Published: 17 June 2024

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby international James Hook has successfully hiked 100 miles in five days for the Wales Air Ambulance.

 

‘Hooky’s Hike’, has so far raised over £5,000 for the lifesaving charity that is close to James’ heart.

 

James, from Port Talbot, has a personal connection to the Wales Air Ambulance after they saved the life of his eldest son, Harrison, and became an ambassador for the lifesaving service back in 2021. 

 

After seeing the Charity’s appeal for supporters to join their annual fundraiser, Walk Wales, which coincides with the Charity marking 50,000 missions, the Welsh Great decided to take on his own version of the event – Hooky’s Hike. 

 

Hooky’s Hike saw James tackle 100 miles over five days to ‘raise awareness and funds’ for the Charity. James started his challenge in Tenby and hiked along the coast to his final destination in the Mumbles, Swansea.

 

Throughout the walk James was joined by supporters, as well as Wales Air Ambulance staff and medics.

 

James Hook, said: “The Wales Air Ambulance Charity is incredibly close to mine and my family’s heart. On the day that I proposed to my wife, Kim, they flew to the aid of my son who was just a baby at the time. They’re about to embark on 50,000 missions, and my son is one of them. 

 

“I have been an ambassador for a few years now, and this was my opportunity to give something back through raising awareness and funds.

 

The Charity hopes that James’ epic challenge has encouraged supporters to take part in their own Walk Wales event or to support the Charity. 

 

Walk Wales is an annual fundraiser which allows participants to walk, jog or run, different distances each year, whilst raising funds. This year, to mark the milestone of 50,000 missions, the Charity is asking supporters to walk, run or jog 50 miles throughout the month of June. 

 

James, who made six appearances for the British and Irish Lions on the 2009 tour of South Africa and won 81 caps for Wales, was delighted that the public supported him throughout the challenge. He smashed his fundraising target of £5,000 and has so far raised an incredible £5,770.

 

James has sought sponsorship and has kindly received support from The LCV Group and Owens Group. 

 

James continued: “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, and to my main sponsors, LCV Group and Owens Group for enabling the event to happen.” 

 

The Wales Air Ambulance operates 24/7 throughout Wales and needs to raise £11.2 million every year to keep the helicopters flying and its rapid response vehicles on the road.  

 

Mark Stevens, Head of Fundraising at the Wales Air Ambulance said: “A huge congratulations to James on completing Hooky’s Hike – what an amazing achievement. In just five days not only did he hike 100 miles, in the rain and sun, he also raised over £5,000 for our lifesaving cause. Hooky’s Hike helped us to raise awareness and vital funds for our charity. James has first-hand experience of the essential work that our charity does, 24/7, for the people of Wales.  

 

“Fundraisers like James’, ensure that we continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most, just like we were there when Harrison needed the Wales Air Ambulance. Thank you to everyone who supported James, we really apricate it.”

  

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. 

 

There’s still time to donate to James’ fundraiser, via his JustGiving page here.