hen I last wrote my piece for Beeline, we were just emerging from the first ‘lockdown’. The weather was fantastic and most of the summer was still ahead. Now on a miserable wet day at the beginning of February, with potentially more months of restrictions ahead, it is a little harder for me to find reasons to be cheerful. However, with COVID-19 case numbers currently falling, the vaccination program
in the UK progressing on target and spring on its way, hopefully we have much to look forward to.

I am extremely proud that Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has been able to continue providing an uninterrupted service throughout the pandemic. That is with thanks to you, our supporters, who have enabled us to do this. Furthermore, we have further enhanced the service with the introduction of an outreach car in Somerset and as you will read within this edition, in more recent weeks, we have provided an extra team of clinicians, who have stepped towards the challenge of transporting COVID-19 patients to maximise the capacity of NHS hospitals.

Although COVID-19 has been in the headlines for the past 12 months, people continue to have serious accidents and illnesses, which require the assistance of our team. Yet again, we have provided care to more patients than ever over the past six months.

As a charity with a small team of staff, we have been very fortunate in that, unlike many other charities, we have not had to furlough any staff. Care of our finances and your continued support has meant that we have been able to continue developing the service as planned. For that and on behalf of our patients, thank you.

In June, we have two members of the Board of Trustees who come to the end of their term of office. Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to Glenys Taylor. Glenys has been a loyal, hardworking member of the board since 2012 and has
served as vice-chair for the past two years. Her wise advice and expertise in HR matters has been invaluable and her presence will be greatly missed. Michael Gallagher is also due to leave us in June. Michael has brought a broad range of business management expertise and his critical objectivity has added considerable strength to the charity’s governance; we are indebted to them both. The rest of the board and I will be sad to see them go, but wish them all the very best for the future.

For now, our face-to-face activities are all on hold, but please do not underestimate the value of your continued support. I am keeping everything crossed, that in a few months we will all be able to meet each other in person again, because after all, contact and caring for people is why we are here.