Patient meets lifesaving crew

PUBLISHED: 13:34 11 January 2007 | UPDATED: 21:30 29 May 2010

From left, Jane Lambert, Dave Surtees, Steven Patient, Robbie Robinson, Peter Thornton and Jean Twin - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

From left, Jane Lambert, Dave Surtees, Steven Patient, Robbie Robinson, Peter Thornton and Jean Twin - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

A MARRIED father-of-two whose life was saved by the Essex Air Ambulance has said thank you by donating a van to the charity on Wednesday. Steven Patient, 32, from Rawreth Lane, Rayleigh, handed over the Ford Connect van at a ceremony at Boreham Airfield t

A MARRIED father-of-two whose life was saved by the Essex Air Ambulance has said thank you by donating a van to the charity on Wednesday.

Steven Patient, 32, from Rawreth Lane, Rayleigh, handed over the Ford Connect van at a ceremony at Boreham Airfield that reunited him with the Essex Air Ambulance (EAA) team who saved his life following a horrific boating accident in 2005.

"Without these guys, I wouldn't be alive today," said Mr Patient. "This is a very emotional occasion for me to meet the crew again.

Mr Patient got talking to some of the EAA people at a fundraising event and was told that they needed someone to supply a van because their previous supplier could no longer provide one.

"I realised this was something I could help them with," said Mr Patient. "I am delighted that my employer, Dagenham Motors, recognises the critical service the Air Ambulance provides to the county and is able to support them with the donation of a promotional van."

The company has paid for all of the sign writing, tax, and the maintenance of the vehicle for the coming years.

Jane Lambert, general manager of the charity, said "We are very grateful to Dagenham Motors for their generosity".

Pam Withrington, press officer with the EAA, said: "This van is really crucial for us. We have been trying to get another van like this for months. Without a van it was proving very difficult for us. It will make our lives much easier and we will use it to carry all of our promotional equipment, collecting tins, tables and banners."

In July 2005, Mr Patient was out at sea in West Mersea when he fell overboard and was hit by the boat's propeller that broke his femur in half.

It also partially severed his kneecap and put three severe wounds down his leg leaving it so badly cut it was attached only by skin and a little bit of hamstring.

He was pulled onboard and was rushed ashore where the Essex Air Ambulance was called. Mr Patient remained conscious throughout the ordeal.

But luckily the helicopter was travelling back from Bradwell and got to West Mersea in six minutes from the call being made and 18 minutes after the accident, they had landed at Colchester General.

"And that short time in getting me to the hospital is why I didn't die," said Mr Patient.

"I then had another stroke of luck because David Moore, one of the best lower limb specialists in the country had just come on duty and he operated on me for seven hours," he added.

The Essex Air Ambulance Trust needs in excess of £105,000 each month to keep the helicopter fully operational.

To volunteer or support the trust call 01787 221 828.

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