A STRATTON grandfather has paid tribute to the paramedics and air ambulance doctors who saved his life.

Now, 53-year-old Joe-Joe Joyce is hoping to raise at least £3,000 for Great Western Air Ambulance. The charity’s emergency helicopter airlifted him from his home near the Rat Trap pub, Stratton, to Southmead Hospital in Bristol for treatment in August last year.

“In my eyes they saved my life,” said Joe-Joe.

“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here speaking to you. I owe my life to them.

“You never know when you’re going to need their services.”

For Joe-Joe, August 12, 2018, was the first time he had ever called upon the air ambulance.

It was a Sunday and the grandfather-of-two was alone at his home off Highworth Road, near Stratton fire station.

To this day, he cannot remember the precise circumstances. He presumes he took a tumble down a steep flight of stairs.

He said: “I remember being down at the bottom of the stairs and ringing my daughter, Kayleigh. The next thing I remember is coming round in the hospital.”

Kayleigh Joyce, 30, from Oakhurst, remembered speaking to her dad that day: “The more I spoke to him, the more confused he sounded.”

Both Kayleigh and Joe-Joe’s partner, Anna Galbin, scrambled to the house. “It was horrific,” said Anna, 55. “I was at work when Kayleigh called me to say her dad had fallen down the stairs. She said, ‘Anna, you need to get home. My dad’s not right’.”

When she got home, Anna found Joe-Joe half-on and half-off the bed. His face was a pallid grey colour. “I phoned for an ambulance straightaway.”

He was experiencing seizures and fearing he may have sustained a serious internal injury, paramedics called in Great Western Air Ambulance.

A fire crew from Stratton fire station helped get the patient down the steep flight of stairs, inching him down on a spinal board gingerly using a length of rope. “The air ambulance crew was absolutely amazing. The doctor was absolutely everywhere. She was up and down assessing his whole body in seconds,” said Anna.

The doctors took the decision to intubate their patient before putting him into the lime green emergency helicopter. It took the pilots under 20 minutes to ferry him to Southmead.

Amazingly, Joe-Joe had escaped the experience relatively unscathed. His back was bruised black and blue - but he had not sustained any more serious injuries.

'We're grateful,' says heli hero

Hero heli-paramedic Vicki Brown thanked dad Joe-Joe for his support.

The specialist paramedic in critical care at Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, said: “We’re delighted to hear that Joe-Joe recovered well following his fall. 

“It’s always great to hear from patients we’ve treated and it’s especially rewarding for the team when they go on to fundraise to keep us operational. 

“We’re so grateful to Joe-Joe and his family for all their support.”

The emergency helicopter charity flew 1,887 missions last year. But only a third of call-outs resulted in the green-and-blue helicopter lifting from its base near Bristol. Paramedics attended two-thirds of the 999 calls last year in their response car.

Fundraiser - call for support

On Saturday, June 15, the family will be holding a fundraiser at the Westcott Place Working Men’s Club, Marlborough Street.

Generous businesses have already put forward raffle prizes - but the family have appealed for more prizes to help the cause.

They want to raise at least £3,000 for the Great Western Air Ambulance. The charity relies on donations and says they need to raise £3m each year to keep their helicopter in the air.

For more, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gwairambulance.