Published: 18 June 2024

A Carmarthenshire cycle club got on their bikes to raise vital funds for the Wales Air Ambulance.

Towy Riders collectively cycled 1,010 miles to celebrate the start of the Giro d’Italia, an annual multiple-stage bicycle race held in Italy. The distance cycled by the Carmarthenshire club equates to the same distance between the Pembrey Country Park and the start ramp of the Giro d’Italia.

The successful fundraising event raised an incredible £2,182 towards the lifesaving service. 63 riders cycled a total of 596 flat laps and 795 hill laps to cover the distance. As well as club members, friends and family also contributed.

Reflecting on why the Charity was chosen, Edward Davies, Towy Riders secretary said: “We polled our members to see which charity they would like to raise money for. We got many responses saying that the Wales Air Ambulance had played an important part in their life, not necessarily linked to cycling. They recognised its importance to so many of us when we cycle, run, hike or whatever.

“The event went really well. We were blown away by the support shown from everyone. We knew the challenge would be hard but to be rewarded by such generosity made us very determined to reach that goal.”

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. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery.   

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.  

As a pan-Wales service, the dedicated air ambulance crews, regardless of where they are based, will travel the length and breadth of the country to deliver emergency lifesaving care. 

The Towy Riders, who range from four-year-olds to retired adults, were also delighted to receive support from friends and family who set up a cake and refreshments stall to raise funds.

Mark Stevens, Head of Fundraising for the Wales Air Ambulance said: “A huge thank you to Towy Riders, who cycled an incredible 1,010 miles for us. It is wonderful to hear that people of all ages took part, including little ones as young as four. Fundraisers like this enable us to provide our advanced medical service to the people of Wales when they need us most.

“Thank you to everyone who took part or supported the cyclists during the fundraiser. We really appreciate your efforts.”

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.