About Us
Fulfilling wishes, celebrating lives

Ambulance Wish Foundation - The Background Story

Ambulance Wish Foundation UK In 2016 we welcomed this unique and heart-warming charity to the UK. Established by Alice Berrill and Freda Kaplan, they were later joined by Serina Doran (York) and together they raised enough money to purchase two purpose-built Ambulances.

Stichting Ambulance Wens was founded by Kees Velboer. Kees worked as a paramedic in the Netherlands.
During a delay in transferring a patient, Mario, Kees asked if there was anywhere he would like to go. Mario was a retired seaman and asked if he could be taken to the Vlaardingen Cana. Kees fulfilled that wish.
Before they parted Kees asked Mario if he would like the opportunity to sail again. Mario said this would be impossible as he now needed a stretcher. But Kees was determined to this last wish for Marion and he did.
Mario’s words:

“It does me good to know that there are still people who care about others. From my experience this gesture, to fulfil my wish, made a huge impact"

Making this wish happen, showed Kees the importance that fulfilling last wish means, not just for the service user but also their families, friends and medical and care staff and so Stichting Ambulance Wens Netherlands was born.

In the UK, Alice Berrill the Founder began to publicise the Charity and started fundraising and recruiting volunteers. Our first ambulance was purpose-built in 2017 and the Ambulance Wish Foundation UK has grown from there.

The first wish was in York and was fulfilled with the help of Stichting Ambulance Wens. The wish was for Serina Doran’s Mum, who wanted to attend church one last time in Leeds. On the way back to Tina's hospice, they stopped off at a local park so her husband could bring her much loved dog to see her after weeks apart.

Serina was so happy that her Mum’s wish was fulfilled and she opened a branch in York to further develop the charity. She is a Charity Director and organises fundraising events which include a yearly music festival in York.

The AWF-UK relies completely on volunteers, who fill many roles including Trustees, Branch Management, Volunteer Management, Drivers, Escorts, Wish Researchers, Community Fundraisers and Event Coordinators - they are all amazing.

Our Mission

The Ambulance Wish Foundation UK’s mission is to give our service users, the resources, specialist transport and appropriate support they need to make memories and fulfill a wish.
Wishes can be simple; a last visit home or to a place of personal significance.
It’s usually the little things that mean the most to a person nearing the end of their life or living with a life-debilitating illness, but without support, can seem impossible.

Your Wish

Our aim is to make the impossible, possible. By providing the means to make a wish, however simple or complex, a reality. From initial contact we will then arrange every aspect of the wish. We welcome wishes big or small from everyone, adult or child. Nearly everything is possible and the transport for the wish is fulfilled free of charge. We can often arrange wishes at short notice and there is no waiting list.
If you wish to use our service, then please complete our application form and we will respond to you as soon as we can.

Run by Volunteers

The foundation is currently run entirely by volunteers, who together complete the wishes, raise funds and promote the foundation.

Where We Are

We now have branches in Suffolk and York and also a branch in London where we work in collaboration with United Synagogue Chesed.

Wish Criteria

We grant wishes to anyone who is non-mobile and fulfils any of the below criteria. Who without the support of our specialist vehicles and volunteers, would not be able to fulfil their wish.
  • Terminally ill
  • Life debilitating illness
  • Elderly at end-stage of life
  • Requires assistance with the transportation of medical equipment to fulfil their wish, for example, ventilator, oxygen etc.

What We Can Provide

Our Ambulances have been specially designed to transport people in safety and comfort.
They are staffed with friendly and appropriately trained volunteers, to accompany the person for the duration of the wish.

Who We Are

Alice Berrill, Charity Director

Alice has worked as an NHS Paramedic for over 16 years for East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
She became inspired to set up the charity in the UK after reading an article on the original Dutch charity in 2015 and founded AWF-UK in 2016.
Whilst overseeing the running of the charity she continues to work occasionally on ambulances but has used her experience and studied for a PGCert to allow her to teach the next generation of paramedics.

Serina Doran, Charity Director

Serina has worked at Aviva for the last 12 years and is currently an oversight manager for Aviva investors.
Serina has been heavily involved in corporate responsibility and Women’s Networks over the last 5 years. Within these groups, she has mentored colleagues and school children, fundraised for a range of local charities and organised a number of events.
Serina joined the Ambulance Wish Foundation in 2016, opening an arm of the charity in York after the foundation's founder Kees Veldboer helped fulfil a last wish for her mum Tina Shaw.
Since then Serina has built up a key group of volunteers, raised money to purchase an ambulance and organises fundraiser throughout the year to support the cost of the wishes we fulfil.
One of these events is an annual music festival which also raises the profile of the foundation and is becoming bigger each year.

Who We Are

Heike Schaefer, Trustee East Anglia

Heike currently works at the End of Life Lead at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk.
She is a very experienced nurse, and has worked in Intensive Care Units and within the prison service.
Heike became interested in the work of The Ambulance Wish Foundation after she used the service for several patients in her care. HeikeHeike helps with the management of the East Anglian branch and has a strong interest in training.

Saul Gaunt, Trustee

& Branch Manager London
Saul has been a paramedic for the London Ambulance Service (LAS) for nearly five years. He absolutely loves his job and the experiences it brings.
He says that no two jobs are the same and he can go from the trauma of road accidents to making tea for a vulnerable elderly patient.
He loves helping people and being able to provide support and care during somebody’s crisis. He was recently promoted to Advanced Paramedic Practitioner and embraces the new challenges this brings and allows him to further his career.
He additionally works at Urgent Care Centres, which further broadens his medical capabilities, in a hospital setting.
Saul also works for Hatzola and takes great pride helping out in his community. Within his role there, he teaches first aid and finds it rewarding using his skills to ensure that his students can help in emergencies. Teaching First Aid inspired him to start his own company “Good Egg Medical” which teaches First Aid in schools, businesses and wherever needed.
Outside of work, he volunteers with the Scouts, enjoys cycling but above all, loves to spend time with his wife, family and friends.

Jan Ticehurst, Branch Manager East Anglia

& Volunteer Manager
Jan trained as a nurse and midwife and has worked in the Health and Social Care and Charity Sectors for over 40yrs.
She has worked in many disciplines; Care of the Elderly, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health. But it was during a period of volunteering for her local hospice, that her interest in palliative care started.
Jan undertook the Open University Course 'Death and Dying' and later utilised this knowledge when she took up the post of Macmillan Information and Support Service Manager.
Once retired Jan was delighted to join the AWF-UK was a volunteer. She helps Alice, the Charity Director, to co-ordinate the Charity’s work, and acts as Volunteer Manager and East Anglian Branch Manager.
In her spare time, Jan likes nothing better than spending with her 5 children and grandchildren.

Beverley Lonsdale, Trustee

& Branch Manager York
Beverley has been involved with the AWF-UK since 2017 and is currently Charity Ambassador for York, helping to raise the profile of the Foundation throughout the North.
It was her own personal experience of loss through terminal illness that led her towards working with the charity.
Beverley is now semi-retired having spent 25 years as a Civil Servant with the latter part of her career being spent with the Home Office and the MOD. She now owns and runs 2 successful small businesses and enjoys spending her spare time travelling in her motorhome with her husband and their dog.

Cliff Austin, Branch Manager, Scotland

Cliff is 59 years old, married with two daughters. He joined the ambulance service in 1983 and has spent most of his adult life providing emergency medical care to the general public.
In his off duty hours, he supported the MAGPAS organisation in Cambridgeshire with their first responder programme.
He worked with vulnerable groups and individuals, providing support, education and training alongside Cambridgeshire Police and Fire and Rescue Services, in various community-based projects.
Cliff was one of the first people to become a member of the HART team. He moved to South West Scotland in with his wife and youngest daughter in 2019.
Cliff's aim will be to support, develop and promote The Ambulance Wish Foundation UK in Scotland to enable terminally ill patients to fulfil their final wish.

Who We Are

Directors

Alice Berrill
Serina Doran

Trustees

Serina Doran
Beverley Lonsdale
Alice Berrill
Heike Schaefer
Saul Gaunt

Area Managers

Saul Gaunt
Beverley Lonsdale
Jan Ticehurst
Christine Gracey

Support Us

Ambulance Wish Foundation UK is a charity and would not be able to operate without volunteers and generous donations from individuals, companies and other organisations. Please contact us if you would like to donate to or support the charity.

Contact Us

Ambulance Wish Foundation
First Floor
Unit 8, Marsden Park
Clifton Moor
York, YO30 4WX

About Us

The Ambulance Wish Foundation UK’s mission is to give our service users, the resources, specialist transport and appropriate care they need to make memories and fulfil a wish.