GWAAC shortlisted for prestigious air ambulance awards - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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GWAAC shortlisted for prestigious air ambulance awards

The annual Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence are just around the corner, and we’ve recently learned that we’ve been shortlisted in three categories:

  • Trustee of the Year
  • Charity Supporter of the Year
  • Special Incident of the Year

This is a wonderful tribute to the hard work and dedication shown by our crew and supporters for the lifesaving service that we provide. Air Ambulances UK has confirmed that the awards judging panel deliberated long and hard over some very difficult decisions due to the excellent quality of nominations.

We’re very proud of all who have been shortlisted; find out why below.


About the awards

The Awards of Excellence celebrates and recognises the specialist lifesaving critical care skills and commitment of those working tirelessly within and in support of the air ambulance community.

The 2023 awards ceremony will be hosted by Hayley McQueen at Select Car Leasing Stadium, Reading Football Club on the 30 November. Some of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s (GWAAC) shortlisted crew, charity staff, and supporters will be there to celebrate with the wider air ambulance community.

Last year we won one award at the ceremony and were also highly commended in two other categories.

Simmy Akhtar, CEO of Air Ambulances UK, said: “Congratulations to all those who have been chosen as finalists for the Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence 2023. Thank you to those who submitted nominations for the awards. All nominees are extremely talented, and our judging panel had the unenviable task of finalising the shortlist for all categories.”


GWAAC’s finalists

Trustee of the Year – Robin Jaques

Robin has been a trustee with GWAAC for two years, but in that short time, he has made himself an indispensable part of the organisation. He not only uses his business skills to help steer the charity as a board member but is also a driving force in fundraising and spreading the word about the excellent work of the charity.

Much of Robin’s motivation for helping the charity comes from him being a former patient. On Valentine’s Day in 2019, he suffered a high-speed mountain biking accident leaving him with multiple trauma injuries that required critical care. He broke four of his ribs on impact, suffered a punctured lung, and a burst femoral artery.

“Robin has been a real asset to the charity. He is a wonderful ambassador for our cause in North Somerset and beyond. Robin’s story really is incredible and a testament to the impact our Critical Care Team has on lives across the region.”

Ian Cantoni, Head of Fundraising


Charity Supporter of the Year – the Polledri family and Lisa Mazzotta

In February 2022 on a night out with friends, Sam Polledri, a fit and healthy 24-year-old man, suffered a cardiac arrest in one of Bristol’s most popular tourist areas, Millennium Square. There were no publicly accessible defibrillators nearby. GWAAC attended Sam that night, but the crew was unable to save him. It’s hard to think that anything good can come out of such a tragic event, but that’s where you would be wrong.

The Polledri family and Sam’s girlfriend Lisa have shown outstanding commitment and support to GWAAC, tirelessly placing public defibrillators around Bristol over the last twelve months. In this short space of time, the Polledris have:

  • Set up the Sam Polledri Foundation with GWAAC – an innovative use of a tribute fund that is helping the family to achieve their aim of making sure that everyone in Bristol has a public defibrillator within a three-minute return walk
  • Raised huge sums of money through the fund and by holding events; they have raised over £65,000 to date!
  • Positively impacted local communities by installing ten defibrillators so far with more in the pipeline and raised awareness of the importance of CPR and defibrillation
  • Helped pass a motion at Bristol City Council and inform the council’s ambition to follow in Swansea City’s footsteps of being one of the first defib-friendly cities in England


Special Incident of the Year – multi-patient road traffic collision

(A collaborative nomination between Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA), Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA), and GWAAC.)

At the end of 2022, GWAAC, WAA, and HIOWAA all responded to a multi-vehicle road traffic collision in GWAAC’s region. There were multiple patients to assess and treat. In total, eleven Helicopter Emergency Medical Service crew attended on scene from four resources (two helicopters, two critical care cars).

GWAAC attended the incident in two critical care cars due to the weather. The first crew consisted of Critical Care Doctor Andy Lockyer, Critical Care Doctor Nicky Moore, and Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care (SPCC) Jack Kilminster; the second crew consisted of SPCCs Callum Sutton and Fleur Mosley.

Dr Andy Lockyer had assumed the medical lead role, giving the crews a detailed but concise appraisal of the situation and overseeing the extrication of patients.

The air ambulance crews and other emergency services worked collaboratively in terrible weather, demonstrating the effectiveness of their training in a thoroughly drilled version of scene management that prioritised patient care above all else.


Good luck to all!

GWAAC would like to wish all those who have been shortlisted for an award the very best of luck. You are all amazing!

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