HE WAS given just a one per cent chance of living. But the air ambulance was the difference between life and death for former Rowlands Castle vicar Dennis Lloyd.
Now to say thank you for saving his life, his former congregation are raising money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance by staging a Christmas tree festival at St John’s Church.
No less than 24 beautifully-decorated pines – many suspended from the ceiling – will fill the church.
Mr Lloyd, 65, nearly died when he developed an abdominal aortic aneurism – a tear in the main blood vessel from his heart.
The illness came on suddenly during a trip to the Isle of Wight to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary.
He was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital for emergency surgery.
Mr Lloyd, who retired in May, said he owed his life to the air ambulance.
He said: ‘When it’s life and death and someone is bleeding internally, it makes all the difference – it saves that little bit of time.’
The festival will be opened by The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, at 7.30pm on Thursday. The church will be open from 10am to 5pm on Friday and Saturday and from midday to 5pm on Sunday.
Meanwhile at St Mary’s Church in Alverstoke, a Christmas tree festival will begin with carols in the village centre from 6.15pm on Thursday, followed by a procession to the church, where there will be 70 trees. The church will be open from 11am to 7pm for the following three days.
St Cuthbert’s Church in Copnor will host a concert by the Hampshire Guitar Orchestra at 7.30pm on Friday in the midst of dozens of brightly-lit trees. Tickets are £7 and available on 07763 210659. The festival takes place on Saturday from 11am to 6.30pm and on Sunday from midday to 3.30pm.