Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is delighted to announce ‘Pegasus’ as the name for our AW169 helicopter.

In August, we announced a competition to find a name for our aircraft and entries immediately began flooding in. By the time the closing date arrived, nearly one thousand entries had been received.

A panel of judges which included the Charity’s patrons; Annie Maw (Lord Lieutenant of Somerset and former patient), Angus Campbell (Lord Lieutenant of Dorset), Bill Sivewright (DSAA Chief Executive Officer), Anna Philipps (DSAA Trustee), Paul Jelley and Jennifer Molloy (former patients), Paul Owen (DSAA Operational Lead) and Phil Merritt (Pilot) met on 24th October and spent a number of hours going through the nominations.

Three entries were shortlisted after receiving the same number of votes, before a final deliberation saw ‘Pegasus’ come out the winner.

Four members of the public submitted the name as their preferred choice: Mrs Fear (Glastonbury), Poppy Holt (St. Dunstan’s School, Glastonbury), Mark Williams (Frome) and Angela Andrews (Wincanton). All were extremely thrilled when they received a call from the Charity informing them of the decision.  Each will be invited to attend a formal naming ceremony in January where the name will be unveiled on the aircraft.

Lord Lieutenant of Somerset Annie Maw said: “It was my absolute pleasure to be part of the judging panel which selected the name for our air ambulance. Nearly 16 years ago, I was rescued from a fog bound Mendip and on that day the air ambulance team found me by locating the Cathedral in Wells, then following St. Thomas street out of town and up to the top of the hills where they hovered very low in search for me.

“We were miles away, in the middle of inaccessible fields; Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance seemed to descend down in a shaft of sunshine. It was miraculous and something which I will never forget. It’s very possible that the team that day saved my life as I was getting pretty ill. Even if they didn’t prevent me from actually dying, they certainly protected me from having a higher level of paralysis by the way they moved me onto the stretcher and into the helicopter.

“If it hadn’t been done by someone as experienced and capable as they were, more of my spinal cord would have been damaged and I might have ended up unable to use my arms and hands. I will always be undyingly grateful and it is my absolute pleasure to be one of the Charity’s Patrons. ‘Pegasus’ is a remarkable aircraft, which I know will help the team to do remarkable things.”

Running alongside the naming competition was an art competition aimed at our younger audience and entries once again came flooding in. Many local schools used the opportunity for pupils to be creative during lessons, whilst others promoted the initiative and encouraged youngsters to take part. The judges were enormously impressed by the quality and detail of the entries and found it extremely difficult to single out the winners.

Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell commented: “I knew that judging both the naming and art competitions was not going to be easy, but it was even harder than I anticipated. There were a huge number of entries for the name of our splendid new helicopter and a large number of them were excellent. It was such a difficult and time consuming task to pick the best of the best.

“Judging the art competition with its different categories was also a terrific challenge with such a huge amount of young talent on display. The artistic quality was excellent and we had to look long and hard to come to our decisions. I found it such a privilege to be involved and to be able to appreciate the work and imagination that had gone into the entries.”

The result of the art competition was as follows. Well done to all!

Under 5’s:

  • Winner: Lola Kwan, (Hindhayes Infant School, Street)
  • Runners Up: Brandon West, Keira Allen

Ages 6-11

  • Winner: Rebekah Joy Fairweather, (Bishop Henderson School, Coleford)
  • Runners Up: Clementine Sophie Smith, Roxanna Bateman

Ages 12-17

  • Winner: Ho Him Xu (St. Mary’s C.E Middle School, Puddletown)
  • Runners Up: Emily Payne, Olivia Elvy