A new crew mem-bear joins Wiltshire Air Ambulance

By Anita Jaynes on 5 December, 2017

Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s newest recruit – a female pilot bear mascot – has been in demand attending fundraising events across the county.

The new captain has been learning from her paramedic bear crewmate Wilber, the charity’s other mascot.

The duo teamed up for the pilot mascot’s first public appearances over the weekend, at the switching on of Melksham’s Christmas lights on Saturday (2 December) and at the Swindon Santa Run on Sunday (3 December) and received a great reaction from the public.

There will be other public appearances for the new mascot, but in the meantime Wiltshire Air Ambulance is asking the public to suggest a name for her.

An online competition to name the pilot mascot runs until 12noon on Monday 11 December 2017. Entries can be made on the charity’s Facebook page – http://bit.ly/2A0Uece

The winner will be invited to meet the mascot at the charity’s Operations Centre in Devizes.

As with Wilber, the pilot mascot is sponsored by Soft Options Water Softeners Limited, a family run business based in Burbage, near Marlborough. Soft Options supply and install water softeners and filtered drinking water systems, and also offer water softener servicing and salt supplies for both domestic and commercial use.

Rebecca de la Bedoyere, Senior Fundraising Manager at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We’re thrilled to have our new mascot join the team. Our other mascot, Wilber, has been in incredible demand ever since he first joined us in September 2016 – so much so that we were having to turn requests down.

“As Wilber is a paramedic it was the obvious choice to make our new mascot a pilot, as both roles are critical to the operation on an air ambulance service. We didn’t set out to make Wilber a male bear but he has adapted that persona, so it made sense to have a female mascot this time, especially as our own pilot, Nicky, was the first female air ambulance pilot in the UK!

“We approached Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd to see if they would also like to sponsor our second mascot. The partnership has been so successful that they immediately said yes, which is fantastic and really shows their commitment to our lifesaving work.

“We’re looking forward to suggestions for our new mascot’s name. Wiltshire Air Ambulance exists for and because of the people of Wiltshire and we want our pilot mascot to be a real part of the community. Giving our supporters the opportunity to name her is a great way of getting everyone involved.”

Alison Cook and Simon Neate, Directors of Soft Options Water Softeners Limited, said: “We are elated to be sponsoring the new Wiltshire Air Ambulance mascot. We have seen the impact that Wilber has made over the past year and hope that the new addition will help increase fundraising even more.

“As a small family run business based in Burbage, Wiltshire, it is important to us to support the community we live and work in. We feel strongly about supporting Wiltshire Air Ambulance as we understand the importance of this much needed resource in our rural community.”

Pictured above: Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s new pilot mascot (centre) with (l-r) Alison Cook of Soft Options Water Softeners Limited, Wilber the mascot, Wiltshire Air Ambulance pilot Matt Wilcock and Simon Neate of Soft Options Water Softeners Limited.