We bid farewell to two of our DSAA family, while also welcoming a brand new member, a beautiful new baby and the return of a familiar face.

Farewell to Leonie

In January, Leonie Middle made her last flight as a DSAA Critical Care Practitioner. Leonie has been with the charity for 12 years and has achieved a huge amount for the people of Dorset and Somerset during this time.

In 2009, Leonie joined us after passing a gruelling Dartmoor-based selection process. She became one of the new-era of DSAA practitioners working in a full-time role. Since then, she has worked hard to develop and shape our service towards the future and has supported the expansion of our clinical team by almost ten-fold during her time.

In 2013, Leonie started her Hertfordshire University education programme, successfully achieving her Post-Graduate Certificate in Critical Care. She has subsequently mentored new members of the team, provided hundreds of hours of support for future generations and has inspired other young clinicians to achieve more for patients.

Hundreds of lives have been transformed by the clinical care that Leonie has provided over the years. She has been nominated multiple times at the National Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence, most recently for the incredible care she provided to a child who fell hundreds of feet down a cliff.

Leonie’s compassion has been shared more widely than direct patient care. She has led the DSAA welfare team; her dry sense of humour has been a great strength, buoying the spirits of the team through challenging times. She has also brought this experience to the whole of the ambulance service, within her recent lead role for staff welfare for all SWASfT air operations. She has been a strong and proud advocate of the charity, giving many hours talking to the public about our work. What’s more, she even took part in our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge and cycled the gruelling 55 miles solo in support of us.

Leonie, thank you for all you have achieved for the people of Dorset and Somerset and for your incredible commitment to the charity.

Farewell to Max

Pilot Max Hoskins has served with the charity for an amazing 16 years. During this time, he has enabled our clinical team to reach thousands of patients and has then safely transferred these patients to hospital. This represents a very significant service to our local community and we want to take the opportunity to thank him for this. Max has a gift for alliteration and has utilised this in support of charity campaigns to great effect. He has always acted as an ambassador for the charity, giving engaging and detailed talks to the public about our service. He will certainly be missed.

Max has decided to branch out and become a touring HEMS pilot, providing holiday and sickness cover for the nine air ambulance charity bases across the UK who are serviced by Specialist Aviation Services.

After Max’s last shift on 24th August, members of the crew and the charity team ‘zoomed’ in to pay thanks and watch as he opened his farewell gifts. One of them was a composite print, consisting of line drawings of our BO105 and EC135 helicopters and a print of an original painting of Pegasus flying over two recognisable landmarks. During Max’s 16 years of service, he had flown all three helicopters.

Welcome Carla

We are delighted to welcome Carla Yerbury (right) who joined us back in November as Digital Communications Officer. Carla previously worked for St. Margaret’s Hospice and the Jubilee Sailing Trust. She has experience of fundraising, marketing and communications and we are very excited to have her on board.

Baby News

We are delighted to share the news that our Community Fundraising Officer, Leanne Colverson (left), gave birth to a beautiful baby girl called Lola Grace on 31st December 2020. Lola weighed in at a whopping 9lb 2oz. What a wonderful start to the new year for Leanne and her partner Alex. Sending all our love to you all!

Welcome Back!

Wow, how time has flown by! Alana Hardy (right) has now returned from maternity leave after giving birth to the gorgeous baby Arthur last April. We are delighted to have Alana back, although we did get to keep up with their adventures over the past few months, when both Arthur and Alana joined us on numerous occasions for our weekly zoom call! This has been a brilliant way of us all staying in touch, while many of the team have been working from home during the pandemic. Welcome back Alana!