We are absolutely thrilled to announce that our wonderful Jen won Charity Staff Member of the Year at the Association of Air Ambulance Awards on Monday. In our eyes all of our nominees are incredible ambassadors for the charity and we couldn’t be more proud of all of them. To really show why Jen is so deserving of this award we wanted to share her nomination write up with you….
Jen has become an inspiration to everyone at East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) since she started working here 15 years ago. She is the backbone of the charity and is a daily reminder to all of us as to why we are here.
Jen’s 18-year-old daughter Emma suffered a tragic horse riding accident in February 2002, sustaining fatal head injuries. EAAA attended Emma and airlifted her to hospital, but sadly her injuries could not be overcome and she tragically passed away just days before her 19th birthday.
Shortly after the incident Jen set up the Emma Easton Memorial Fund to raise funds for EAAA, the charity that tried to save her daughter’s life. After Emma’s passing and with a need for something to focus on Jen wanted to raise funds to help EAAA add a second aircraft to its service. At the time Jen said, “The appeal began as a way of getting through things, and something to focus on. It is hard still – but it is a comfort, and wonderful to think people support us in her memory.”
The Emma Easton Memorial Fund has raised well over £100,000 for the charity and incredible supporters still continue giving to the fund in Emma’s memory. In fact in June this year Ford and Slater, a regular giver to the fund donated another £1,000. The amount of money the fund has raised is a credit to both Jen and Emma and is a true reflection of what a wonderful person Emma was.
With the fund set up Jen then decided to join the EAAA team as an administrator and has seen the charity grow from its much smaller beginnings flying just one day a week, into the 365 day-a-year, dual helicopter operation it is today. Despite the tragic reason for Jen joining the EAAA team she has very much become the face of the charity to everyone who works here. We are forever indebted to the work she has done for us and the funds she has raised, but above all that her genuine passion, determination and strength to carry on has been an inspiration to everyone.
Jen wrote a note to charity staff detailing her reason for leaving the charity after 15 years of service, she said; “Through the very nature of why I joined EAAA, it will always be a huge part of my life. I feel that it has certainly seen me through some incredibly dark days and has become my daily reason in giving me the incentive to get up each morning. But, I feel now that I need to start a new part of my life standing on my own two feet. Friends, colleagues and crew have come and gone and I have been truly blessed with the opportunities I have experienced over the past 15 years. It will be very strange and sad, not seeing your faces each morning.”
There is not much more we can add except that there cannot be a more true ambassador and genuine pillar of a charity than our lovely Jen. An inspirational woman made of true resilience and grit. Her retirement at the end of the year will be a huge loss to the charity, but both Jen’s and Emma’s legacy will always live on at EAAA. We will send her off on her new journey with the biggest amount of luck, love and respect.