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Huge turnout for annual air ambulance cycle challenge

Life-saving charity, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, held its 13th annual Coast-to-Coast Cycle Challenge on Saturday, May 18 – with more than £46,000 already raised for the charity.

Hundreds of cyclists took part, either by completing the challenging 55-mile route from Watchet Harbour in Somerset, or a shorter 11-mile route which started at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton. Both distances finished in the beautiful Dorset seaside resort of 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.

Watchet Town Crier, David Milton, started the event from Watchet while members of the public lined the roads in support.

Although the event was not a race, the first male to cross the finish line was Sam Beard, from Yeovil, and the first female was Emma Fisher, from Sherborne.

At 80 years of age, John Plested, from Yeovil, and Alan Harris, from Weymouth, were the oldest participants who completed the challenging 55-mile route, while 11-year-old Isabel Swancutt, from Bridport, was the youngest.
The youngest children to start the 11-mile route were six-year-old Eva Hyde, from Fareham, and James Molyneux, from Wellington.

Alana Hardy, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Fundraising Events Officer, praised the efforts of the cyclists and those who were involved in the organisation of the day: “Everyone who took part should be proud of what they achieved!

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all the cyclists and to everyone who helped to organise the event, including our incredible volunteers and wonderful supporters. Over £46,000 has already been raised for this year’s event which is incredible!

“Each life-saving mission that our crew are tasked to costs approximately £3,500, so we are immensely grateful to everyone for raising vital funds for our charity, so our crew can be there for patients today, tomorrow and in the future.

“Our next event is the fantastic 5K Twilight Shift, which takes place at Henstridge Airfield on Saturday, July 6. Online registration is open on our website and we would encourage people to join us for a 5K run or walk, whilse helping to raise funds for our vital work.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance thanked event supporters: Bicycle Chain, The Bell Inn Creech St Michael, Carly Press Printing, Cotswold First Aid, Garador, Timewise, Glastonbury Spring Water, Hunts Food Group, Ilminster Ambulance Station, DocBike, Keep106 and The Royal Oak Pub Drimpton.

For more information and to register for The 5K Twilight Shift, visit: Entrance fees: Adults (£15), Under 16s (£10). Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

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