A coach driver from Pembrokeshire has raised over £13,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance after he was taken ill over a decade ago.

Ten and a half years ago, Richard Lewis’ life was saved by two medics, Philip Thomas and Dorian James, after he suffered a TIA stroke (also known as a mini-stroke).

Richard, from Pembroke Dock, said: “I was in school and grew up with Philip, so I wanted to give something back to thank him and Dorian, and have been fundraising for the Wales Air Ambulance ever since.”

During the pandemic, Richard raised a fantastic £5,060 for the Charity, much-needed funds for the lifesaving charity. Richard, who is also known as Barney, took part in the Charity’s My Air Miles fundraiser, which saw him walking to work and back. He also held car boot sales at Carew market, sponsored walks and cycle rides. He also sold items that were donated to him online, with all the proceeds being donated to the Charity.

Reflecting on raising such a huge amount, Richard, 53, who works for TAF valley coaches, said: “I feel great with the sum I've raised over the years and all the support I've had off the public. The reaction from my friends and family has been very good. Everyone is 100 per cent behind me. My colleagues in the Waterloo depot, Pembroke Dock, are also full of support.”

Since 2017, Richard has also enjoyed volunteering for the Wales Air Ambulance.

Katie Macro, the Charity’s West Wales Community Fundraiser, said: “Richard has supported our charity for over a decade now. His kindness and commitment to raising funds for the Wales Air Ambulance is touching. It is always lovely to hear of people who have wanted to give something back to the crews that saved their lives. Thank you to Richard and all his friends, family and colleagues who have supported his fundraising efforts during the past decade. It is much appreciated, especially as we’re now a 24/7 service. Every penny we make is vital to ensure that we can be there for people in need.”

The Wales Air Ambulance is due to celebrate its 20th anniversary on March 1. In December, the Charity made its vision to become a 24/7 service a reality the Charity. To keep the helicopters flying 24/7 it costs £8 million a year.

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance, like Richard. 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.