The EAAA Inspiration Award’s 2021 Winners!

11 May 2021

This month we saw the return of our Inspiration Awards for the fourth year. The awards are a chance for us to celebrate our amazing supporters who have inspired us this year and those who continue to make a positive impact in our community. 

Beginning with a very long list of internal nominations, a special panel of judges had the difficult decision of whittling this long list down to only three in each category. We then took our shortlisted candidates to either a public vote or EAAA staff vote, to help us choose the winners! We have some familiar faces who helped us to announce the winners - find out who they are below. 

Over 2,000 of you voted in the awards this year. Thank you to everyone who participated throughout this process and for helping to put a smile on many people's faces! All of our supporters are a constant reminder of the fantastic community that we serve and we are so thankful for the continued support we receive - we simply couldn't do what we do without you! Thank you. 

Together we save lives

And the winners are...

Patrick Peal, Chief Executive at East Anglian Air Ambulance, announcing the winner of the Special CEO Award. 

Winner: Shelley Symonds

Shelley was the manager of the pre-school in which Annabel Brightwell, an EAAA patient, attended. Annabel was just three years old when she suffered a cardiac arrest whilst at school due to an unknown pre-existing heart condition. Shelley provided life-saving CPR on Annabel for approximately 20 minutes until the emergency services arrived and has been praised for her early CPR intervention, playing a vital role in Annabel’s recovery.  

EAAA's Dr Jon Barratt who attended Annabel on the day of the incident, alongside Dr Victor Inyang and CCP Chris Neil, said: “We as a team have discussed, at great length, what amazing work Shelley did that day in providing bystander CPR and we all wanted to formally acknowledge and recognise her contribution to the chain of survival.” 

The chain was perfectly formed that day; it was undoubtedly the quick response, professional skills and outstanding patient care by everyone involved in a devastating situation that resulted in a lovely three-year-old girl being saved.  

Since then, Shelley has continued to support EAAA with various fundraising challenges and is currently taking part in our Virtual Only The Brave challenge by aiming to walk/hack 60 miles in May and complete at least 10,000 steps a day! Go Shelley! Thank you for all that you do to support us.  

Lesley Dolphin, Afternoon Presenter on BBC Radio Suffolk, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Donor Award.

Winner: Shirley Saunders

Shirley is one of our incredible Suffolk-based supporters whose kindness and generosity can be felt throughout all corners of the charity. Not only has she raised an incredible amount of money for EAAA through selling merchandise at her dance classes, she  also goes above and beyond in helping us to identify possible funding opportunities and potential bucket collection locations to look into. When her classes were cancelled in 2020, with much determination, she came up with alternative ways to support us and raise awareness through her incredible ability to talk about EAAA and our work. Thank you, Shirley, for all that you do, we hugely appreciate you!

Becky Jago, Presenter, ITV Anglia, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Patient or Family of Patient Award.

Winner: Chris Marshall

In May last year, Chris was out cycling in Cromer when he needed our crews help after being involved in a serious road traffic collision.  Unfortunately Chris suffered major trauma injuries which has resulted in an incredibly difficult recovery journey. Throughout the year Chris has been nothing but positive and we admire his strength and determination. Over the last few weeks, he has managed to finally get back onto his bike and to celebrate he has signed up to the gruelling 435 mile Lap of Anglia event in August. This will be a huge mental and physical achievement and we will be behind Chris every step of the way!

Chris Goreham, Breakfast Presenter on BBC Radio Norfolk, announcing the winner of the Jamie Edghill Award for Exceptional Volunteering.

Winner: Wendy Wootton

Wendy is without a doubt totally and utterly committed to EAAA and has become a key volunteer to us. Wendy loves getting involved with the charity in any way she can and she has been exceptional in providing us with support over the last few years. Her passion and enthusiasm for EAAA is infectious and she is very highly regarded by colleagues across the charity. Moving forward, Wendy has recently become part of our volunteer 'Welcome' team, travelling from Ipswich to Norwich on a weekly basis to greet visitors at our new base. Her willingness to travel such a distance to help in such an important role shows her level of dedication to EAAA and we can't wait to see her friendly face every day, welcoming our supporters.

Dotty McLeod, Breakfast Presenter on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Life Saver Award.

Winner: Norfolk Blood Bikes and SERV Suffolk & Cambridgeshire

Run by local volunteers, the Blood Bikes transport blood, plasma, platelets, samples, vaccines, donor breast milk and any other urgently required medical items to hospitals in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire including us at East Anglian Air Ambulance. It is their role to ensure we receive daily deliveries of blood products (whatever the date or weather) and at no cost to the NHS, the organisations rely entirely on donations to keep them on the road. They are instrumental in the delivery of these life-saving products across the region and we think they are unsung heroes when it comes to saving lives! We would like to thank everyone in the blood bike network for their tireless work, 365 days of the year!

Captain Matt Sandbach, Pilot at East Anglian Air Ambulance, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Business Award

Winner: Knicat Bakery & Park Lane Christmas Lights

For the last four years, Park Lane Christmas Lights have raised money for EAAA through their impressive display in Downham Market, raising around £1,000 each year. 2020 was no exception where they organised their best display yet, helping to exceed their fundraising target. One of the houses that hosts the display also runs a bakery in the local town called Knicat Bakery. As well as their customers being huge contributors to this event each year, the bakery also holds collection boxes in store all year round. The business always supports us with a smile on their faces and we are so thankful for their dedicated support in the local area.

Chris Mann, Afternoon Presenter on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Event Fundraiser Award.

Winner: Robert Taylor

Robert was born with a degenerative eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa that unfortunately meant his eye-sight would deteriorate throughout his life. By the time he was in his 40s, he was registered blind. As a sports lover, Robert has never let his disability hold him back. In the early 2000s he completed several marathons including London and Berlin, and even to this day continues to walk and run where possible. More recently, he has got into writing novels, his first being published in 2014.Inspired by the work of our healthcare workers Robert pledged to walk and run 310k in his village in May 2020 to raise funds for EAAA. Despite being blind and in his 60s he completed the challenge and covered at least 10k a day, raising more than £2,500! Robert remains so passionate for EAAA and the work we do and is already looking for more ways he can get involved!

Sarah Lilley, Presenter on BBC Radio Suffolk, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Young Fundraiser Award.

Winner: Alex Dudgeon

Alex Dudgeon is 14 years old and for the last few years he has saved up his pocket money every week to buy Christmas lights so he could put them up during the festive season to help raise funds for our charity. Alex made the decision on his own to support us after his younger niece and her father were involved in a car accident. He would help with jobs around the house to earn his pocket money and manages to set up all of the lights on his own, with very little help from his family. At just 14 years old we think this is a remarkable thing to do and we would like to thank him for his amazing support and incredible festive displays!

Dr Victor Inyang, EAAA Medical Director, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Crew Member Award.

Winner: Pam Chrispin

Not only is Doctor Pam Chrispin loved by all, but she has been an amazing EAAA representative at various fundraising events during the last year. We believe she has been key to the fantastic engagement some of these events have seen.  Not only has she been a Team Captain for our virtual event Together We Run, and volunteered her time to share some of her insights at our International Women's Day event (all whilst still working on the frontline) now Pam has signed herself up to Virtual Only The Brave and pledged to walk 100 miles this May! Is there anything she can’t do? Overall, Pam is an incredible woman who we believe should be recognised for her time and enthusiasm for EAAA, on and beyond the frontline.

Stuart Wyle, Director of Engagement and Income at EAAA, announcing the winner of the Most Inspirational Group, Team or Club Award


In August 2020, Phil Brown, Jim Hodgkinson and Jonathan Holmes, otherwise known as team LEJOG4EAAA tackled the iconic Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle route. The reason for choosing to support EAAA with this gruelling challenge is one close to their hearts, after a friend from their cycling group needed the help of our crew. The challenge was completed over 13 tough days, where they cycled over 1,000 miles and climbed 73,265 feet in total. This is an astounding challenge and we are so proud of Phil, Jim and Jonathan for completing it in aid of EAAA.

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