1. Another Spectacular Coast to Coast!

    May 17, 2017 by Tracy

    Starting point at Watchet HarbourHundreds of cyclists assembled at Watchet Harbour on the Somerset coast to take part in the 7th annual Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Coast to Coast (C2C) Cycle Challenge on Sunday 14th May.

    The event, which is not a race, saw a total of 580 cyclists turn out on the day, in what has become an annual spectacular.  564 cyclists took part in the gruelling but glorious 54 mile ride to West Bay in Dorset and a further 16 cyclists completed the shorter 11-mile route which began at Drimpton and also ended at West Bay.

    This year, for the first time, the cyclists were joined by members of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance crew who also took part (pictured).  The team, who called themselves the ‘COASTBUSTERS’ headed up the starting line on singletons, triplet bikes and an incredible kinder tandem. And they are off!

    It wasn’t long before Watchet Town Crier David Milton, ramped up the proceedings, began the official countdown and set the cyclists on their way.

    Crowds were seen gathering at various points along the route; cheering and clapping as the cyclists rode past and the four well-stocked pit stops provided a well-earned rest for those that wanted it.

    An electric atmosphere began building at West Bay as families, friends and colleagues began arriving in support of those taking part.  It took just over two and a half hours for the first group of keen cyclists to arrive.Les Thomas, Kev Watts and Richard Woodward

    Les Thomas, Kev Watts and Richard Woodward were the first three cyclists to cross the finish line.  Together they explained how this year’s event was certainly a challenge with a tough head wind during the last ten miles.  “We might possibly need the air ambulance to get home.  The event was fantastically organised, the scenery on route was superb and there’s such a friendly atmosphere.  It’s great!”

    Kate and Thomas Cadbury with they son JoshuaThe first female to arrive at West Bay was Kate Cadbury.  Cycling with her husband Thomas, the pair were joined by their five year old son Joshua as they approached the finish line.

    At 79 years young, Brian Pursall was once again the oldest participant of the day.  He took part for Brian Pursallthe third time and cycled the full 54 miles. Freya Williams was the first child who cycled the 11 mile route to arrive at West Bay, closely followed by the youngest individual participant Olivia Reid (aged 11), who took part on the bike that she won last year when she raised the most sponsorship in the Under 16 category.

    Of those taking part, there were former patients who had experienced the work of the air ambulance first-hand.  Others cycled in memory of loved ones, as part of a team, or simply as a personal challenge to show their support for the life-saving Charity.

    Giles Bissett (left) with his C2C gang!Giles Bissett cycled in memory of his father who sadly died six years ago when he had a heart attack at the wheel of his car.  “The air ambulance did all they could to try and save my father but unfortunately the heart attack he suffered was too severe.  I must commend the crew as they were all brilliant and tried everything in their powers to help.  Dad loved this part of the world and I am sure he was with us all the way.”

    David Linney is Yeovil Town Football Club’s Commercial Manager.  In 2011 David Linneythe club’s current manager, Darren Way (a talented midfielder for the ‘Glovers’) was involved in a major road traffic incident.  Darren was airlifted by Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to Dorset County Hospital where he was treated for multiple injuries.  “After intensive treatment, Darren made a miraculous recovery, however unfortunately his playing career ended in his 20’s.  He is indebted and grateful for the marvellous response by the air ambulance and I am delighted to be able to do my bit to help this great charity.”

    Janie FieldhouseJanie Fieldhouse suffered serious injuries whilst out cycling. She was found lying in the road next to her bike.  “The air ambulance came to my aid and I was airlifted to Southmead Hospital where I was diagnosed with a broken back, broken jaw, broken ribs, a brain injury and a missing tooth.  Over a three month period I spent time in three different hospitals.  Now eighteen months on, I am still recovering and waiting for additional reconstructive surgery on my face however I am back on my bike and delighted to cycle alongside my heroes in the sky.”

    This year saw a record number of teams take part; 65 in total.  By far the largest group were Team o’ Tumblers (pictured) who once again came out in force with 40 members, all wearing their traditional blue shirts.  The team’s organiser Rupert Rees said:Team o' Tumblers

    “For the fourth year running, Team o' Tumblers have come out in force to enjoy the wonderful Coast to Coast ride. Forty Tumblers who are supporters of hunting, riding and racing, but more importantly passionate supporters of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, completed the challenge. We have a range of cycling abilities but that really doesn't matter, it's the taking part and the challenge that we enjoy.  So far, the team has raised in excess of £16,000 with the promise of more donations to follow.  We would like to thank the Charity and their team of volunteers for making the day so successful.”

    DSAA's AW169 helicopter

    The day was made even better when the Charity’s new AW169 helicopter made an appearance.  Members of the public were given an opportunity to see the aircraft up close and talk the Pilot Mario Carretta.

    Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer said:

    “As a rider, this year’s event was probably the hardest yet, due to the strong headwind over the last few miles.  That being said, it was incredible to see so many cyclists absolutely determined to meet the challenge.   Whilst speaking to many of them along the route, it was clear that everyone had their own special reason for taking part however there were two common themes throughout; ‘I/we wanted to support the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’ and ‘It was very friendly and so well organised.’An amazing achievement!

    The logistical challenge of setting up the start and finish lines, together with the pit stops would have been a daunting task for any organisation.  But, add to that, the safe marshalling of around 600 cyclists over 54 miles of public roads and the true scale of the enterprise is revealed.  I am incredibly proud of the staff and army of volunteers who did such a fantastic job of managing the event in such a warm and friendly manner throughout.

    As ever, we are incredibly grateful to all the riders who took on the challenge and to those who sponsored them on their quest.  A final thank you goes to the event sponsors, pit stop locations, local councils and the Police and Ambulance Service for their support in helping to make the day such a success.”

    Last year, the Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge raised over £81,000 (including gift aid). Prizes will be awarded to those who raise the most in sponsorship in the following categories: Adult, Under 16 and Team. These will be presented later in the year when all funds are received.  Closing date for sponsorship is 1 August 2017.

    DON’T FORGET! – It’s not too late to show your support for our ‘COASTBUSTERS’ Team!  Please donate whatever you can via their JustGiving Page:   www.justgiving.com/dsaa-coastbusters  Every penny will make a big difference - Thank you!

    All the photos taken on the day can be viewed and downloaded for free by clicking HERE! 


  2. Air Ambulance Coast to Coast Cyclists raring to go!

    May 5, 2017 by Tracy

    Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is holding its 7th annual Coast to Coast (C2C) Cycle Challenge on Sunday 14th May 2017 and is hoping that the public will come out in support of the 600 cyclists taking part.

    TEXT: CREW54 £5 to 70070 to show Mark Williams, Owen Hammett and Steve Westbrook your support!

    TEXT: CREW54 £5 to 70070 to show Mark Williams, Owen Hammett and Steve Westbrook your support!

    The event, which is not a race, involves a challenging 54 mile cycle ride which starts at Watchet Harbour in the North and ends at West Bay in the South, following a wonderfully scenic route through the beautiful Somerset and Dorset countryside.  A staggered start will see the stronger cyclists set off first at 11.00am with the less experienced riders departing at 11.15am.  A shorter 11 mile route starts at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton at 2.00pm and also finishes at West Bay.

    Last year’s event saw people of all ages and abilities take part, raising over £81,000 (including gift aid) for the life-saving charity.  With only 600 places available, it was no surprise that the event sold out within 11 hours of on-line registration being open.

    This ever-popular event is renowned for being an emotional and inspiring day out for everyone involved.  That’s no surprise given the fact that the cyclists include patients who have experienced the work of the air ambulance first-hand and those who take part in memory of a loved one.  Others get involved as part of a team or simply want to challenge themselves and support the Charity in return.

    This year, for the first time, the cyclists who were fortunate in gaining a place, will be joined by members of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance crew who are set to cycle the 54 mile route on triplet bicycles.

    The team, who call themselves the ‘COASTBUSTERS’ have been training for the event at their Henstridge airbase and are hoping the public will get behind them and show their support.

    TEXT: CREW54 £5 to 70070 to show Dan Kitteridge, Claire Baker, Phil Hyde, Leonie German and Lauren Dyson your support!

    TEXT: CREW54 £5 to 70070 to show Dan Kitteridge, Claire Baker, Phil Hyde, Leonie German and Lauren Dyson your support!

    In a bid to raise £2,500 and fund one life-saving mission, the team have set up a JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/dsaa-coastbusters where donations of any size can be made.  Mobile phone users can easily donate by texting: CREW54 £5 to 70070.  Every penny raised really will make a big difference.

    Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer said:

    “Our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge is a fantastic occasion and the atmosphere is incredible.  The fact that members of our crew are taking part this year makes the event even more special.  They are incredible ambassadors of the Charity and I’m sure it will be an extremely emotional day all round; the aches and pains will definitely be worthwhile.

    Every year the event seems to get better and that is mainly due to the wonderful team of volunteers, members of the public and local businesses who help us with marshalling and keeping the cyclists safe.

    “Our thanks go to the event sponsors and the various pit stop locations along the route, without their help and support, we simply could not put on such a large scale event.

    “Finally, a very big thank you to all the cyclists taking part who are encouraging their friends and family to sponsor them.  Let’s hope the weather stays fine and we raise as much as possible and make this the best Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge yet!”

    Supporters will be able to encourage the cyclists at the starting point, along the route, or at the finishing line celebrations at East Beach Car Park in West Bay.


  3. 1 month to go: Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2017!

    April 13, 2017 by Lara Lucas

     

    It’s only one month until our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge 2017 gets underway on Sunday 14th May. Preparations for the event are in full swing and we are hoping that this year will be the best Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge yet.

    This year, members of our crew (A.K.A the Coastbusters) will, for the first time, take part as a team cycling the 54 mile route from Watchet to West Bay on triplet bikes in a bid to raise as much as possible for the Charity.

    The event, which is not a race involves cycling through some of Dorset and Somerset’s most beautiful countryside. With a mixture of quiet back roads, interspersed with some very demanding hill climbs and equally hairy descents, cycling the 54 mile route (from Watchet Harbour in Somerset to West Bay in Dorset) on a normal bicycle is certainly a challenge. However, this inspirational group intend to complete the route on triplet bikes as part of a team building exercise and in a bid to raise as much as possible for the Charity.

    The 54 mile cycle ride will leave from Watchet Harbour at 11.00am for club enthusiasts and at 11.15am for the less experienced riders and finish at West Bay in Dorset. A shorter 11 mile route begins at Drimpton in Dorset at 2.00pm and also finishes at West Bay.

    Tina Viksna Fundraising Manager said: “We are thrilled that so many people want to take part in this event. With only 600 places available, demand is always high and this year was no exception. Within a record 11 hours of the Charity announcing online registration open, all places had been filled! Last year, the cyclists helped to raise over £81,000 (including gift aid) by encouraging their friends and family to sponsor them and we really hope that they can top that this year.

    “We hope that the public will come out in support of the cyclists and the Coastbusters team, cheering them on at the starting point, along the route and at the finishing line celebrations ay West Bay.”

    In addition to the fundraising and sponsorship of the cyclists, the Coastbusters team are hoping that the public will get behind them and show their support by pledging a donation of any size via their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/dsaa-coastbusters or by texting CREW54 £5 to 70070. Every penny raised really will make a big difference.

    Please help us to spread the word about our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge and show your support to the Coastbusters team by using hashtags #COASTBUSTERS and #dsaac2c on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    To view the Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge Route, CLICK HERE.


  4. A fond farewell to Gareth

    March 31, 2017 by Lara Lucas

    Gareth Williams, has been with the Charity almost since our inception in 2000. As Lottery Manager he has been instrumental in growing our lottery from the very first £1 to where it sits today; our biggest source of funding.

    After many years of service, Gareth retired today and passed on the following message of thanks to all of his colleagues and DSAA supporters.

    To all my colleagues and DSAA supporters,

    My retirement is fast approaching and I felt I should say a few words to you all before I go.

    To say that it has been a pleasure working for this organisation and alongside you is a massive understatement.

    I never dreamed when I started the lottery in 2000 that we would reach the numbers we have achieved.

    To think that we started with two portakabins (one for the staff in Taunton and the other for the crew at Henstridge), a small room in Bournemouth Ambulance Station for the lottery and now have real offices in Dorset and Somerset and a fantastic facility at Henstridge, it has been an incredible journey.

    In the early years the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance was unheard of, even by nurses at Bournemouth Hospital who thought the lottery must be a con. How times have changed, we now have a communications team who spend their days making sure everyone knows about us and what we do.

    The Charity has gone from strength to strength especially since Bill Sivewright arrived on the scene, it has been a privilege to work with him. We have fantastic fundraising and admin team at Wellington, not forgetting the great group of volunteers.

    We all work to help fund the aircraft and the special bunch of people called paramedics, pilots and doctors. I’m immensely proud to be associated with you and to have helped fund the fantastic work you do. I would also like to thanks the Charity’s trustees for their incredible support.

    The lottery office team already know how much I have appreciated their help and friendship over the years and now at last you have in Caroline Guy a true leader, I hope you know how much I will miss you.

    There is a group of people who without their work I would not have been in the job and whose task can be pretty thankless at times, that is our canvassing team. It has been a pleasure working with you all.

    It just leaves me to wish each and every one of you my sincere best wishes for the future.

    I will miss you.

    Gareth Williams

    (Ex Lottery Manager)

     

     


  5. Events Supporting our Charity!

    March 17, 2017 by Lara Lucas

    Don’t forget to check out our online events calendar for events taking place over the next couple of weeks that are in aid of the charity!

    There are more than likely to be events taking place across Dorset and Somerset which we are unaware of. If you are organising an event in aid of us, please contact the office on 01823 669604 and we will be happy to help you promote this.

    To view all events on our online events calendar, click here.


  6. Happy Birthday Denis!

    March 16, 2017 by Tracy

    Denis Cavill celebrated his 90th birthday amongst friends and family on Saturday 25th February.  Together with his daughter Julie, they organised a sit-down three course meal at Bridgwater Town Hall which saw over 130 people attend.  Part of the celebrations included a ‘This is your life’ moment, which even included a big red book, together with cabaret dancing girls and music.

    Denis requested that he received no gifts but would like donations to go to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance instead.  In total, £620 was raised which is absolutely amazing.  Birthday wishes and a very big thank you is sent from us all!

     

     

     

     


  7. From Lifesavers to Coastbusters!

    February 24, 2017 by Lara Lucas

    CoastbustersCrew of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to cycle 54 miles on triplet and tandem bikes to raise funds for the life-saving charity.

    On Sunday 14th May 2017 the crew of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance will, for the first time, take part as a team in the Charity’s ever popular Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge.

    The event, which is not a race involves cycling through some of Dorset and Somerset’s most beautiful countryside.  With a mixture of quiet back roads, interspersed with some very demanding hill climbs and equally hairy descents, cycling the 54 mile route (from Watchet Harbour to West Bay) on a normal bicycle is certainly a challenge.  However, this inspirational group intend to complete the route on triplet and tandem bikes as part of a team building exercise and in a bid to raise as much as possible for the life-saving charity.

    DSAA Coastbusters with Robin Thorn (Director of Thorn Cycles)The team, who call themselves the ‘COASTBUSTERS’ started training for the event this month at their Henstridge airbase and are being supported by Thorn Cycles in Bridgwater.

    Education isn’t something that these guys find difficult; they are constantly studying for clinical exams, but understanding the workings and mechanics of operating a triplet is something new to them all.  Robin Thorn (Director of Thorn Cycles) kindly spent time with the crew to explain how triplets are built to be strong and safe, but the safety of all three riders ultimately rests with the ‘pilot’ at the front; a similarity that they face every day whilst on the air ambulance!  After a few trial runs, there was simply no stopping the COASTBUSTERS team.

     

    So, for the 600 cyclists who were fortunaCrew Training on Triplet Bikete in gaining a Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge place this year, they can expect to cycle alongside the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Critical Care Team who deliver such an outstanding service across the two counties.  Members of the public will once again be able to cheer everyone on at the starting point of Watchet Harbour, one of the pit stops along the route and enjoy in the finishing line celebrations at West Bay.

    With less than three months to go before this year’s event, the COASTBUSTERS team are hoping the public will get behind them and show their support by pledging a donation of any size via their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/dsaa-coastbusters  Mobile phone users can easily donate by texting: CREW54 £5 to 70070 or donations can be received by sending a cheque to the Charity's Head Office. Every penny raised really will make a big difference.

    The Charity will be keeping everyone up to date on the progress of the teaCoastbusters Logom via their website and social media channels using the hashtags #COASTBUSTERS and #dsaac2c

    Ways to pledge a donation in support of the ‘COASTBUSTERS’ Challenge:

    • JUSTGIVING: justgiving.com/dsaa-coastbusters
    • MOBILE PHONE: Simply text: CREW54 £5 to 70070
    • BY CHEQUE: Please make cheques payable to ‘Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’ and write ‘COASTBUSTERS’ on the reverse. Kindly send to: DSAA, Landacre House, Castle Road, Chelston Business Park, Wellington TA21 9JQ

  8. Chase Star to Co-Present Quiz Night in aid of DSAA

    February 23, 2017 by Lara Lucas

    Imark labbettTV’s The Chase star, Mark Labbett, is set to co-present an Interactive Quiz Night being held in aid of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

    Following a short refurbishment, The Sydney Arms pub in Dorchester will launch their brand new, fully interactive pub quiz during their opening event on Sunday 5th March.

    Mark (The Beast) will be appearing as a special guest from 7.00pm and will be available to meet and greet contestants and sign autographs. Players will also be able to support Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance on the night by partaking in a raffle being held in aid of the Charity.

    The quiz will start at 8.00pm and enable teams to answer multiple choice questions using Bluetooth technology; not to mention the opportunity to challenge The Chaser!

    This is a ticket only event. Tickets are available from The Sydney Arms, 11 Bridport Road, Dorchester Dorset, DT1 2NG, Tel: 01305 751696. Tickets are free however donations to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance are welcome.


  9. Air Ambulance scoops eggs-cellent £1,500 donation!

    February 7, 2017 by Lara Lucas

    (From left to right) Anne Mitchell, Joint Owner of Rumwell Farm Shop, Lara Battersby, Communications Assistant at Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, and Chris O’Conner, Shop Manager at Rumwell Farm Shop, celebrate the amount raised during 2016.

    The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has recently received a donation of £1,500 from an award-winning farm shop in the area after it hosted a series of fundraisers including one related to the eggs it sells.

    The funds were raised for the charity, which is based in Wellington, by staff and customers at Rumwell Farm Shop & Cafe throughout 2016.

    Anne Mitchell, Joint Owner of the farm shop and cafe, which is located on the A38 between Taunton and Wellington, explained: “We’re thrilled to have raised such a fantastic amount of money for the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, which was one of our chosen charities of the year for 2016.

    “The £1,500 was raised in a number of ways from collection tins and a Charity Carvery & Quiz Evening in June to us also donating 10p from each bag of sherbet lemons and 10p from each sale of our dozen, large, free range eggs.

    “We also held a car wash in aid of Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance in May. The 1st Wellington Scout Group gave a helping hand and we managed to raise £215 for the charity.

    “We would like thank all our staff, customers and the 1st Wellington Scout Group for helping us raise this incredible amount of money for the charity during the past year.”

    The Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance launched in March 2000 and has flown more than 11,000 missions, many of them life-saving.

    Its operational costs are more than £2 million a year and the approximate cost per mission is £2,500. With public support it is also able to purchase specialist pieces of equipment that aid its paramedics’ training and help to save lives across the two counties.

    Debbie Birtwisle, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Fundraising Coordinator, said: “We would like to thank the staff and customers at Rumwell Farm Shop for the huge effort they have put in during the past year. The funds raised will help us to continue saving lives.

    Rumwell Farm Shop is an independent, family-run, award-winning business owned by the Mitchell family. It was originally a potato store, when David and Anne Mitchell began selling their potatoes and free range eggs at the gate.

    Due to customer demand, the range of products soon increased and the farm shop grew into the place it is today. David and Anne’s sons, James and Jack, are now also involved in the business.

    Rumwell Farm Shop has a traditional butchery counter selling free range pork and Aberdeen Angus beef reared just four miles away on the family farm. There is also a delicatessen, bakery, jam kitchen and food hall.

    Home grown potatoes are also still available as well as everything from fruit, vegetables and groceries to plants, flowers, gifts and cards.

    The Rumwell Cafe, which opened in May 2015, can seat approximately 80 people. The food prepared in the cafe kitchen is sourced from the farm shop, the Mitchell family farm and regional suppliers.

    Families are welcome to the cafe and there is a menu especially for children. The cafe also serves afternoon teas, carvery on a Sunday and is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. To add to this, it also has a separate gluten free menu.

    For more information, please call Rumwell Farm Shop, which is located in Rumwell between Taunton and Wellington, on 01823 461599, visit www.rumwellfarmshop.com, follow the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rumwellfarmshop or log on to www.facebook.com/Rumwellfarmshop.


  10. Vacancy for Deputy Lottery Manager

    February 3, 2017 by Lara Lucas

    When you are asked who you work for, do you reply with pride?           You can!

    Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is seeking to appoint a Deputy Lottery Manager.

    This post is a qualifying position under the terms of the Gambling Commission.

    Reporting directly to the Lottery Manager, the Deputy is required to:

    • Manage administrative and general support to the lottery operation
    • Conduct BACS operations and reports
    • Liaise with the external canvassing team
    • Deal with customer enquiries
    • Prepare miscellaneous reports including personnel, lottery and banking

     

    The successful candidate will have:

    • Managerial experience
    • Exceptional organisational and administrative skills
    • Outstanding attention to detail
    • Excellent numeracy
    • Experience in a wide variety of IT systems including spreadsheets, databases and word processing
    • First class communication and customer service skills

     

    This is a permanent, full time position. Salary guide: £22,000 - £25,000.

    This post is mainly based at our Wimborne office, although own transport is essential as there will be some requirement to travel throughout the Charity’s area and further as necessary.

    With no direct Government or National Lottery funding, our ‘Flight for Life’ Lottery provides a major part of the funding necessary to deliver our life-saving service.

    If you feel you have the energy, skills and experience to make a real difference, please send your CV and covering letter explaining how you could be just the person we are looking for to: Caroline Guy, Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance Lottery Office, Unit 3 Brook Road Industrial Estate, Wimborne, BH21 2BH or by email to: Caroline.Guy@dsairambulance.org.uk

    Applications close 22nd February 2017.  No agencies


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