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Cyclists raise over £45,000 for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance

Once again, hundreds of cyclists came out in force to take part in the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge on Sunday, April 23.

The 55-mile route started at Watchet Harbour at 10.30am and finished in the Dorset seaside resort of West Bay. A shorter 11-mile route started at the Royal Oak public house, in Drimpton, at 2pm and also finished at West Bay.

Taking part in the event were former patients who had experienced the work of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance first-hand, others cycled in memory of loved ones, as a personal challenge, or as a team.

The cyclists were set on their way by Watchet Town Crier, David Milton, while the roads were lined with supporters. There were three pit-stops along the route at Ilminster, Bishops Lydeard and Drimpton.

The finish line included children’s entertainment and music and interviews from Keep106. There were also many inspirational stories of courage, determination and triumph.

Although the event was not a race, the first male to cross the finish line was Freddie Mackay and the first female was Rachel Collins.

At 80 years young, Ed Highnam, a long-serving volunteer of the charity from Sturminster Newton, was the oldest participant who completed the challenging 55-mile route, whilst Adam Tye (aged 15) from North Petherton was the youngest. The youngest child to start the 11-mile route from Drimpton was 10-year-old Isabel Swancutt from Bridport; she was also the first to finish.

Emma Jones, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Fundraising Manager, praised the efforts of the cyclists and those that were involved in the organisation of the day: “Everyone who took part this year should be so very proud. Not only for their achievements of completing the challenge, but for raising funds to support our life-saving work. So far, this year’s event has raised over £45,000, which is simply incredible. A huge thank you to everyone who helped to organise the event, including our incredible volunteers and wonderful sponsors.

“Our next event is a new cycling challenge called Race From The Base. It takes place at our Henstridge airbase on Saturday, June 10, and there are three different distances available.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance thanked all of those who supported the event including: Bicycle Chain, Bishops Lydeard Football Club, Carly Press Printing, Cotswold First Aid, Espressoul, Garador, Glastonbury Spring Water, Hall and Woodhouse, Hunts Food Group, Ilminster Ambulance Station, Keep106, Paul Ritchie and his steam trains and The Royal Oak Pub Drimpton.

More information about the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can be found by visiting: or by calling: 01823 669604.

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