Cycling event a Great Success for Wiltshire Air Ambulance

MORE than 410 people took part in the Wiltshire Big Wheel/100 cycling event on Sunday (25 September 2016), raising vital funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA).

Cyclists included people airlifted by WAA, supporters and staff of the charity who completed a variety of routes – a 12 mile family challenge, 45 miles or 100 miles taking in Pewsey, Marlborough, the Wylye Valley and Salisbury – all starting and finishing at The Green, Devizes.

This was the second consecutive year that WAA has been involved with the event, organised by Bristol-based Bike Events.

Dr Paul McCormack completed the 45 mile route with his wife Nicky four months after he was seriously injured in a road traffic collision in Kington Langley, near Chippenham.

He was treated by WAA’s paramedics and was airlifted by WAA to Southmead Hospital, Bristol, a major trauma centre.

Paul, 60, of Sutton Benger, near Chippenham, a retired ophthalmic surgeon at Great Western Hospital, Swindon, is a keen cyclist.

He said: “I thought I would never ride a bike again following my accident. I started cycling a month ago and to complete the 45 miles on Sunday was an amazing challenge.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a fantastic service, they have paramedics who are highly trained in trauma. I’m delighted to have raised money for this invaluable service.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Charity Ambassadors Shelley Rudman, the Skeleton Bobsleigh Olympian from the Pewsey Vale, and Lauren Booth, Champion Para-cyclist from Chippenham, completed the 12 mile and 45 mile routes respectively.

Shelley did the ride with her partner Kristan Bromley, a four-time Olympian competing in Skeleton Bobsleigh, and their daughter Ella Rudman-Bromley.

Shelley said: “We had a fantastic day doing the family bike ride. Myself, Kristan and Ella really enjoyed the whole event and the family atmosphere, and doing it for such a great cause was a bonus. I would really encourage people to do it, it was really well organised.”

Lauren, 15, said: “It’s the first time that I have taken part in the Big Wheel and I really enjoyed it. I’m really pleased to have been involved and there was a great turnout of riders.”

A total of six charity and operational staff from WAA also took part, riding a variety of distances. Paramedics and pilots who were on duty on Sunday also joined in by riding static bikes at the airbase in Devizes.

Kenresa Stratford, Fundraising Co-ordinator at WAA, said: “We would like to thank everyone who cycled and raised sponsorship in the Wiltshire Big Wheel/100 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, the response has been fantastic! The funds raised will help to keep our helicopter flying and saving lives in and around Wiltshire.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has an online team page where donations can be made. Go to www.justgiving.com/teams/WAAWBW100