Media release: 28 September 2022

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance held their first 5K Twilight Shift event on Saturday 24th September and what a fantastic occasion it was.

Over one hundred people took part on the day, either running, walking or jogging the 5km route around Henstridge Airfield, which is the home of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance team.

In what was a truly memorable late afternoon filled with warmth, fun and laughter, participants set off at 5pm with a beautiful sunset as their backdrop, whilst the crew of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance began the ‘twilight shift’, to carry on their life-saving work into the night.

A colourful array of fancy dress costumes were worn by many participants, while some of the more experienced 5K challengers carried extra weight on their back, just like the air ambulance team need to do, when they are attending an incident.

Those who took part included off-duty crew members, former patients who had experienced the work of the air ambulance first-hand, while others ran, jogged or walked in memory of loved ones, as a personal challenge, or as a team. 

Although the event is not a race, the first male and female to cross the finish line was husband and wife, Owen and Rachel Astington from Montacute.

At 73 years young, Alan Hardy from Wellington was the oldest participant completing the challenge. Alan is also a volunteer for the charity and was beaming as he crossed the finish line, despite carrying a 17.5kg weighted bag around the airfield. Grace Hetherington and Isabel Parsons (both aged six) were the youngest to individually complete the 5km route.

Patient Issy Jarrett, Mario Carretta and mum AngelaOne amazing story of determination and triumph was from Issy Jarrett, who was a passenger in a head-on road traffic incident in October last year. Issy was flown to Southmead Hospital in Bristol after breaking both of her feet and arm in the accident, along with sustaining substantial bruising and swelling as a result of her injuries.

After undergoing surgery to her abdomen due to a seatbelt wound, Issy has since made a fantastic recovery and wanted to give something back to the team who helped her. After completing the challenge together, mum Angela explained:

We both really enjoyed the event! Issy was in a car accident last year, so it’s the first time that she’s been able to run for 11 months. There have been some ups and downs along the way, but she’s made a fantastic recovery and we really wanted to thank the crew who helped her on the day. Being able to meet Unit Chief Pilot Mario Carretta was really special and we look forward to meeting the other members of the crew who helped Issy soon.

Representatives from HuntThere were many businesses who also took part on the day, including representatives from Hunt’s Food Group. Speaking on behalf of the team, Jadie Carter, Marketing Manager at Hunt’s said:

Hunts have selected Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance as our chosen charity this year. We’re a local business based in Sherborne, so the charity is quite close to all our hearts. We hope that we won’t ever need the air ambulance, however we’ve heard many stories of people who have been saved by the crew and realise that any one of us might need their help one day, so it’s nice to be able to give something back. We all really enjoyed the event; it was well organised and the marshals were so friendly, so we’ll definitely be taking part again next year.

Emma Jones, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager praised the efforts of the participants and all those that were involved in the organisation of the day:

We all had such a wonderful time! We were over the moon that so many people came to support the event; thank you to all of you. It was our first year and we know that The 5K Twilight Shift will now become an annual event and we are already planning the next one in 2023. See you then!

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance would like to give special thanks to the sponsors of this year’s event: Zoll and Irwin Mitchell, and to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust for providing onsite CPR advice to participants as part of their ‘Saving Lives Together’ campaign.

Members of DSAA Crew and HEMS Desk Volunteer Alan Hardy Team Friars Moor having fun before the start of the event
Members of the DSAA Crew and HEMS Desk Volunteer Alan Hardy  Members of Friars Moor having fun!

All photographs that were taken on the day can be viewed and downloaded by visiting: