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A dedicated volunteer and a successful fundraising campaign for its new airbase have resulted in Wiltshire Air Ambulance winning two prestigious awards.
The charity enjoyed its success at the Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence, run by the Association of Air Ambulances, at a ceremony in London on Nov. 12.
Colin Smith, of Chippenham, Wiltshire, won the Charity Volunteer of the Year award, while Wiltshire Air Ambulance won the Campaign of the Year award for its Airbase Appeal.
The awards recognize exceptional people in the air ambulance community who are helping to save and improve lives.
Colin, 78, is Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s longest-serving volunteer and coordinates the charity’s collection tins, which are in shops, pubs and businesses all over the county.
In his 19 years with the charity, Colin has helped increase the number of collection tins from 50 to 1,000 across the county, travelling 40,000 miles – the equivalent of more than one and a half times around the world – without claiming a single penny in mileage expenses.
In total, Colin has volunteered 21,600 hours of his time (the equivalent of 2.46 years), helping to raise in the region of £475,000 from the collection tins.
Colin, who is married to Joy, and has two daughters and five grandchildren, said: “I was extremely pleased to win the award, but I have received it on behalf of all the other volunteers at Wiltshire Air Ambulance who do such good work.
“I enjoy volunteering with Wiltshire Air Ambulance because it is a way of giving something back. I like travelling around the county and meeting people who raise funds for the charity by having collection tins.”
Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Airbase Appeal was the other big winner on the night, after being successful in raising the funds needed for a new airbase, bringing together the helicopter, operational and fundraising team. The new airbase at Semington, near Melksham, opened in May 2018.
The campaign included a dedicated Airbase Appeal microsite and a 16-month readers’ appeal in local newspapers raising awareness and donations. As well as targeting existing supporters, the Airbase Appeal was successful in attracting new supporters, including grant-making trusts and businesses.
David Philpott, chief executive of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We are delighted to have picked up two awards in the Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence.
“Colin Smith’s dedication to our charity is inspiring. He doesn’t volunteer to win awards and is extremely modest, but he richly deserves this accolade from the Association of Air Ambulances. He has built such a good rapport with our supporters and he is conscientious, hard-working and reliable.
“Our Airbase Appeal was a major capital appeal that involved the whole Wiltshire Air Ambulance team. The success of the campaign is due to the hard work of everyone involved and the wonderful support we received, which enabled us to secure our future by building and owning our own airbase.”