A South Wales business owner will be heading on an “epic adventure” this summer, raising funds for the Wales Air Ambulance charity along the way. 

Ceri Dutch-John, who runs Victoria Park Pies in Cardiff, will be taking on the South African terrain with her daughter and sister-in-law, for the Put Foot Rally.

They will navigate their vehicles around deserts, canyons, mountain ranges, forests and national parks, covering four countries and around 6,000 km meeting checkpoints along the way. The event is not for the fainthearted and will be unassisted – with no medical or mechanical back-up or planning assistance. 

Ceri is no stranger to driving trips, the family often get behind the wheel for holidays in the UK and Europe. She said: “We decided that we would take part in the Put Foot Rally in July because we thought it was going to be epic.  

“We wanted to be involved with the foundation that raises money initially to put shoes on children’s feet in South Africa, in various schools.  

“Everyone taking part must raise a certain amount for them and then any money afterwards we can donate to a charity of our choice.  

“As a business we have always supported the Wales Air Ambulance and wanted to do so again with this event.” 

Wales Air Ambulance is the only air ambulance charity, based in, and dedicated to the people to Wales and is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.

It is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and, if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery.  

Victoria Park Pies is a family business which has been trading in South Wales since 1909 and has raised money over the years for the air ambulance charity, by donating through the 5p carrier bag levy. 

Ceri said: “We’ve always supported the air ambulance through our retail outlets, and we figured the charity could do with some extra money, to support the service it provides. We’d love to raise as much money as we can and have set up a Go Fund Me Page so if anyone would like to support us, we would be grateful for your donations. 
“If anyone wants to follow our journey, they can do that through our Welsh Girlies on Tour page on Facebook – we’ll be updating that regularly throughout the trip.”

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity relies on public donations to raise the £11.2 million required every year to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

Hannah Bartlett, Wales Air Ambulance’s Supporter Engagement Manager, said: “We wish team Welsh Girlies all the very best on their African adventure! It’s amazing that they are taking on this huge challenge which is helping children in South Africa by providing shoes for those in school. 

“We are moved that they have chosen to also raise vital funds for us as they travel through four countries on their 6,000 km journey. The crew on board travel the length and breadth of Wales each day helping those in life or limb-saving situations and without the generosity of fundraisers, we would be unable to save lives across Wales." 

If you would like to donate to the group’s challenge, visit https://gofund.me/5fe6c057