A Pembrokeshire aviation boss whose own life was saved by the Wales Air Ambulance has raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Steve Landrey, 51, has embarked on an epic 186-mile walk to raise thousands of pounds for Wales Air Ambulance and the British Heart Foundation.

Steve, who worked as European managing director for air ambulance operator, Babcock, collapsed while out cycling with friends. He suffered a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.

Thankfully the Wales Air Ambulance was able to respond swiftly to the scene and gave Steve the lifesaving care he needed.

Ironically, Babcock holds the contract to run the Wales Air Ambulance’s aviation operation.

Steve said: “It was incredible to be on the receiving end of the work I was previously involved in providing. Like every other patient, I was in a frightening and vulnerable situation and without the fast response and quality care offered by the Wales Air Ambulance critical care team and others on the scene I may not be here today.

“Undertaking this fundraising walk is my way of showing my thanks for the care I received. When I managed Babcock’s European air ambulance operations I was always proud of the people who worked with me but this has just reinforced my faith in their dedication and expertise.”

When he collapsed, Steve was with his brother-in-law Chris, who quickly started CPR. He was also fortunate that in the traffic passing the scene was an off-duty fire officer with his first responder girlfriend. They had made a wrong turn on a day out and had a defib unit with them, which they used to restart Steve’s heart.

After the air ambulance arrived, its critical care medics escorted Steve via a road ambulance to hospital in Swansea.  

After having an emergency stent procedure, Steve was discharged from hospital three days later and the road to recovery started.

Just nine months later he started his epic challenge, with his cardiac rehabilitation instructor David Braithwaite, and has already clocked off more than half of the186 miles.

Steve, who is walking twice a week to get the miles in, has also been joined on his fundraiser by his wife Katrina and their two dogs, Jumble and Nigel. Family and friends will also join them throughout the challenge.

The former managing director has smashed his fundraising target of £1,500 by so far raising £2,451.

Steve added: “The pandemic has certainly made us all aware of the incredible job our medical professionals provide for us all. When you come into emergency contact with it as I did, it is certainly a humbling experience.

“All funds will go to the British Heart Foundation to support the incredible work they do to support those suffering from cardiac conditions and the critical research work they undertake and the Wales Air Ambulance Charity for the invaluable emergency medical response they provide across Wales.

“I’m very pleased with the amount raised so far. It would be fantastic if we could raise more and perhaps double the amount by the end of the walk.”

Babcock Director Hayley Belmore said: “We know what we do is important, and we are extremely proud to be part of the incredible service the Wales Air Ambulance Charity provides, but when you respond to someone you know, it really amplifies it. Everyone at Babcock is so pleased Steve has made such a good recovery and we wish him the best for his epic fundraiser!”

Dr Sue Barnes, Wales Air Ambulance Chief Executive, said: “It’s a great relief to hear that Steve is recovering well after his illness and that we were able to be there for him in his time of need. Our Charity has worked in partnership with Babcock for many years and Steve was on the receiving end of a service that he has proactively been involved in. It’s incredible to see his resilience following his cardiac arrest and his fundraising efforts will benefit two very important charities. On behalf of our Charity, I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Steve and his supporters.

You can show your support to Steve by donating to his Virgin Money Giving fundraising page Steve Landrey - Walking 186 miles of Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.