10 years of unconditional support for HIOWAA

Monday 29th April

Photo L to R: Critical Care Team, Maria Badders with Izzy and Oscar, David and Julia Betteridge, CEO Alex Lochrane.

Major donors and long-standing supporters of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA), David and Julia Betteridge, presented a cheque for £20,000 to the Charity on Saturday (27th April).

Their support for our charity began after their friend’s daughter was airlifted to hospital, following a nasty fall from a horse.

Maria Badders, a Community Support Officer with Wiltshire Police, was riding at an equestrian event in Kingsclere, north Hampshire, on the 5th April 2009. The first test had gone well and confidence was running high for the next qualifying round. Maria swapped from a novice horse to ride Texano, a horse she had ridden a few weeks previously, for the intermediate class.

His trainer described him as a ‘strong-willed horse who liked to be out in front’ but on this occasion, he was running in third. They jumped the first few fences well but Texano seemed to be concentrating on the lead horse more than on what he was doing. He hit a fence hard and fell, throwing Maria to the ground.
Maria’s mother, Helen, had been videoing the event from the top of a hill and rushed to her daughter’s side as soon as she saw her go down.

Maria was unconscious, and although the team had agreed to continue the test should someone fall, her friend Laura, who had been riding behind her, saw how serious Maria’s fall was and stopped to help.
Within minutes, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance landed at the scene and the Critical Care Team began treating her.

It was immediately obvious that Maria had broken both arms and her fingers, but the extent of her injuries went further than that. Maria also had a bleed on the brain. She was in a critical condition and needed an urgent operation. Maria was flown to the nearest major trauma centre, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
After weeks in hospital having numerous operations, CT and MRI scans, Maria was moved to Bath Mineral Hospital for rehabilitation. Although she was lucky to survive the accident, her recovery would continue for several months. She had also been told that due to the extent of her injuries, she would always have short term memory loss.

Fast forward almost 10 years since the accident and Maria visited the airbase with her two children, Izzy, aged four years and Oscar who is six months, and her mother, Helen.

The family met the on-duty Critical Care Team and the children even got to sit in “mummy’s helicopter!”
Maria has recently returned to work and is busy running around after her two little ones, who Helen loves to dote on.

It was a poignant moment for all, including David and Julia Betteridge, who have pledged to continue to support HIOWAA. Their generosity and dedication to the Charity has been remarkable, having raised £166,750 for HIOWAA since 2010.