Pilot Alan Petch wins National Award - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Pilot Alan Petch wins National Award

On Friday 3rd December, the Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence took place virtually, and we were delighted to learn that our very own Alan Petch won the award for Pilot of the Year.

Not only did Alan scoop his well-deserved win, but James Yates was highly commended in the category for Critical Care Practitioner of the Year. And last but certainly not least, little Hattie Rowe was highly commended for her amazing fundraising work during the February 2021 lockdown.

The night was a huge success for GWAAC; the awards celebrate the nation’s finest clinicians, aviators, fundraisers, volunteers and charity staff within the air ambulance community. Alan’s, James’ and Hattie’s success demonstrates the excellence and commitment of those who go beyond the call of duty.

Alan Petch — Pilot of the Year

Alan Petch (Petchy to his friends), has been with GWAAC for one year. He brought home the award for Pilot of the Year for his exemplary professional standards and innovative use of technology. Both of which have had a huge impact on GWAAC’s operations, his colleagues, and the community he serves.

“I’m really humbled and honoured that GWAAC has put me up for this. I’m very proud to accept it on their behalf. As a Bristol boy born and bred, I’m really lucky to work here. They do a fantastic job. They’re a fantastic team.”
Alan Petch, GWAAC Pilot

James Yates — Highly Commended for Critical Care Practitioner of the Year

Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care, James Yates was highly commended in the award category of Critical Care Practitioner of the Year. James has helped grow both his own professional knowledge and GWAAC as an organisation. In particular, he’s brought neonatal expertise into the crew’s capabilities, meaning more lives can be saved.

“I was completely bowled over to have been shortlisted for this award, and to be highly commended is amazing. I’d like to thank the Great Western Air Ambulance charity for having the vision to embrace new and innovative roles. When I approached them with the idea of a secondment to train in neonatal retrieval they immediately saw the potential benefit, not only to my own professional development but how that development could feedback into the capabilities of the GWAAC critical care team.”
James Yates, GWAAC Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care

Hattie Rowe — Highly Commended for Young Person of the Year

Finally, seven-year-old Hattie was highly recommended in the award category for Young Person of the Year. Hattie provided some much-needed lockdown inspiration earlier in 2021 when she embarked on her own huge personal fundraising challenge in aid of GWAAC. Hattie raised more than £11,000 by doing 750,000 steps in just over a month. Go, Hattie!

Going above and beyond

Chief Executive Anna Perry said: “The whole GWAAC team are incredibly proud to work alongside colleagues such as Alan and James and to have such inspirational fundraisers as our young star, Hattie. I am so pleased that their incredible commitment and dedication to the cause has been recognized – it’s thoroughly deserved!”

GWAAC’s Critical Care Team attends an average of over five incidents every single day, bringing the skills and expertise of a hospital emergency department straight to patients — where it’s needed the most.

Every mission is potentially life-saving and we rely on charitable donations and support from our local community to raise over £4 million a year to keep flying.

The Critical Care team works tirelessly to improve procedures and standards of care to give every patient the best chance of survival. This year’s success at the Air Ambulances UK Awards of Excellence reflects the hard work and commitment that goes on behind the scenes.

Alan’s Landing Sites Project means that Critical Care Teams can make faster decisions about where it is possible for our helicopter to land in urban areas. This site at Riverside Park in central Bristol is a prime example