Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA) has been shortlisted as a finalist in four categories at this year’s Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence.

These annual awards, organised by Air Ambulances UK, celebrate and recognise the specialist life-saving skills and commitments of those within the air ambulance community.

Captain Mario Carretta, pictured above, has been DSAA’s Unit Chief Pilot since 2017 and shortlisted as a finalist in the Pilot of the Year category. During his six-and-a-half years with DSAA, he has flown more than 1,000 missions, enabling the life-saving charity to reach and treat many hundreds of critically ill and injured patients.

Mario’s airmanship is not the only reason he has been shortlisted in this category. His unfaltering dedication to patient need stands above many others in this role, whilst his professionalism and innovative ideas have not only benefitted the people of Dorset and Somerset, but air ambulance services and their patients across the UK.

Advanced Practitioner Matt Sawyer, pictured above, has been recognised in the Critical Care Practitioner of the Year category making the final shortlist. In the past 12 months, Matt has demonstrated excellent clinical standards in delivering the highest possible quality of medical care to patients.

Through his leadership and role modelling, he has trained, educated, inspired and supported the whole team to extend the content of patient advocacy to new levels. Matt has taken on a multitude of projects, devoting significant time (often on a voluntary basis) to enhancing DSAA operations. He is a wonderful patient advocate and clinical innovator, who inspires others to achieve more for patients every day.

Caroline Guy, pictured above, has been Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance’s Lottery Manager for over 18 years, being the longest-serving employee of the charity. She has been shortlisted in the Charity Staff Member of the Year category for her immense dedication to the cause, innovative ways of working and her dynamic yet caring nature as a manager to her very small team.

Caroline has worked and led with such modesty that it would be all too easy to overlook her huge contribution to saving lives, not only for the past 18 years, but for many years to come through the foundations she has built generating income for the charity through the lottery and committed giving schemes.

This year’s Campaign of the Year sees Team DSAA become a finalist for their Saving Lives at Glastonbury initiative. The campaign brought together three different organisations (DSAA, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and the Resuscitation Council UK) with a shared objective to save lives.

Its core aim was to empower those attending the world-famous Glastonbury Festival, to act in an emergency by learning how to perform CPR and how to use a defibrillator to save someone’s life following a cardiac arrest.

Charles Hackett, Chief Executive Officer of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, said: “We are delighted to be recognised in four categories at this year’s Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence. Charities are built on the combination of steadfast commitment and continual innovation.”

“The individuals and campaign which have been recognised at a national level bring both of these together, for our patients, their families and for the wider public that we interact with.”

“To be nominated by your peers is very special and highlights those who have gone above and beyond. We look forward to finding out the winners in November.”

A full list of the award categories and those who have been shortlisted can be found at and the winners will be announced on Monday 30th November.

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