Pilots and staff with the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, which is headquartered in Wellington, are in the runnings to take top spot in the 'excellence awards.'

The annual Air Ambulance Awards of Excellence celebrate the life-saving work carried out the service across the country.

Captain Mario Carretta has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 'pilot of the year' category. Captain Maretta has been Dorset and Somerset's chief pilot since 2017, in which time he has flown more than 1,000 missions to treat injured patients.

Nominated by the service for his 'exemplary airmanship' and 'unfaltering dedication' he is now in with a shot of taking the top spot in the contest.

Also up for an award is Matt Sawyer, who has reached the final shortlist in the 'critical care practitioner' category. The service said Mr Sawyer had demonstrated excellence in delivering 'the highest possible quality' medical care to patients.

Caroline Guy is the charity's longest serving member of staff with 18 years of service. She has been recognised for her work as the charity's lottery manager, where she has innovated to help raise money for the service.

Charles Hackett, the Chief Executive Officer of the charity 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."