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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Air ambulance founder is honoured
Kent Air Ambulance
Helicopter ambulances have been flying in Kent for 18 years
The woman who founded the air ambulance service in Kent has had her name put on a helicopter during a ceremony held in her honour.

Kate Chivers set up the forerunner to the Kent Air Ambulance Trust in 1989.

It can reach any part of the county within 15 minutes, and has flown more than 10,000 missions in the 18 years since it first took off.

The Kate Chivers helicopter was unveiled at the trust's Marden base on Monday morning.

Ms Chivers said the service was originally called the South East Thames Air Ambulance, but "it was for Kent people, operating in Kent".

Voluntary donations

"There is just such a huge swell of feeling in the county [for it]," she said.

"We've had wonderful support and particularly in the early days in the Medway towns, because that's where we were based and people saw us every day flying over there."

The trust's 1.5m annual running costs are funded entirely through voluntary donations.

The air ambulance now carries doctors as well as paramedics.

Ms Chivers said: "That makes a huge difference to people because the doctors are able to diagnose and identify what the cause of the problem may be."

The trust said the success was down to her "courage, tenacity and conviction".

It recently led a campaign to establish a similar service for Surrey and Sussex.


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