In August, the charity announced a competition to find a name for their aircraft and entries immediately began flooding in. By the time the closing date arrived, nearly 1,000 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 CEO), Anna Philipps (DSAA trustee), Paul Jelley and Jennifer Molloy (former patients), Paul Owen (DSAA operational lead) and Phil Merritt (pilot) met on 24 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 entrants submitted Pegasus as their preferred choice: Mrs Fear (Glastonbury), Poppy Holt (St Dunstan’s School, Glastonbury), Mark Williams (Frome) and Angela Andrews (Wincanton). Each will be invited to attend a formal naming ceremony in January where the name will be unveiled on the aircraft.
Annie Maw, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset 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 the charity’s younger audience. Many local schools used the opportunity for pupils to be creative during lessons, whilst others promoted the initiative and encouraged youngsters to take part.
Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell commented, “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:
Under 5s 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
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