8 Essex & Suffolk Country Link members were treated to a 3 hour visit to Earls Colne Airfield where the Essex helicopter is stationed for our local Air Ambulance.
We started with a detailed run down of how the crews operate as the helicopter had been called out on a shout just before we arrived.
The crew comprises a paramedic seconded from the ambulance service, a doctor seconded from A&E, a fully qualified pilot on the particular make and model of helicopter and a second pilot who undertakes the route information and checks the landing location whilst the pilot in command deals with clearance through air space with air traffic control.
The team aims to be airborne within 4 minutes of a shout coming through. Most areas in Essex can be reached within 20 minutes if their site.
The helicopter returned to base so we were then shown round it. We watched a moving video of how a 3 year old involved in a life threatening car accident less than half a mile from base was by sheer luck saved when the crew were returning from a call-out and had only 15 minutes daylight remaining and saw the accident as they came in to land. Their immediate response saved the little girl's life. Just one more story in the many lives they have saved for which we must all be so grateful.
As the Air Ambulance in the UK receives no funding from Government they are totally dependent on donations. We took away leaflets for gift aiding on a regular basis for such a worthy cause.
It's the time of year when country link groups have their AGM when leaders of the groups can change and ideas for the future are put forward.
Derbyshire has kept the same team and members have decided to continue to meet on the 15 of each month and the last Sunday of each month, plus other as and when.
New ideas were day trips on coaches, evening walks in the summer.
So that's what we will try and do. We hope to go to the theatre to see six the musical.
The following day we joined Staffordshire group at the Cock Inn at Hanbury the home of the largest accidental explosion in 1944. The weather was grim, to say the least, the walk and lunch and the company were all worth it, thank you, Staffordshire.
On Friday a few of us visit Nottinghamshire Peter's dinner and dance a lovely evening. Rodney danced all night, and after breakfast, we played pirate crazy golf which Maria won.
This Sunday we have been on a walk around Ashbourne which was getting ready for the Shrovetide football match due to start on Tuesday.
This game uses a leather cork ball as the goals are 3 miles apart and are both in rivers.
We walked on the Tissington Trail and chatted to fellow walkers before returning to the tea room for lunch and a programme chat.
We returned home after a lovely day. In the aftermath of storm Denis
Looking forward to the barn dance on Saturday night.
Even storm Ciara will not stop some of us venturing out and braving the elements.
We were being careful and watching the weather closely and we did have a small window of better weather to take our walk in.
We kept the walk short and stayed on tarmac roads.
Beforehand we again enjoyed a very good Sunday lunch at the Hawkins Arms in Probus which is situated between Truro and St Austell.
Half the group stayed in the pub playing cards whilst the walkers went walking.
We all met up again for afternoon tea and chat. A lot of the chat involved future club events and making arrangements for those events.
We would love to see more of our members join us when they can.
Here in Cornwall we try and encourage our new members to become active Country Linkers by putting on events.
Peter and Jan stepped up and did this yesterday.
They arranged a table for 15 at a very busy pub in Bodmin which is situated at the end of the Camel Trail.
After a good carvery lunch and a catch-up, we strolled down to Grogley Halt along the old railway line that went to Wadebridge and Padstow.
This section of the walk runs through a lovely wooded valley alongside the Camel River.
In this isolated area, the ground was covered with snowdrops and the daffodils were about to flower.
We returned to our cars and met up again at a coffee shop to complete our afternoon.
Many thanks to Peter and Jan for organising this walk and lunch.
As you can see we got out today for our annual New Year day picnic and walk.
We are so lucky with our weather on this particular day, today was mild still and calm.
The starting point was the little fishing village of Portreath on the north coast just a little down from Perranporth. It nestles in a deep-sided valley so there is always a steep climb out! I decided to take the group west towards St Ives, the cliff scenery is beautiful.
We were told by some passing walkers that a pod of dolphins are patrolling the shoreline and we were very lucky to spot them when we stopped for our picnic.
After a short while we turned inland to Tehidy woods and made our way back to Portreath on the way passing a few animal enclosures with goats, emu's, poultry, birds of prey and believe it or not, reindeer!!!!
We never expected to see both dolphins and reindeer on the same walk.
Naturally, we finished the walk with pots of tea in the local pub.
We had a good start to our 2020 program of events.