A Pembrokeshire livery yard has raised £2,021 for the Wales Air Ambulance after completing a sponsored hackathon.

The riders, from St Brides Bay Pony Loaning Yard, aimed to ride or lead the horses and ponies 100 miles during a week in aid of the lifesaving charity.

Over 80 participants rode or lead 20 different horses and ponies as part of the livery’s ‘My20’ fundraiser. My20 allowed the participant to set themselves a challenge, task or activity that related to the number '20' to mark the Charity’s 20 years anniversary.

A range of different ages took part in the fundraiser, from two-year-olds, who walked the Shetlands and 60-year-olds. They smashed their 100mile target, which had to take place under government guidelines, by clocking over 250 miles.

Lucy Lewis, from St Brides Bay Pony Loaning Yard, said: “We feel immensely proud of the amount raised. We’d hoped to raise £100 and we raised £2,021. We had fantastic support - all of our riders took part, 80 riders and Shetland shufflers in all, who all asked family and friends to help with a donation.

“We wanted to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity as, being horse riders, we never know what difficulties we might be faced with and living in this beautifully, remote part of Pembrokeshire we are often hacking out around the beaches and off-track bridle-ways which can be inaccessible for some of the emergency services.

“It seemed that most of us have a story to tell about someone we know who has been so grateful to the air ambulance. We were shocked to realise the air ambulance is a charity and rely on public support to fund the service. We had so much fun in our small Covid bubbles and the horses had a great time - no schooling that week, just exploring!”

All riders were congratulated on their efforts and St Brides Bay Pony Loaning Yard recognised the riders who rode the furthest and who raised the most funds when the fundraiser was completed.

Hallie Rickard raised the most money individually and Sian Sobrero rode the most miles throughout the week, she rode over 50 miles on her loan horse, Tia.

Ffion Lewis rode the longest, single hack on her pony, Toby.

In total the participants raised £1,665, St Brides Bay Pony Loaning Yard donated a further £356 to make the total the same as the year they completed the challenge - 2021.

The riders all loan the ponies from St Brides Bay Pony Loaning Yard. It is a share loaning yard ‘with a fantastic supportive group of riders’.

Reflecting on raising so much money for the Charity, Lucy added: “It was such a good feeling, to be helping out a charity in such a strange time with so many uncertainties. We were glad to focus on the horses and know we would be helping such a worthy charity.”

In December 2020 the Charity achieved its aim of operating a 24/7 service. It needs to raise £8 million ever year to keep the helicopters in the air. 

Katie Macro, the Charity’s South West Wales Community Fundraiser, said: “Congratulations to everyone at St Brides Bay Pony Loaning Yard for completing their challenge, they initially wanted to raise £100 and smashed their fundraising target by raising an amazing £2,021 for the Wales Air Ambulance. It is always lovely to hear of people coming up with their own unique fundraiser, like the ‘hackathon’. Thank you to every one of you who took part and who raised vital funds for our lifesaving Charity. The money you have raised, will help us to help others.”

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.