Great Western Air Ambulance Charity celebrates outstanding achievement at the Air Ambulances UK 2023 Awards of Excellence - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Great Western Air Ambulance Charity celebrates outstanding achievement at the Air Ambulances UK 2023 Awards of Excellence

Air Ambulances UK hosted its 2023 Awards of Excellence on 30 November and we are proud to announce that our wonderful Great Western Hearts Ambassadors, the Polledri family and Lisa Mazzotta, won the Supporter of the Year Award.

The annual awards celebrate and recognise the dedicated professionals who tirelessly contribute their specialist lifesaving skills and unwavering commitment to the air ambulance community. The panel of judges deliberated long and hard over some very difficult decisions due to the outstanding quality of the nominations.

We’re thrilled for the Polledri family

Amidst the devastation of losing their beloved Sam Polledri, who was just 24 years old, to a cardiac arrest in 2022, Sam’s family, girlfriend Lisa Mazzotta, and family friends chose to do something incredible for Bristol and beyond as a tribute to him. Partnering with Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), they set up the Sam Polledri Foundation, raising funds to install public access defibrillators in and around Bristol, teaching people to use them along with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and raising awareness of these vital pieces of equipment. Their actions are already saving lives and they have raised over £70,000.

On the night, Sam's parents, Louise and Pete, as well as his brother Lewis and girlfriend Lisa were in attendance and received rapturous applause as they were handed their award by Davina Ellison, Head of Operations from sponsor, Tower Lotteries and host, Hayley McQueen.

Together, GWAAC and the Polledris will keep aiming for anyone who suffers a cardiac arrest to receive immediate CPR and defibrillation within five minutes. As a result of this, and other clinical care, there will be fewer avoidable and needless deaths in our communities.

Ian Cantoni, GWAAC’s Supporter Engagement Manager, said that the Sam Polledri Foundation has led to, “some of our proudest work at GWAAC. The Foundation is making a huge impact in the local community and has acted as a real catalyst for our own defibrillator campaign. Sam is never far from our thoughts, and he is something of a guiding light for the Great Western Hearts programme.”

Simmy Akhtar, Air Ambulances UK CEO expressed her heartfelt appreciation for all the 2023 Awards of Excellence winners and their outstanding contributions.

Simmy said: “Congratulations to our 2023 Awards of Excellence winners and their outstanding contributions. Our panel of independent judges made some tough decisions when choosing the winners and we would like to thank everyone who entered. Despite continuously having to face global and national challenges, the air ambulance community throughout the UK has remained determined to provide the highest-level specialised patient care at the scene. All nominees across categories, along with the shortlisted candidates and winners, collectively form a united group that collaborates to support their local communities during times of necessity. We extend our immense gratitude to the dedicated staff, volunteers, and supporters within our lifesaving community."

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