Published: 31 July 2023

A Bala café has raised £510 for the Wales Air Ambulance in memory of a young medical student who tragically lost his life in a road traffic collision last summer.

Staff at the Lakeside Café, Bala, which has now been taken over, made up bags of dog treats for their four-legged customers and decided to donate the money raised in memory of Steven James Lee who was just 26-years-old when he died.

Mr Lee, who had nearly completed a degree in medicine, had been driving his motorbike on the A40 in Herefordshire on 11 August when he was involved in a collision.

Adam Wilkinson, former café manager at Lakeside Café Bala, said the idea to donate money for the dog treats in Mr Lee’s memory originated from one of his staff.

He said: “We had been making up dog biscuit treats and selling them for £2.50 in the café for the Wales Air Ambulance. They were really popular with tourists and walkers stopping off at the café on Bala Lake.

“When my employee Linda heard about Steven’s tragic accident, she suggested that we sold the treats in his memory. Although he was not local to Bala, Linda knew his family and we were all touched by Steven’s accident. He was a promising individual who was a medical student and was also a pilot instructor, so it seemed fitting we gave it to the Wales Air Ambulance.”  

Mr Lee was from Rhos-on-Sea in Conwy, but lived in Swansea while he was finishing his degree in Medicine at Swansea University.

He also had a degree in biology, a masters in Immunology and was a commissioned officer in the RAF Cadets. He had been a flight instructor since he was 22-years-old and was instrumental in creating the Swansea Medical Health Choir. Mr Lee had completed The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and was a keen photographer and piano teacher.

Family friend Linda Moon said she had known Mr Lee’s sister Alison when they worked in Liverpool together and had stayed in contact.

She said: “Steven was a really promising young man and was highly qualified. He had a great future ahead of him and was extremely talented. After hearing about his accident, I felt we should do something in his memory in the café.

“His family were touched when we said we were going to donate the money we had raised by selling dog treats in Steven’s memory.

“It only seemed appropriate we gave it to the Wales Air Ambulance given Steven’s dedication to aviation and the fact he was so close to finishing his degree in medicine.

“While Steven wasn't attended by the Wales Air Ambulance, we still wanted the money dedicated in his name as so many motorbike accidents happen in this area and the rural areas rely on the air ambulance. It is an extremely worthy cause.”

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity relies on public donations to raise the £8 million required every year to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.