Not for Profit

‘Huge thank you’ from Dorset Air Ambulance as their cycle challenge raises £46k and counting

By Daniel Face [email protected]

Published: May 23, 2024 | Updated: 23rd May 2024

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance held their 13th annual Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge on Saturday, drawing hundreds of keen riders.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance logoTaking part were former patients who’d experienced the work of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance first-hand – others cycled in memory of loved ones, as a personal challenge, or as a team.

They were all invited to complete either the challenging 55-mile route from Watchet Harbour in Somerset, or a shorter 11-mile route which started at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton. Both distances finished in the seaside resort of West Bay.

Watchet town crier David Milton started the event with a 10-second countdown, with members of the public lining the roads along the route in support.

At the finish line, West Bay was abuzz with music and interviews from Keep106 radio, and everyone enjoyed the refreshments on offer.

There were plenty of incredible stories of courage, determination and triumph shared on the day, with many hugs and tears shed by families, friends and loved ones.

Although the event is not a race, the first man to cross the finish line was Sam Beard from Yeovil, and the first woman was Emma Fisher from Sherborne.

At 80 years young, John Plested from Yeovil and Alan Harris from Weymouth were the oldest participants who completed the challenging 55-mile route, while 11-year-old Isabel Swancutt from Bridport was the youngest.

The youngest children to start the 11-mile route were six-year-old Eva Hyde from Fareham and James Molyneux from Wellington.

Alana Hardy, fundraising events officer for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, said: “What an incredible day we had at our annual Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge. Everyone who took part should be so proud of what they’ve achieved.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the cyclists and to everyone who helped to organise the event, including our incredible volunteers and wonderful supporters.

“Over £46,000 has already been raised for this year’s event, which is incredible!

“Each lifesaving mission that our crew are tasked to costs approximately £3,500, so we’re immensely grateful to everyone for raising vital funds for our charity – so that our crew can be there for patients today, tomorrow and in the future.”

The next event on the air ambulance calendar is the 5K Twilight Shift run (or walk!) at Henstridge Airfield on Saturday 6 July.

Online registration is open now at dsairambulance.org.uk/event/the-5k-twilight-shift-2024

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is keen to thank all those who supported the event, including Bicycle Chain, The Bell Inn Creech St Michael, Carly Press Printing, Cotswold First Aid, Garador, Timewise, Glastonbury Spring Water, Hunts Food Group, Ilminster Ambulance Station, DocBike, Keep106 and The Royal Oak Pub Drimpton.

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