Welwyn Garden City department store worker has 'inspiring' secondment with air ambulance service

PUBLISHED: 06:59 31 October 2019

EHAAT fundraising manager Natasha Robertson, Dan Hamley from John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, EHAAT clinical manager Ben Myer and fundraising coordinator Jeannie Phillip. Picture: EHAAT

EHAAT fundraising manager Natasha Robertson, Dan Hamley from John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, EHAAT clinical manager Ben Myer and fundraising coordinator Jeannie Phillip. Picture: EHAAT

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A store worker at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City learnt how paramedics save lives on a three-month secondment with Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).

Dan Hamley, who works at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, went on a three-month secondment with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service. Picture: EHAATDan Hamley, who works at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, went on a three-month secondment with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service. Picture: EHAAT

A store worker at John Lewis in WGC learnt how paramedics save lives on a three-month secondment with Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT).

Dan Hamley, who normally spends his days serving customers at John Lewis in Bridge Road, said he knew little about the air ambulance charity before starting his secondment.

He said: "I didn't know much about EHAAT other than it existed. I didn't realise they depend on public donations.

"The service is provided free of charge but, unlike NHS emergency services, the charity receives no direct funding from the government or National Lottery.

Dan Hamley, who works at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, went on a three-month secondment with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service. Picture: EHAATDan Hamley, who works at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, went on a three-month secondment with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service. Picture: EHAAT

"It costs in excess of £750,000 every month to keep the service operational and cover all charitable costs."

During his secondment, Dan is working as EHAAT's schools ambassador based at Little Hadham, near Ware, which he described as "very rewarding".

"It's an amazing organisation to work for, and I'm really enjoying the experience," Dan said. "They talk about being part of the EHAAT family, and it really does feel like that.

"It's a group of people with a common purpose - bringing the best possible care to people on the worst day of their lives. It's a privilege to be part of that and get a glimpse into the incredible work of the charity's critical care teams and fundraising staff."

Dan Hamley, who works at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, went on a three-month secondment with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service. Picture: EHAATDan Hamley, who works at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City, went on a three-month secondment with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Service. Picture: EHAAT

Dan pointed to "inspiring and eye-opening" patient stories - including Kate Oliver from WGC, who received life-changing injuries following a car crash, and Charlotte Smith, a toddler from Hitchin who was saved by EHAAT after choking at nursery earlier this year.

He said: "The critical care teams are amazing. When I was at one of the airbases during my induction day the team had just returned from dealing with a cardiac arrest. Even so, they had all the time in the world for us.

"They want to answer your questions so that you can pass that information on to other people. I could talk to them all day!

"Their work is so interesting and I love hearing about how all the equipment and the helicopter works."

As schools ambassador, Dan has been making contact with schools across Herts to let them know about EHAAT, and giving assemblies about the charity's work.

In the assemblies, he talks to pupils about the day-to-day running of the organisation and what the crews do, helping the children to realise how much support the charity needs.

Speaking about the responses from pupils, Dan said: "Some think the helicopter flies around looking for sick people rather than being called out.

"I love the questions I get, especially when some of the younger ones ask something that is completely random. One little girl asked me if we were like a dentist!

"When you ask them to guess the cost of the helicopter (£6.5 million) or the average cost of a mission (£2,200), they are often very low. When I tell them the answer there is often a hubbub in the room."

The secondment came about thanks to the John Lewis Golden Jubilee Trust - which offers staff opportunities with the store's charity partners.

He said: "The role here was suggested to me, and I liked the idea of going out to people and sharing knowledge. It's given me a fantastic opportunity.

"John Lewis realises there are other things out there and they want partners to progress and develop. I like learning new things, and this has been a great way of doing that."

Dan also explained the impact his role at EHAAT has had on him, saying: "I've heard some of the patient stories and that is inspiring. We've had people applying to do the London Marathon for EHAAT, and I've been lucky enough to hear some of their reasons for taking part, which was quite emotional.

"It's amazing how many people have a connection with the charity, and you don't realise that until you work here.

"I don't think this will be the end of my relationship with EHAAT, I will definitely think about becoming a volunteer and helping out in future."

EHAAT fundraising manager Natasha Robertson said: "I must say a huge thank you to the John Lewis Golden Jubilee Trust for making this possible.

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"Dan has been a real asset to the charity, and made a huge difference to us in a short time.

"We will continue to feel the benefit of the relationships he has established with schools for a very long time to come."Dan Hamley, who normally spends his days serving customers at John Lewis in Bridge Road, said he knew little about the air ambulance charity before starting his secondment.

He said: "I didn't know much about EHAAT other than it existed. I didn't realise they depend on public donations.

"The service is provided free of charge but, unlike NHS emergency services, the charity receives no direct funding from the government or National Lottery.

"It costs in excess of £750,000 every month to keep the service operational and cover all charitable costs."

During his secondment, Dan is working as EHAAT's schools ambassador based at Little Hadham, near Ware, which he described as "very rewarding".

"It's an amazing organisation to work for, and I'm really enjoying the experience," Dan said. "They talk about being part of the EHAAT family, and it really does feel like that.

"It's a group of people with a common purpose - bringing the best possible care to people on the worst day of their lives. It's a privilege to be part of that and get a glimpse into the incredible work of the charity's critical care teams and fundraising staff."

Dan pointed to "inspiring and eye-opening" patient stories - including Kate Oliver from WGC, who received life-changing injuries following a car crash, and Charlotte Smith, a toddler from Hitchin who was saved by EHAAT after choking at nursery earlier this year.

He said: "The critical care teams are amazing. When I was at one of the airbases during my induction day the team had just returned from dealing with a cardiac arrest. Even so, they had all the time in the world for us.

"They want to answer your questions so that you can pass that information on to other people. I could talk to them all day!

"Their work is so interesting and I love hearing about how all the equipment and the helicopter works."

As schools ambassador, Dan has been making contact with schools across Herts to let them know about EHAAT, and giving assemblies about the charity's work.

In the assemblies, he talks to pupils about the day-to-day running of the organisation and what the crews do, helping the children to realise how much support the charity needs.

Speaking about the responses from pupils, Dan said: "Some think the helicopter flies around looking for sick people rather than being called out.

"I love the questions I get, especially when some of the younger ones ask something that is completely random. One little girl asked me if we were like a dentist!

"When you ask them to guess the cost of the helicopter (£6.5 million) or the average cost of a mission (£2,200), they are often very low. When I tell them the answer there is often a hubbub in the room."

The secondment came about thanks to the John Lewis Golden Jubilee Trust - which offers staff opportunities with the store's charity partners.

He said: "The role here was suggested to me, and I liked the idea of going out to people and sharing knowledge. It's given me a fantastic opportunity.

"John Lewis realises there are other things out there and they want partners to progress and develop. I like learning new things, and this has been a great way of doing that."

Dan also explained the impact his role at EHAAT has had on him, saying: "I've heard some of the patient stories and that is inspiring. We've had people applying to do the London Marathon for EHAAT, and I've been lucky enough to hear some of their reasons for taking part, which was quite emotional.

"It's amazing how many people have a connection with the charity, and you don't realise that until you work here.

"I don't think this will be the end of my relationship with EHAAT, I will definitely think about becoming a volunteer and helping out in future."

EHAAT fundraising manager Natasha Robertson said: "I must say a huge thank you to the John Lewis Golden Jubilee Trust for making this possible.

"Dan has been a real asset to the charity, and made a huge difference to us in a short time.

"We will continue to feel the benefit of the relationships he has established with schools for a very long time to come."

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