Spotlighting our 2023 fundraisers on the twelfth day of ChristmasJanuary 5, 2024
GWAAC in 2023January 19, 2024
Tucked away in a cosy bar area of a beloved Portishead establishment — the Phoenix Bar, our Supporter Engagement Coordinator, Philippa, met four generations of the family-run pub to celebrate them reaching £10,000 in fundraising for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC).
Tam and mother Dawn (along with grandmother and joint landlady, Monica) have run raffles, sold jumpers, hosted collection tins on the bar, competitions on social media during lockdown and put on fundraising events in what they describe as “very much a team effort.” They credit the Phoenix patrons and local Portishead community for their part in their fundraising journey. . Family member, Sam Hughes (pictured above) has also been a “massive support throughout”.
The Phoenix Bar have supported GWAAC as far back as 2014 but in 2019, Dawn’s partner of 10 years was involved in a road traffic collision. Our Critical Care Team attended Sean but sadly could not save him. Remembering Sean, Dawn recalls how much of a community man he was, involved in the local rugby and football clubs and a charity supporter himself, once running a half marathon. Each year, on the anniversary of Sean’s death, the family remembers Sean by visiting his bench at Gordano Rugby Club and laying flowers.
“It really helped channel our grief through something, having a focus. You can’t change what happened but you can help try to change something for someone else.” - Tam on her motivation to fundraise for GWAAC.
The most memorable part of their fundraising journey was the ‘Sean Owen’s Sunday Funday’ event they held at the Phoenix in 2019. What started as a “little event in the car park… escalated.” With an estimated 1,000 attendees packing the adjoining street, locals, friends and family gathered to celebrate his life. During the event, a group of Sean’s friends arrived to cheers and celebrations having made the mammoth walk from Exeter, Sean’s hometown.
GWAAC is Portishead’s local air ambulance charity and our Critical Care Team were called to 262 incidents in North Somerset in 2023. Road traffic collisions accounted for 17% of call-outs to the region. We rely on the support of the local community to keep flying.
Philippa Walker, Supporter Engagement Coordinator, said, “We are so incredibly proud to have the Phoenix as part of the GWAAC family and congratulate Tam, Dawn and the whole Phoenix community on reaching £10,000. This will fund five entire missions – that’s five people who might not have received critical care and been given the best possible chance of survival if it wasn’t for the amazing commitment of the Phoenix. Their fundraising journey not only honours the memory of a cherished family member but also demonstrates the power of collective action and how every contribution, no matter how small, can lead to a substantial impact over time.”
Find out more about GWAAC’s work in North Somerset.
It really helped channel our grief through something, having a focus. You can’t change what happened but you can help try to change something for someone else.