populations of the South Central region – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire – as well as non-emergency patient transport services In Surrey and Sussex, and a dental service (accessed via NHS 111) in parts of Dorset.
- SCAS now serves a population of more than seven million people and employs more than 4,000 staff who, together with 965 volunteer community and co-responders, enable the organisation to attend more than 555,000 incidents via 999, handle 1.24 million calls to NHS 111 and make 866,000 patient transport service journeys each year.
- SCAS is a foundation trust, which means it has thousands of members and a Council of Governors which form an integral part of the governance structure of the Trust. Being a foundation trust means there are more opportunities for patients and their families, staff and local residents to play a part in the future of the organisation. Find out more here: scas.nhs.uk/get-involved/
- South Central Ambulance Charity raises funds to support SCAS. All the money raised by the charity is used to enhance services, projects and equipment across the Trust. The Charity works across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire as well as supporting patient transport services In Surrey and Sussex. Find out more here: charity
The Ambulance Staff Charity is the leading UK charity working to support the mental, physical and financial wellbeing of current and retired ambulance staff, their family members, ambulance service volunteers and paramedic science students. TASC understands the challenges facing all members of the ambulance services and offers psychological rehabilitation and counselling, a stress and PTSD programme, physical rehabilitation, financial grant, bereavement and other welfare support. For further information please go to www.theasc.org.uk
About the College of Paramedics
The College of Paramedics is the professional body for all paramedics in the UK, whose role is to promote and develop the paramedic profession across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Membership is open to all UK paramedics, student paramedics and anyone with an interest in the paramedic profession and healthcare delivery. All members have access to a wide variety of learning resources which provide high quality continuing professional development (CPD) across a range of platforms and also at many events held around the UK. For further information please go to www.collegeofparamedics.co.uk
The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) provides ambulance services with a central organisation that supports , co-ordinates and implements nationally agreed policy. It also provides the general public and other stakeholders with a central resource of information about NHS ambulance services. Whether for patient care, operational policy or emergency preparedness, the Association exists to support its members and to act as the interface between them and their stakeholders. It provides a structure to co-ordinate, manage and implement key national work programmes and policy and the development of patient care. For further information please go to https://aace.org.uk/