Published: 03 June 2024

A couple who run an Aberdyfi pub are hoping to grow their annual ‘Slip to the Brit’ fundraising walk in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance Charity into a bigger event. 

Gary and Seona Loveman, who are originally from Sussex moved to North Wales nine years ago.

Seona who was a regular visitor to the village as a young child, (there is even a watercolour in the bar painted by her mother in the 1960s), wants to create an event celebrating the beauty of the region.

Seona said: “When we first came here, we had a Wine bar in Tywyn. Then Covid and the lockdowns happened, and we decided to move to Aberdyfi and take over the Britannia Inn. 

“When we left, people would say ‘oh no we have to walk up the beach now to come to you and get a beer.’

“That was kind of the lightbulb moment for me. I thought why not create an event starting in Tywyn, and ending in our village, but do some good too, raising funds for charity.

“The air ambulance is the biggest one, that everyone can relate to. It applies to all sorts of people, whatever your age, whatever your level of health or fitness. You might need them one day.”

She added: “An accident can happen to anyone, at any time and the charity is so relevant in our area with the number of visitors who come here all the time.

“It is so important that critically injured or sick patients get the help they need, and the air ambulance team provides that lifesaving support.”

Wales Air Ambulance 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. 

It 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.

Seona says it is “so important to support the work of the air ambulance and our annual event can hopefully play a part in raising awareness about its lifesaving work.”

This year’s event took place on Saturday 3 May with people encouraged to bring their dog or wear fancy dress.

Seona said: “The dressing up bit has really taken off! It would appear quite a lot of grown men enjoy dressing up in very brightly coloured outfits and running around in public.

“We also created a film too, the drone footage is beautiful, it really shows how pretty this region is. We have a lovely harbour, long sandy beach, and the golf club - it’s officially number three in Wales!”

 The Lovemans are still raising funds on the back of it, Seona said: “When people sign up online, they pay £10.00. We also tend to get extra donations coming in in the following weeks after the event.

“So, on the day each person will probably bring 3 or 4 family or friends who also donate to the buckets or collections tins.

“We had one guy; he got his friends to sponsor him individually and he came on the day with the best part of £250.”

She added: “We find that people will pop into the bar and say ‘I wasn’t here, but here’s £50 or whatever they can afford. People want to help, and it makes it easy for them to do that because they have had a good day out.”

It’s so popular, Seona said:” I’ve already heard people saying, when are you going to do it again next year? Have we got a date yet for when you are going to do it? 

“We’re going to do it again for the air ambulance charity. So, it will be Saturday 3 May 2025, as that’s in term-time.”

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity must raise £11.2 million each year to keep our helicopters in the air and Rapid Response Vehicles on the road – with donations and fundraising events key to the service’s survival.

Seona said: “It feels great to help towards the running costs, I just wish we could raise more. Because clearly £3,000 doesn’t get the helicopter off the ground I appreciate the huge cost involved. And it would be nice to be a bigger event another year. 

“I do have ambitions for it to grow into a proper weekend carnival/ festival type thing. We did the first one to get it known, more importantly to get the trust of the authorities that I could run an event. 

“This year was step two, to get it publicised and show it to be the fun, carnival type event that it was.”

Fundraising Manager for North West Wales, Elaine Orr, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Seona and Gary for raising thousands for our lifesaving service. It’s great that they are using this event to help shine a light on Aberdyfi and Tywyn, it has stunning scenery and hopefully this will attract more visitors to the area each May.

“A big thank you too, to those who have generously donated, every pound counts – it ensures we can keep our helicopters in the sky and rapid response vehicles on the road. It would be wonderful to see ‘Slip to the Brit’ grow and we wish the organisers and villagers involved every success, as they try to raise as much as they can for our charity.”