The Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) Charity has strengthened its growing international reputation after receiving one of the world’s most coveted business awards in New York.

WAA received the Government or Non-Profit Organisation of the Year Gold Award at the recent Stevie Awards for Women in Business. This category recognises the achievements, since 1 July 2017, of women-owned and run organisations worldwide.

The winners were announced at the home of the awards in New York City.

The ‘Stevie’ is regarded as one of the world's premier business awards. It was created in 2002 to honour and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organisations and working professionals worldwide.

In addition, WAA Chief Executive Angela Hughes received four individual Silver awards in the Government or Non-Profit Woman of the Year, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovator of the Year and Most Innovative Women of the Year categories.

These accolades come just a week after Angela was given a lifetime achievement award by the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) during a ceremony in London. Last month, she was named Best Community Champion at the Best Business Women Awards in Welwyn Garden City.

Following this latest awards success, Angela said: “This has been a significant week in the history of Wales Air Ambulance. It is the culmination of nearly eighteen years of hard work by many people. Our focus has always been on creating the highest level of care for the people of Wales, however, a recent and unexpected by-product of this has been the international interest if what we are doing. In the past twelve months alone, we have been visited by air ambulance operations from Canada, China, Japan the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Our innovative approach to pre-hospital critical care is not only benefitting the people of Wales but also many other people across the world.

“These awards are a testament to the unbelievable generosity of the Welsh public, our skilful medics and pilots, and the Charity’s dedicated staff, trustees and volunteers, who are committed to our aim of saving time and saving lives.”

Angela was the first WAA employee appointed by the Board of Trustees and it was her responsibility to establish WAA as an all-Wales charity. There was no business plan, no other

staff and limited funds. Angela’s first target was to raise £1 million for the Charity’s one helicopter based in Swansea, with just her car and phone.

From this initial fundraising target seventeen years ago, WAA now raises the £6.5m needed every year to maintain the current helicopter operation. The Charity now has four helicopters based across Wales and is the largest air ambulance operation in the UK. In October of this year, WAA surpassed 30,000 missions since its inception in 2001.

Over the years, she has led a Charity that has raised more than £95 million in a country with a population of just three million.

WAA now has more than 110 staff and 650 volunteers. They support its four offices, four airbases, a social enterprise café in North Wales (Café HEMS) and eighteen retail shops.

The Charity’s latest innovative development has seen it take over the lease of Cardiff Heliport. It is believed to be the first time an air ambulance charity has taken operational control of a commercial heliport. All profits made will support WAA’s charitable mission of saving lives. The operation will be run through Wales Air Ambulance Trading Ltd for a clear distinction between trading and charitable funds.

With the ongoing and radical transformation of pre-hospital care in Wales, NHS and government leaders have spoken about WAA being an integral part of their future strategies.

A pioneering programme of healthcare in Wales has been introduced, called the Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) – also known as the ‘Welsh Flying Medics’.

Working in partnership with Welsh Government ministers, NHS Wales and a pool of passionate doctors, the Charity now has a dedicated team of senior consultants, critical care practitioners (CCPs) and helicopter transfer practitioners (HTPs) onboard its helicopters. This includes the introduction of A&E-standard equipment and drugs, and four different types of blood and blood products.

The Charity has also successfully established the national Children’s Wales Air Ambulance – its fourth aircraft. This service supports the transfer ill or injured Welsh babies and children between specialist hospitals across the UK.