Airbase mural to welcome visitors is unveiled - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Airbase mural to welcome visitors is unveiled

On 14 July 2023 renowned Bristol illustrator, Andy Council, completed his spray-painted mural of our helicopter at the entrance to Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s (GWAAC) airbase. And having battled with the weather all week, he certainly seemed relieved to have completed it on time for the planned Spray Day celebration event.

Andy, who is best known for the Bristol Dinosaur illustration spent three days completing the mural, which incorporates famous landmarks across the region that GWAAC serves.

GWAAC CEO Anna Perry declared the Spray Day event to be “the wettest BBQ ever!” But despite the wild winds and torrential rain, the 20 guests, crew, and charity staff had a memorable afternoon eating the “best BBQ ever” and chatting and networking under a shaky gazebo.


Why have a mural?

We’re hoping that the artwork will create a more inviting and safer-feeling space for patients and their families visiting the airbase. Our airbase is often the first time that patients or their family members reconnect with GWAAC following the Critical Care Team rushing to the scene of their incident.

Visits can be emotive and trigger memories of the event and the following days and weeks. We want to make the reconnection process as easy and as friendly as possible.

Andy’s mural will also create a friendlier space for all visitors to the airbase from the moment they arrive, and it will help improve the visibility of the charity for passers-by.

“GWAAC gives everyone in its community the best chance on their worst day by taking the skills and equipment found in a hospital emergency department to the scene of the most serious medical emergencies. We save lives that would otherwise be lost and where lives can’t be saved, we give families the knowledge that everything that could have been done, was done. We are immensely proud of what we do, but however skilled our crew is everything we do is only possible through the community we serve, supporting us. We want our supporters who drive past the entrance or into our airbase to feel connected and proud of what they’re doing.”

Joe Hughes, Strategic Partnerships Manager, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity


More about the mural

The mural is in Andy’s trademark style, combining iconic features from across GWAAC’s operating area of Bristol, Gloucestershire, Bath, and beyond, with an image of the air ambulance. See how many landmarks you can spot!

The mural reflects how the contributions of GWAAC’s whole community create and maintain the service that GWAAC’s crews provide every single day.

“Working on the mural was interesting on lots of different levels. I’m pleased that I’ve managed to capture all the main landmarks within GWAAC’s region and combining them with the structure of a helicopter has been a different direction for my artwork. I also really valued my tour of the airbase and learning about the amazing work they do – my children have been inspired too!”

Andy Council, Bristol Illustrator


A collaborative affair

While enjoying a beautiful BBQ by Jay from Bristol’s Clifton Chilli Club, we raised a glass to Andy and the businesses and mini army of volunteers and supporters who made the mural possible. This included volunteers from the RAC who cleared the grounds and scrubbed and prepped the building wall at the entrance to the airbase ready for the mural.

“The idea of being able to help out and let others in the local community be more aware of the charity and feel more welcome when they visit was appealing to me and I was delighted to volunteer.”

Ollie, Volunteer, RAC

The collaboration was a real community effort, the results of which will benefit GWAAC’s patients and supporters for years to come. Michelle, from the nearby Almondsbury Interchange Hotel and Crest Hotels Group expressed her support:

“We hope this vibrant, perfectly placed Mural will help to bring the much-needed attention to this unbelievable charity. After speaking to the team to understand exactly what they do for the Bristol community it makes you appreciate it so much more. This is why we wish to support the charity as much as possible going forward not only because they are our neighbours, but because they need everyone’s support. We look forward to working closer with the team to help raise more awareness.”

Michelle Dean, Group Commercial Director, Crest Hotels Group

Michelle and her team went above and beyond on the day, helping to keep the guests warm with free hot chocolates.


Get your hands on Andy’s artwork

The collaboration went beyond the mural as printmakers and sports top designers stepped in to support the project. Versions of the mural can now be purchased from the GWAAC website shop, and every penny raised will go towards funding GWAAC’s lifesaving missions — on average each mission costs around £2,000 to attend!


Perfect prints for your home

Choose from three different designs starting at £12.50 and featuring Andy’s helicopter artwork:

  • An open-edition print, ‘Saving Lives with GWAAC — Our Helicopter’
  • A limited-edition print, ‘Saving Lives with GWAAC — Our Countryside’
  • A limited-edition print, ‘Saving lives with GWAAC — Our City’

Cycle proud with an Andy Council artwork on your back

For cycling enthusiasts, there is an opportunity to get your hands on a limited-edition Andy Council X GWAAC Grand Tour Cycle Jersey.

The Andy Council X GWAAC Grand Tour Cycle Jersey tops are perfect for a cycling event such as the London to Paris Cycle in 2024 which, if you’re feeling inspired, can be done to raise funds for GWAAC!

But with only 100 Andy Council X GWAAC Grand Tour Cycle Jerseys currently available, you’ll need to move fast to snap one up.

Not only will your purchase help support GWAAC, but the Bristol-designed jerseys have been made from 100% recycled fabrics by the world’s first climate-positive sportswear brand, Presca Sportswear, now part of the Long Run Club.

“GWAAC plays such an important role in the lives of Bristolians, and in the regions it covers, but especially for our community of cyclists and runners who unfortunately may have more need to call on their services in times of incidents when out and about. We are delighted to have worked with the team and can’t wait to see many of these fantastic jerseys being used in Bristol and beyond.”

 Lily Rice, Designer, The Long Run Club


GWAAC would like to thank…

  • Andy Council for his brilliant artwork
  • the RAC for their brilliant volunteers
  • Lily and Guy from Presca Sportswear/The Long Run Club for their brilliant jersey cycle tops
  • Clifton Chilli Club for the amazing BBQ
  • Crest Hotels Group for the offer of discounted room rates and free hot drinks on the day
  • Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care Matt, Emergency Care Assistant Tom and Events Manager Charlie for modelling the cycle tops
  • Shinobi Screen Print for their collaboration and support
  • Wayne Reid for the photos

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