Motor racing legend John Surtees is to see his son Henry’s name live on with the funding by his memorial foundation of a life-saving blood transfusion service for trauma victims.
For the first time outside of London, the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance will carry blood for emergency transfusions at the scene of accidents, thanks to funding by the Henry Surtees Foundation.
Henry, who was a pupil at Worth School, near Turners Hill, died tragically in July, 2009, aged just 18, in a freak Formula 2 accident at Brands Hatch when he was hit by a wheel that flew off another competitor’s car.
Following in the footsteps of his father, who is still the only person to have won World Championships in both Grand Prix Motorcycling and Formula 1, Henry was tipped for greatness. He was the fastest British driver in his category, and had finished third in a first race the day before he was killed.
Now, the Henry Surtees Foundation, which was set up by John Surtees, OBE, in memory of his son, has made it possible for emergency blood transfusions to take place at the scene of medical emergencies.
On behalf of the foundation, John handed over a cheque for £25,000 on Monday, to air ambulance chief executive Adrian Bell at its Marden air base for the purchase of all the equipment needed for the facilitate on board the charity’s two helicopters.
In addition, the money will fund two Honda CRV cars for blood transportation by SERV (Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers) from East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent.
The service by the three charities also once again brings together the name of John Surtees and Honda, who he drove for in the late 1960s.
John said: “I am very grateful to all of those who have helped the Henry Surtees Foundation provide the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance with blood transfusion equipment and the Honda vehicles to transport the blood. The speedy delivery of this new service to the scene of an emergency will help save lives and injury.”
Until now, the Air Ambulance has only been able to replace lost body fluids with a saline solution. Henry Surtees himself was flown by air ambulance to hospital but died later.
Adrian Bell described the new service as “a very exciting development”. He said: “It is a major step forward for the charity in the way we look after the patient and give them the best-possible service.”
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