A Morriston Hospital pharmaceutical technician, who was a gifted dressage rider, will be remembered at a fundraising event in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance Charity this weekend.

Alice Smith, tragically passed away after being hit by a car whilst cycling between Hendy and Llanon in Carmarthenshire. The 31-year-old had been training to compete in a triathlon in Barcelona. 

Alice’s friend, Briony Cutler met the member of the British Dressage Wales eight years ago. 

Briony said: “Alice was a wonderful person who would do anything for her horses. The horse-riding community wanted to come together to do something special to remember Alice.”

On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June, the Welsh Dressage Championships are being staged in Alice’s honour at Little Mill Equestrian in Bronwydd, Carmarthen, raising funds for The Wales Air Ambulance Charity.

Briony said: “Wales Air Ambulance is valuable to people like us in a sport where we are unfortunately more likely to need its help. 

“I hadn’t realised what the air ambulance crew could do at the scene. I think most people take it for granted - until you actually need them.”

The air ambulance service in Wales 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.

Alice was highly regarded within the community and was incredibly dedicated.  

Briony continued: “Alice’s story is very tragic, and we wanted to show her family and friends how much she was loved and respected. She was a real talent.

“She started doing dressage with her pony that she had broken in herself and trained him incredibly well. They qualified for a big championship called the Petplan Finals, but a month before the event, her horse became ill, and was put to sleep.

“After a couple of months, she started to look for another horse and found one which she had fallen in love with.”

She continued: “Alice broke the horse in and started training her, and they qualified for the finals again, but she then had an accident and broke her pelvis so could not compete.

“She went through intense rehabilitation and recovery and qualified for a third time and was due to compete in the middle of March.

“Sadly, Alice suffered fatal injuries in a road traffic collision as she cycled to see her horse at the stables and was never able to achieve her dream.”

The Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £11.2 million each year to keep its helicopters in the sky and its rapid response vehicles on the road.

British Dressage Wales has been working in partnership with Susanne Williams from Little Mill Equestrian to raise money for the all-Wales Charity in Alice’s memory.

Briony said: “We support the running of the Welsh Dressage Championships each year, it’s a two-day competition where participants compete to be the champion or reserve champion.

“This year we are doing something a little bit different, as it is being run as a fundraiser for the Wales Air Ambulance. I know it costs millions to fund the service, but many people don’t realise.”

In the buildup to the main event, Susanne also organised an online Facebook auction which raised £3,433. 

Briony who helped to coordinate the auction said: “We had forty-seven auction lots donated – they were set up over three days so people could like, follow, and join the page. 

“Some of the auction items were personal to Alice as well – because people who knew her wanted to donate an item.”

Mark Stevens, Head of Fundraising at Wales Air Ambulance said: “We were deeply saddened to hear about Alice’s accident, and our condolences remain with her family and friends at such a difficult time. It is clear to see that Alice touched the lives of many, and this is an incredibly special way to commemorate her. 

“We’d like to thank British Dressage Wales and Little Mill Equestrian for choosing to support our charity. Fundraisers like this helps to keep our helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road. Diolch yn fawr.”

Reflecting on the tribute to Alice, Briony said: “Alice was on such a long journey to achieving her dressage goals, it was a heartfelt journey and we wanted to create something special in her memory for a lifesaving cause.”

“We hope that both fundraisers will raise a lot of money for the Wales Air Ambulance so that the service can continue helping people who are critically ill or injured.”